Whether you’re going through the first initial stages of recovery or trying to decide on going through it, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to live a fulfilling life after you kick an addiction. We can’t blame you for wondering that, you’ve been dependent on a substance for a long time, it used to be a huge part of your life. Some people get so far into addiction that they feel they can’t function normally without it. Regardless of your current or past addictions, we want you to know it is entirely possible to live a fulfilling life outside of substance abuse. You may not see it now, but recovery is one of the best decisions you can make for yourself. Let us help you see just how fulfilling life can be after addiction.
How Addiction Starts
One of the best, but most difficult, choices you can make for yourself is to live a sober life. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Once you have developed an addiction, your mind, body, and soul will continually crave the substance you abused in order to feel “normal”. I think we can all agree that addiction is not a “normal” thing and it’s a serious mental health issue. Your brain has been manipulated and wired into thinking it needs a certain substance in order to be happy and function properly. One of the biggest reasons why kicking an addiction is so difficult for people is because their brain’s reward system has been changed. We all have a reward system in our brains that releases dopamine whenever we perform a ‘rewarding’ behavior. When we perform this behavior, dopamine is released in our brains and it causes us to be happy. In relation to addiction, dopamine is released in an addict’s brain when they abuse a substance, which causes an intense sense of euphoria. When this sort of behavior is continually reinforced, that’s when addiction develops.
Once a person is able to realize the dependency they have developed through addictive behaviors, they can make the decision to change or stay the same. In all cases, stopping addictive behaviors is the best decision to make. Once a person makes the decision to change, they can start the recovery process. What people don’t realize is that this process is extremely difficult because of two things: withdrawal and temptation. Withdrawal is when the body realizes it no longer has the numbing substance in it anymore and it starts to fight back. Withdrawal can result in depression, anxiety, profuse sweating, irritation, and many uncomfortable side-effects. These side-effects alone can cause a person to fall right back into their old habits because their body craves the euphoria is got from substance abuse. However, many people are able to beat this through things like recovery treatment, medical detox, therapy, group therapy, etc.
Trust us when we say that the first 30 days feel miserable, but it gets better after that. However, this does not mean you are free from temptation. This is something that former addicts regularly struggle with for some time after recovery or even for the rest of their lives. You may be asking yourself, “This doesn’t sound easy, is it really worth it?” You’re right, it’s not going to be easy and it may not seem worth it, but trust us when we say your life will improve tenfold once you kick an addiction.
Life in Recovery
Ask anyone that has gone through addiction and has come out on the other side of recovery, their lives have improved since becoming sober. Let’s discuss exactly how your life improves once you choose to live it sober.
- Free From Dependency: One of the biggest pros of living a sober life is the fact that you are free from dependency. If you’ve lived a life in addiction, you’ve lived a life that is centered around substances. Addicts become dependent on a particular substance in order to function normally or comfortably in life. Once a person is able to kick substance abuse, they can start to learn to be more independent. Becoming independent is a key aspect of growing up and becoming an adult. Once you learn how to be independent from something, you can start to get in touch with your true self.
- Get Back In Touch With Yourself: If you’ve struggled with addiction in the past or are currently struggling, chances are you’ve heard someone say the words “You’ve changed.” (or something relatively similar to that) That may be a hard thing to hear from a close friend or a loved one, but they’re probably right. Addiction changes people into something they never thought they’d become. Substance abuse and chemical dependencies can cause a person to become more self-centered, irrational, and just downright mean-spirited. Regardless of who you were before addiction, your chemically dependent self is not the real you. Once you are free of substance abuse, you can get back in touch with who you were before you developed these kinds of behaviors. Sobriety helps a person realize what it takes to be a better, happier, and overall more stable person.
- Repair Broken Relationships: As we’ve mentioned, if you’ve fallen into addiction, chances are that you have made some people upset with who you’ve become. In many cases, we see people in addiction have broken relationships with friends, family, and loved ones. No one wants to see a friend/family member/partner turn into something they’re not, it’s no wonder so many people are hurt by people who live a life in addiction. Addicts often manipulate, lie to, or, in more severe cases, steal/harm their loved ones because of their addictions. We must emphasize the fact that these types of behaviors are not really the person doing them, it’s the addictions that are making them act in such destructive ways. However, once a person is able to rid themselves of addiction, they can think more clearly and rationally. This helps them realize how they treated other people was wrong and then they can start to seek amends with their broken relationships.
- Financial Stability: Addiction is by no means a cheap habit. Alcohol and drugs are highly addictive which means the longer a person abuses them, the more tolerance they build. When a tolerance is built up, a person will need higher doses of a substance in order to get the desired effects. Do you know what that means? More spending. Addicts often struggle with financial stability due to the fact that a good amount of their savings are going to their drug dependency. Some people even get so financially unstable they may lose their homes, apartments, cars, etc. Once a person is able to stop spending all their money on substance abuse, they can have a better chance at financial stability.
There are far more reasons to start living sober than the ones we’ve listed, but as you can see, sobriety can bring some incredible changes in life. As we’ve said before, going through recovery isn’t easy, but you can see just how fulfilling life can be once you decide to kick an addiction.
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.