Addiction takes the control you once had and makes it feel unreachable. The urge to use drugs or alcohol can gnaw at you all day long, causing all of your thoughts to be overpowered by one thing: your next fix. Substance dependency reorganizes your priorities without your consent, putting family, friends, career and even your own personhood on the back burner.
Living a life controlled by drugs or alcohol is exhausting, isolating and demoralizing. Moreover, substance use takes away your identity.
That’s why healing from an addiction can be such a profound experience. When you’re in recovery, you’ll realize the extent of the damage substance use did to your being because of the stark contrast between your life during addiction and your life after.
Here’s how to start finding yourself again in recovery.
What does “finding yourself” mean?
Asking the question, “what does ‘finding yourself’ mean?” is tricky to answer, especially from a clinical perspective. Generally, the practice of self-searching is the act of identifying the things that matter to you, and the traits you desire to embody, and living a lifestyle that promotes those things.
Finding yourself in terms of recovery means that you’re reclaiming the things that substance use has taken from you, or finding new passions or aspects of your personality. Especially when substance use has occurred over a long period of time, individuals in recovery may feel that they’re “creating themselves” rather than “finding themselves,” as substance use has left them with little memory of the people they were before.
Losing yourself to addiction
Substance use can take a drastic toll on those it affects. It can alter everything from social groups to appearance, interests and hobbies to financial security. Addiction can lead to divorce, moving to new places, loss of a job, loss of custody of children and so much more.
Losing yourself to addiction changes everything. Not only is a life changed on the surface, observable by others, but your interior life is impacted. You may find that your cognitive abilities (such as focus and memory) are irreversibly affected, and symptoms of drug use linger for long periods of time. It’s also common to feel like your personality is stripped from you.
Sadly, those who struggle with addiction also struggle with mental health issues. The symptoms of withdrawal can explain many negative emotions, too, such as irritability, anger and impulsivity. Dealing with the emotional and mental challenges of addiction can make a person feel like a slave to substances, without any uniqueness or enjoyment to claim as his or her own.
Finding yourself again in recovery is all about undoing those harsh effects of substance use, and building back up the life you once had or the life you now long for.
Finding yourself again
The process of finding yourself again after serious substance use issues is a whole-person journey. Not only does the body have to undergo a transformation as toxins are expelled during detox and the brain’s reward circuitry is retrained, but each person must experience a psychological change as well.
The interior changes that occur are mental, emotional and spiritual. The mental rigor of facing triggers and working towards goals is a large part of treatment and adapting one’s own lifestyle. Emotional regulation and therapy can heal current and past feelings. Each individual must decide on the spiritual meaning of the process, too.
Self-searching is a necessity in recovery. Oftentimes, this task is scary, as each person who faces addiction likely has regrets from the past. Confronting your mistakes, amending wrongs and finding the courage to forgive oneself are not light tasks. However, they are essential to full and long-term healing. Otherwise, unaddressed pain from the past will bubble up and threaten relapse.
How to find healing
Deep, full-person healing isn’t a simple process. There are plenty of aspects involved in creating a sustainable sober life that is filled with meaningful pursuits. Here are a few areas to address to find the healing you’re looking for.
- Address your past: talking about your past can feel like opening a can of worms, but the work you put in to process your history, family struggles and origin of addiction can reduce triggers and take a heavy weight off your mind
- Decide on goals, both personal and recovery-related: creating goals with the help of a therapist or counselor can give you direction and vision for the large task of healing from addiction
- Create realistic expectations: recovery isn’t a straight line or even a line at all. Recovery is fraught with setbacks and sometimes relapse. It’s important to set clear expectations for yourself and your support system
- Find meaningful engagements: your life outside of formal treatment should support recovery. This means living in an environment that is conducive to sobriety (friendship, relationships and neighborhood), practicing self-care and creating a stable daily life
Healing from addiction is a whole-person journey.
Years ago, treatment for substance use disorders focused primarily on healing the physical body and the mind, retraining a person to fight cravings. In recent decades, there has been a push towards more holistic treatment, addressing a person’s emotional and personal life, too.
This process of self-searching through methods such as therapy, counseling, nature therapy, art therapy and so forth offers more holistic treatment, which is not only more engaging but produces more sustainable sobriety.
At Silvermist Recovery, you can find the whole-person healing you’ve been looking for. You’ll be supported in your lifestyle changes and self-searching as you progress towards a happier, sober life. Find genuine peace and passion and call Silvermist Recovery today.