Addiction recovery is a lifelong journey that involves different paths for each person, but there is one commonality everyone in recovery must go through, which is the process of “figuring out” who we are. When substance abuse is involved, it takes over all of these vital components of ourselves – our passions, our relationships, our finances and more. The things that a person once used to enjoy slowly become replaced with alcohol, drugs or another addiction and the relationships that previously had taken much time to build may fade within an instant

Self-identity is about making sense of oneself and the world around them. It’s about discovering who a person is and what they want out of life – and what makes them “them”.

There are often times a lot of reflection that goes into recovery because there’s so much time and transformation involved. It’s a time of change, a time of processing, and a time to make sense of what has happened, what is happening, and what might happen to them in the future. Even though the entire “concept” of ourselves will evolve over time, we’re still learning – and even to understand who we are without addiction is an amazing journey within itself.

Different characteristics tend to take place between the identity of a “substance abuser” and the identity of someone practicing sobriety. The two scenarios often look completely different – and with a hard look in the mirror, we will come to realize a different side of ourselves that perhaps we hadn’t seen before.

With that being said, there are a few steps you can take as you navigate your own self-identity throughout this time.

1. Become more aware of yourself.

This is one of the hardest parts of recovery because it involves you essentially putting a “magnifying glass” to yourself – but it’s worth it in the end. If you are aware of something, you can take additional steps if it’s needed – if not, you can continue on the path you’re currently on. While in recovery, you may gain a sense of awareness that whenever you’re upset, you call someone you used to abuse substances with. This teaches you that next time, you should rely on someone who uplifts and supports your sobriety – and that in and of itself will feed into your new identity.

2. Surround yourself with support

As we’ve opened ourselves up to an awareness and accepting what new information we can learn from ourselves and others, we can start to cultivate meaningful relationships that reinforce the identity we’re connecting with. Begin talking with people in your treatment program who seem to be on a similar path as you – towards sobriety. Connect with your 12-Step sponsor. Reach out to your friends and family, who want you to succeed. By building a positive support system, you’ll find that you’re influenced in more ways than one – and it will come back into who you are as you grow.

3. Explore new things

The journey of sobriety is filled with ups and downs, and now that you’re no longer actively pursuing addiction, it’s time to actively pursue yourself. Start looking into hobbies to see what you might like to do – go hiking, swimming, try artwork, explore meditation, dive into all of these different healthy experiences so that you can discover who you are and what you’re passionate about. Over time, these hobbies may develop into full-blown passions or even careers – and now is the time to explore all of them.

4. Become stronger in spirituality

Many people find that by participating in 12-Step programs, by praying, playing uplifting music, helping others and more, they find their purpose. They find that they belong to a broader community out there who have also struggled. It’s a feeling that makes it more possible than ever before to pursue a life of sobriety. Spirituality brings strength, hope, and love.

Of course, each person’s path is different, and there are certainly many other facets of recovery that can be considered. However, there are still some commonalities that can be found in discovering oneself in addiction recovery such as reduced drug use, practicing relapse prevention, accessing treatment, engaging in private therapy, having good mental health, and more. Even if for a moment, consider where your recovery journey has led you so far. What good things have come of it? How much more do you know about yourself? If you still feel lost, it’s time to go back to some of the aspects of discovery mentioned above and repeat. It’s an ongoing process.

Over time, you’ll be able to find what recovery really means to you – and that will become one component of your identity. As humans, we’re made up of so many different pieces. While recovery may seem like the most compelling aspect of your life right now, it’s important to remember that you are the most critical piece. Don’t forget that.


If you’re ready to embark on the beautiful journey of spirituality, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today. It’s never too late to begin your path towards healing, and there is an entire team of individuals who truly care about your happiness, health, and success in recovery.
For more information on overcoming mental health challenges, addiction, and substance use problems, please call True Recovery at ((844) 744-8783 or visit us online.