Recovery from addiction can easily become an overwhelming process. It involves unlearning a habit you have spent many hours unconsciously developing.
It is going without the very thing you thought you could not live without. That's why simply trying to go "cold turkey" and quit on your own is so difficult, and something that very few people are able to do successfully.
However, the good news is that you don't have to try to get sober on your own. You are not alone; there are millions of people who have walked the road of addiction and recovery before you – they have gone through what you have gone through, and survived and thrived.
Simply resting in this knowledge can be a great encouragement, but an even greater support can come from forming relationships with other people seeking recovery, learning from them and getting involved in each others' lives. Here are the ways in which identifying with and relating to other people can be a huge boast in your recovery.
Identifying with someone else's story lets you know you are not alone
The struggles of withdraw and learning how to go without satisfying an addiction can be among the toughest things you will face in your life. Sometimes, the urge to use will become so strong.
In these moments, you life can be saved by a reminder of both how deeply harmful your use can be, and the hope that recovery is possible. The process of learning how to verbalize your story and listen to the story of others is one of the best ways to get these reminders.
As you hear the stories of other people, there will be points of resonance with your own story. These can serve as very important reminders, and help you feel less lost and alone.
You can learn from other people's success and struggles
Some methods of coping and trying to live a sober life work better then others. It is a big life change, with lots of choices that you have to make, and that can easily feel overwhelming.
When other people share their own stories, they will give you ideas, both of what seemed to work well, and what did not. Of course, your own experience may be different, and you have to figure out what truly works for you.
However, by hearing about the good and bad experiences of other people, you get new ideas of how to put your commitments into practice.
Supportive and understanding friends give you a judgment-free, safe space to belong
Facing the reality of your addicted lifestyle, it's easy to feel a lot of guilt. Furthermore, you have become accustomed to suppressing your feelings under a haze of substance abuse, and without the drug, those hard emotions may hit you like a flood, and be very hard to deal with.
You may have a lot of emotions that you keep bottled up, and it is only by releasing and expressing them that you will be able to experience healing. Relationships or groups that are truly supportive and healing with be able to offer you a sense of unconditional acceptance, and give you safe space to work through and express your struggles and thoughts.
Caring for and connecting with people gives your life a purpose
Sobriety isn't just about learning how to avoid using, but it's about discovering how to truly thrive as a human being, to find purpose and meaning in a life well-lived. A huge part of this means finding a way to make your life matter to others.
Supportive relationships, in which people in recovery identify with each other, are mutual. You don't just receive help, but you give it as well.
This will allow you to see the ways you can make a difference in someone else's life, to see how you matter and make a positive contribution to someone else. This sense of meaning is what living is truly about, and can be an essential part of helping you fully appreciate how to live a full live drug or alcohol-free.