Recovery is about gaining the freedom to live the life you want. Obviously, staying clean and sober is the first step to creating this freedom, but it is not the only one. We must fundamentally transform our thoughts, decisions, and actions to earn the true greatness a life free from drugs and alcohol offers.
This transformation can be challenging and often takes an extraordinary amount of physical and emotional energy. These demands can unknowingly become too much for us if we are not careful, causing us to innocently return to the comfort of our old habits. If we incrementally slip back into who we once were, it can result in unhappiness and causes us to question if our life in sobriety is truly beneficial.
If recovery is not going as you imagined or as you were told it should be, it is time to take a step back to recognize the source of your discontent. Below are some unhealthy routines you might be slipping back into that keep you from finding the peace, joy, and fulfillment sobriety offers.
Engaging in Secretive Behavior:
Secretive behavior is common in addiction and can be difficult to shake even when sober. We believe that if we remain secretive, we are safe and away from the triggers and scrutiny of those supporting us. The trouble is that being secretive often keeps us from being honest, and if honesty is absent from our recovery, unhappiness will return.
Engaging in secretive behavior may indicate that we are afraid to let go of the unwanted habits that feed our addiction. The safety of one-on-one counseling is an excellent way for us to break the habit of secrecy, learn the value of honest communication, and free the soul.
Isolating Ourselves from the World:
There are a few good reasons for us to isolate ourselves from time to time in recovery, but if isolation remains a common occurrence, we need to address it. Usually, when we are isolating ourselves, it is because we are trying to hide, are ashamed, or are fearful. We might be distancing ourselves from people to avoid difficult conversations and responsibilities. We might also be afraid to re-engage with friends and family because of embarrassment or regret for past actions.
The truth is these conversations, responsibilities, and encounters are how we remove the internal struggles that create our desire to isolate. In recovery, we cannot run away from the world. Re-engaging in life after years of substance abuse can be uncomfortable, but it is doable. Get out of your mind and stop making up stories about what might happen if you confront these challenges.
Be proud and excited about what you can give your friends, family, and community when you are clean and sober. Find those trusted supports that will help you manage the unknowns and uncomfortableness of early sobriety and find the courage to engage in the opportunities in front of you. Doing so is one of the many ways we gain the freedom that sobriety offers, and where we learn how to be confident in any situations.
Financial prudence is an easy concept that starts with the idea of spending less than you earn. However, adhering to this simple principle is significantly more complex than saying it when our bills continue to stack up. Anyone who cannot live within their means or follow a budget, even when sober, may want to explore why.
This exploration is necessary because, in life and recovery, if a discipline is absent in one domain, the character defect is probably creating issues in other parts of our life as well. Thus, cleaning up an unhealthy behavior in one area of our life will cascade across all others. For example, if we can learn what changes need to be made to live according to a budget, we can bring the same approach and discipline to the commitments we make in other parts of our lives. This new approach will make us not only more successful with our money, but at work, in our relationships, and our recovery.
The reality is that the greater our ability to remain disciplined and responsible for our commitments, the easier life and recovery become.
Living a life in recovery is not about suppressing emotion until it becomes too painful; it is the exact opposite. It is about accepting and understanding how people, places, and events make us feel. It is about learning how to cope with the ups and downs of life with character, integrity, and purpose. It is about celebrating our successes, forgiving ourselves, and expressing emotion in healthy ways.
If you are still experiencing sudden mood swings, it could be an indication that you have not completely healed your soul and that you are letting suppressed traumas determine your attitudes. We know that life will deliver challenging moments that expose those internal scars that continue to haunt us. For this reason, use your supports and, most importantly, your therapist to let go of these triggering events that cause mood swings. Cleaning up this stuff is something we all need to do and is what will enable us to find peace, joy, and fulfillment in life and recovery.
Recovery is about more than being sober; it is about living the life we desire without drugs and alcohol. Yes, we need to celebrate every day we are clean and sober, but we also want to ensure we are not falling back into old unwanted habits as we gain more sober time. Stay aware of your daily routines to ensure you continue engaging in healthy behaviors, even as the number of days clean continues to pile up.
IOP in the East Valley | Choice Recovery
IOP in the East Valley is available at Choice Recovery. Choice Recovery offers morning and evening IOP group sessions for those enrolled in our outpatient addiction treatment program. Our program is evidence-based and administered by licensed master's level clinicians.
Choice Recovery offers IOP in the morning and evening and via telehealth. It is a dynamic program that is tailored to the individual and designed to prepare individuals to integrate back into the life they desire without the use of drugs and alcohol. We are located in downtown Mesa, but easy assessable from Tempe, Chandler, and Gilbert. For more information, please call Choice Recovery at 480-527-0337 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.