Living a Fulfilling Life after Addiction
Addiction is estimated to affect as many as 20 million people in the U.S. and nearly 7 percent of people across the industrialized world. Although the prevalence of this very serious chronic ailment remains high, a great deal of progress has been made over the last few decades in its treatment. In fact, we know far more about addiction now and how to effectively treat it than at any time in the past.
However, once many individuals exit rehab, they begin to realize the hard work is not behind them. The real challenge lies in staying the course and preventing addiction from reconquering one’s life. For many who have struggled with alcohol or other substance use disorders, the key in remaining free of addiction’s iron grasp lies in constructing a positive life after addiction.
The Real Key to Long-Term Success
Despite the fact that evidence-based treatment is now able to produce short-term recovery success rates of 90 percent or higher, the most important factor in long-term successful recovery remains the ability to reconstruct one’s life in ways that do not rely on the use of substances as a central girder. As one man who beat his addictions put it, “the decision to get off drugs was easy, but the decision to stay off drugs was always elusive.”
12-step programs have long required that their participants subscribe to a higher power as a means to displace substance abuse as life’s foundational pillar. But many who once struggled with addiction have successfully gotten their lives together without turning their free-will over to a deity. How do they do it?
Discover Your Deeper Passions
One of the most surefire ways to beat addiction over the long term is by realizing a simple truth: There are many things that are far more important and rewarding than using drugs or alcohol. In fact, aside from using substances in controlled moderation, abusing drugs and alcohol ends up consuming an individual to the point where they no longer care about anything else besides their next fix.
The truth is that drug abuse produces nothing of lasting value. Someone who replaces their drug habit with a hobby or other activity about which they are passionate may soon find that they are able to enjoy other endeavors they never would have had the time for beforehand. If someone who overuses alcohol spends 40 hours per week in an unproductive fog, quitting drinking and spending that time on something like learning the piano or becoming a computer programmer could easily turn them into an expert in a matter of years. And once that ball gets rolling, it tends to be self-reinforcing.
The simple fact is that people who are truly passionate about something — anything — simply don’t have time to abuse drugs or alcohol.
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Rekindle Relationships with Friends & Family
One of the oft-heard refrains from people who have managed to stay on the course to recovery is that they feel almost as if time has stopped: Their sober version is a close facsimile of the person that they were prior to starting heavy drug or alcohol abuse. This is because relationships are the benchmarks of our lives, helping to fill out the map of where we have been and where we may be heading. And so much of what makes up normal relationships with people, including a clear recollection of shared experiences, is sacrificed when drugs and alcohol are the primary focus of one’s life.
Forging new relationships or rekindling old ones with friends and family, especially those who do not abuse drugs and alcohol, is another one of the most effective ways to prevent a relapse. The simple truth is that people who have not centered their lives around drugs or alcohol tend to be a hugely positive influence on someone who is trying to live a fulfilling life after addiction. And those who one may have shut out or turned away as a result of their substance abuse may now be far more open to once again becoming a part of the life of someone who has demonstrated a genuine will to change and to stay sober.
A Shift in Perspective
Contrarily, those who remain sober for extended periods are often shocked at how intolerable and uninviting the lifestyles of fellow substance abusers are when seen from the other side. Some people who have formerly suffered from addiction find continuing motivation in the realization of all the trouble that they left behind when they made the decision to give up their addictions. Many former addicts point to the deaths of close substance-abusing friends and acquaintances as one of the most sobering wakeup calls that they have received.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
One of the most well-attested findings in the addiction recovery literature is the fact that those with strong social support networks are able to successfully recover at rates that far exceed those who are alone in their efforts or who have only fellow addicts to turn to for social support. Friends, family and addiction support groups are all fine ways of maintaining that social support bulwark against relapse that is so critical in the first years of recovery.
Desert Cove Recovery is focused on helping people to achieve sobriety and live a fulfilling life after addiction. With our modern, evidence-based approach, we will work with those who choose sobriety to find approaches that are suitable to their individual needs.
Unlike many other programs, we focus strongly on helping our clients build and maintain adequate and lasting social support while discovering their unique purpose in life. We aim to help them to construct a meaningful existence that is driven by healthy passions and that is no longer an empty cell in which their fleeting impulses keep them confined.
For more information on our revolutionary and highly effective long-term approach to addiction recovery, call Desert Cove Recovery today.