Active drug addicts can be summed up in just a few words: ripping and running, neglecting responsibilities, lying, stealing, cheating, and virtually a giant tornado damaging everyone and everything around them. However, if these same drug addicts sober up and dedicate their lives to a program of recovery, their new lives can be explained in one word: serenity.
After seven years, I made the decision to become sober, and even though my life is more serene than ever, I still face many obstacles. Getting over them is what matters. Here are some of the obstacles I have had to work through both then and now:
1) Being completely honest with myself
Question: How do you know when drug addicts are lying?
Answer: When their lips are moving.
For years, I was a drug addict and I knew it. The problem was, I wasn’t going to admit that to anyone until it was almost too late. I lied to my parents, my friends, my siblings, and worst of all, myself. I thought I was fooling everyone but in reality, everybody knew. I was horrified of being honest, but at the same time, I was so caught up in all of my lies that I didn’t even know the truth. I finally realized that this was no way to live. I needed to finally get honest with myself.
One of the reasons people fail any sort of recovery program is because they are incapable of being honest with themselves. I was hardheaded and didn’t ever want to look reality in the face, even though the life I was living was extremely painful. I finally looked myself in the mirror and said, “Ben, you need help. You are a drug addict.” and from that moment on, recovery was possible.
Getting honest was easier than I thought, and I started reaping the benefits almost immediately. People began to trust me and life became more manageable the more I was honest. The hardest part was giving up the fight that I wasn’t a drug addict. One of the greatest things about drug and alcohol abuse is that it is a self-diagnosed disease. This means that only you can determine if you have a problem or not. And the second I diagnosed myself with addiction, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and my recovery then began.
2) Changing everything about my lifestyle
The first thing I was told about recovery was that I had to make one change and that one change was that I had change everything. The way I was living, I was most certainly signing my own death warrant, so from the moment I started recovery, I skewed as far away as possible from that lifestyle.
Experts on addiction say that you stop maturing the day you start heavily using drugs and alcohol. In my case, I started using at a very young age. So, basically, I was a thirteen-year-old trapped in a nineteen-year-old’s body. Not only did I have a lot of growing up to do, but I also had to change everything about my life.
This new beginning started by ditching all of the toxic people in my life. Drug dealers, friends who still used drugs, people I used to party with, and any high-risk person had to be removed from my life. Then, I had to stop going to bars, clubs, dope houses, and dangerous places. And finally, I had to rebuild all of the important relationships that I had destroyed. Finding new friends was vital for my emotional stability. Luckily, that part came easy. In my area there is a huge community of young people in sobriety. All it took was going to the right AA meetings.
Seven years later, my life is completely different than what it used to be. I am a completely different person than I was and I had a personality shift. I am happy, joyous, and free today because I continue to work a program of honesty and sobriety, the most important thing in my life.
3) Becoming stuck
It is easy to become complacent in recovery. This happens when people are no longer drinking or using drugs but are also no longer growing as people either. Did you know that many people relapse due to complacency? Way too often, I have seen someone get sober, get too comfortable, and then relapse. Recovery is all about maturing and growing as a person and if you aren’t growing, you are regressing. Luckily, it is very easy to get unstuck. All it takes is some motivation.
Taking action is all it takes to get unstuck from a rut. The solution is getting up and doing something. If you are someone who is naturally lazy and would prefer lying on the couch eating fast food instead of being active, switch up your ways. You can enjoy the outdoors by enjoying a nice nature walk. Also, if possible, volunteering your time and helping out others is a great way to get out of the house and get outside of yourself. Recovery takes work, but it is well worth the work.
BIO: Ben Emerling is passionate about writing, helping people with their recoveries, and playing and watching sports.