Navigating Our Lives After Recovery
Navigating what it means to be out of recovery is a complicated path. In many ways, you feel free; you have put in the effort, taken the steps, and have been told by a professional thCopingat you are better. But then you start living your life without those steps on your horizon. When you used to live your life with your next session or appointment in mind, now you can’t work towards that. After experiencing something for so long, when you have been motivated by those milestones and that motivation has become ingrained in you, it’s suddenly gone and there may be a sense of feeling lost and afraid.
In coping with something, we often search for some source of comfort and latch onto those things that are familiar to us. Whether it be our schedules we had before entering the recovery process or the people in our lives, we seek the comfort of a familiar atmosphere, environment, and feeling. And while the first few days in a program or with a doctor can be uncomfortable as you start to get to know everyone and everything, that changes rather fast. As you go through the process of recovering and begin to overcome your inner demons, you start to gain that sense of comfort with the process. When you and a doctor work together and break down the barriers that used to tower over you, you create a feeling of trust with that person. That uncomfortably quiet waiting room that you used to sit in awkward silence now becomes a warm bastion of hope, a signifier of another day of triumph. You begin to look forward to those appointments and those doctors. You form bonds and friendships as you become a better version of you.
Then when it’s all over, it’s gone. You no longer have that bastion to return to, those friendly faces that helped you, and that feeling that no matter what, you could always go to the place and feel better. Sure, you have your support system at home, your family and friends, but they weren’t in there with you. They weren’t the ones who helped lead you through the trenches of your mind to get you to where you are. Their love and support is invaluable, but it’s just different. So what do you do?
The honest truth is that it will be different. You can’t really find something else that will fill that void just as it was before. And that’s okay. We know change is a terrifying thing to experience, but it’s also important to know how to manage. It’s an opportunity to find something new and continue that process of exploration within yourself. It’s of the utmost importance to develop mechanisms and tools that we, alone, can utilize to help ourselves. Unfortunately, the darkness doesn’t just disappear after we have gone through recovery. Your addiction, your anxiety, your pain doesn’t magically go away completely, as hard as we may wish it would. In a lot of cases, these kinds of experiences stick with us for the rest of our lives. Again, that’s okay. What’s important is feeling like you have control over it. You are in charge and don’t need to worry about what your brain may be telling you. That feeling of control is what you gained in recovery, and it’s what you can carry out with you when it’s done. With control comes stability and with stability comes comfort.
You can control what you do after recovery. Recognize those behaviors or environments that were unhealthy for you, that enabled you to indulge in your addictions and struggles. Take those places out of your life. Don’t condemn them as evil because of their effect on you. If your friends want to go out drinking at the bar you used to frequent, it’s okay to say no. There won’t be judgment in that. Even if there is, you are in control of maintaining those friendships. Don’t fill your life with people who will bring you down or can’t appreciate and respect what you have gone through. Your work is admirable and beautiful; to be told otherwise is unhealthy and toxic.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to keep talking, even if it’s to someone who is different from the specialist who helped you get through it. As we’ve said before, it’s normal for those fears and demons to resurface even after recovery, and one of the best things you can do is talk to someone about it. Call a friend or a loved one, ask them meet you or just listen to you on the phone, and talk. What caused these to resurface, how is it affecting you, lay it all out there and you will find a sense of catharsis and that feeling of control is back.
Leaving recovery is the end of one journey and the beginning of another. But you have done the hard work already. Now, it’s just a matter of adjusting to the changes you have made in your efforts to get better, adjusting to the new you. With every journey, comes fear and uncertainty. It feels like everything is different and that you’ve crossed a line that you can’t cross back over. And that is true. But it’s not a trap; it’s an opening door. It’s like climbing a mountain. You stop and look back to see the path you have already overcome, it’s there and it isn’t going anywhere, you can still see where you started, but you know that you can’t stop there. The summit is just a little further. Soon enough, you’ll be there. We promise you: the summit is right in front of you. You did it.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction, do not hesitate to contact the team here at TrueRecovery.com. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 and [email protected]