An addicted person surrenders control of his or her life to a substance, to the state of being "high" and obsessing over the next "fix." With so much energy dedicated to using, it becomes difficult and often impossible to pursue the freedom of a happy, healthy, productive life.
The process of recovery allows you to stop dedicating so much time and energy to these harmful substances, and instead pick up other habits that are good and life-giving for you. Here are just some of the ways sobriety can set you free to make positive changes in your life, and help you take advantage of this important process to truly make a lasting difference, giving you a better life than you ever thought possible.
Moving from abstinence to sobriety
While getting clean from the use of a drug is a huge accomplishment, it is only the first step in a lifelong recovery process. True recovery means learning how to live life without a substance on which you had grown dependent, and this means replacing the substance with other habits.
The exact details behind a program you choose matters less than the extensive work you are putting into changing your life. Stagnation will lead to complacency that can easily bring on a relapse, so it is vital that you keep progressing and asking yourself the areas in which you can continue to set new goals.
Fortunately, this is a holistic process. As you experience success in one area, you will be encouraged to grow in others as well. A multitude of small good decisions will add up to a life of many good practices.
Many people live their lives on autopilot, simply going through set habitual activities without real awareness of their thoughts and emotions, or the impact those activities have on their selves. Addiction can exacerbate this natural tendency, as the fog of substance abuse can make it very easy to suppress your feelings and emotions.
Many people with strong negative traumas or emotions may even turn to alcohol and drugs as a well to self-medicate through these problems. The problem is that suppressing negative emotions does not make them go away, but only buries them deeper within yourself and giving them a powerful hold on your consciousness.
Only when you become aware of these emotions can you really find solutions for them, whether that means dealing with the root cause or distracting yourself with positive thoughts. Practices of intentionally working through your thoughts and emotions, welcoming them rather than pushing them away, are an indispensable part of the recovery process.
Connecting with others
Recovery is not something you can do alone, but rather something that will benefit from a community of many people dealing with the same issues as you are facing. Through them, you can gain untold wealth of wisdom, hope, and encouragement, as you discover ways your experiences are related. In this way, you learn what it means to have true community. Without the destabilizing impact of substance abuse, you are free to truly care about other people, and thus find a deeper purpose in life.
Allows for setting new routines
Through healthful routines of sleep and exercise, practices of mindfulness and emotional honesty, and building helpful relationships, you slowly develop ways to truly change your life for the better. Lots of people make large promises and commitments to themselves to accomplish big goals, truly intending to "change their lives," but these are worthless unless real steps are taken to put them into practice.
That is why it is so important in recovery to focus on the present moment lived out "one day at a time." Focus the bulk of your energy on what you can do to live a good life in the present moment, and take a small step towards creating wholesome habits. Over time, these small actions on a regular basis will become easier and more automatic, and you will truly experience positive changes.