The journey to recovery is different for everyone. We’re all made up of unique thought processes, personalities, histories, relationships, painful experiences, accomplishments, health conditions and so much more – it’s only fitting that these elements that make up who we are will go onto influence the way we perceive ourselves and our recovery. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states, there isn’t really a cure for addiction; while we create a lifestyle of sobriety, we can still experience freedom – even more so than we ever thought we could before.
Addiction Traps Us, While Sobriety Sets Us Free
When active addiction is present in our lives, our brain essentially becomes hardwired, or “hijacked”, to crave and seek out the substance of choice. One person shared her story with addiction via Heroes in Recovery, a website that shares recovery stories. Here is an excerpt from her personal experience with drug addiction: “I glanced at myself in the mirror that day. I had gotten used to not doing that very often because I didn’t even recognize myself. I saw the reality of what I had become and knew that I was heavily addicted and that once I diverted narcotics from work, there was no turning back.”
While the effects of substances can cause us to feel euphoric, the reality is that these substances serve as a trap over time because we lose ourselves while losing our ability to control it. All too often those who struggle with addiction will merely believe that they have more freedom than they really do; they will say, “Oh, I can easily stop drinking if I want to” or “I could take just one hit – I can control my drug use.” This rarely, if ever, happens however, because addiction makes it that much more difficult to say “no”. Before a person knows it, they’ve consumed way more than they originally intended – a key sign of addiction.
Addiction changes who we are, and we find ourselves saying and doing what we may previously had never done. Some clear examples of this are:
- Lying about where a person was, when they would normally tell the truth
- Stealing medication from family members’ cabinets
- Saying very mean things to those they love because they don’t want to be confronted with the truth about their substance abuse
Sobriety gives us back the very part of ourselves that we lost through addiction. Rather than becoming distracted by seeking and using substances, we’re present in our lives. We’re there for the real moments with friends and family. We’re better able to form memories. We’re more capable of maintaining responsibilities because our attention is no longer forced to be diverted.
Recovery is a lifelong process that involves learning and growth, but as we strengthen our mental, physical and spiritual health, we become more confident of our purpose in life. No longer are we stuck in an endless cycle that hurts us and those we love, over and over; instead, we are filled with so much love, support, and positivity that we’re free to live a life that speaks to our heart and soul. 12-Step programs are an excellent part of treatment, as they’ve led many people to discover freedom in sobriety. In author Gregg D.’s book titled, The New Awakened Sobriety: Finding Freedom with the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, he explained that for him, both ongoing sobriety and spiritual awakening have become a powerful linkage in his recovery. He’s discovered that as he works towards one of these, the other one is naturally strengthened as well – and through this, he has found freedom in a number of ways:
- His point of view has changed from one of self-centeredness to being a small part of a much larger picture
- He views people, places, and events in relationship to other aspects of life, and not just himself
- A greater sense of tolerance and patience with others has developed, and he now finds himself drawn towards people rather than wanting to distance himself from them
12-Step programs emphasize the importance of acceptance – of people, places, and events that are out of our control. All too often, addiction arises out of a need to control something. We become entrapped in our emotions, upset over the way things “should” be, and we believe that self-medication will solve the problem. What we fail to realize, however, is that acceptance is what truly sets us free; in doing this, we become much more open to life.
Create a Lifestyle That Builds a Life You Love
Don’t wait any longer to start your sobriety journey. You’ll find that so many beautiful direct – and indirect – benefits come from taking care of your health and wellbeing. Start your journey towards healing, today.
This is the year to change your life from suffering due to the disease of addiction to thriving in the sunlight of the spirit of sobriety. As the world’s first 12-Step treatment center, established in 1939, High Watch Recovery is dedicated to educating patients on 12-Step principles, actions, philosophies, and lifestyles, preparing them to live a happy and healthy sober life after graduating. For information on our continuum of clinical care and our compassionate approach to treatment, call us today: 860.927.3772.