No one can argue against the idea that sobriety is challenging for an addict. Struggling with addiction is more than a matter of choice or will – rather, it’s a medical issue, and sobriety involves an arduous and grueling rehabilitation and recovery period after treating the disease and transitioning to sober life.
To be sober means not to drink or use drugs – you can be sober for a day, or a lifetime. But when someone talks about sobriety, they usually refer to the commitment of continuing a sober life.
This abstinence isn’t just challenging because of the difficulties of early recovery, though, or because of the craving that drug addiction often leaves you with for weeks and months after treatment.
The Biggest Challenges Of Sober Life
Sobriety’s greatest challenge is the transition from relying on drugs to deal with life, to dealing with sober life. Addiction has several different meanings, but there are two overarching definitions: physical dependence, and psychological dependence. Either qualifies as addiction without further specification, but most of the time, people refer to physical dependence when discussing addiction as a disease.
In either case, struggling with drug use often means finding yourself in a position in life where things are doing downhill, and drugs become an effective coping mechanism for shutting out the pain and anger. Yet when drugs go away, the problems only become more apparent – and the only way out is through.
Getting past the initial few weeks of abstinence while dealing with the stacked consequences of addiction is what makes early recovery so difficult. The pressure to stay clean on top of a list of growing responsibilities can be overwhelming, and without proper support, it can be very difficult not to relapse.
But even with sober living support, making sober life better than your old life ever was is the key to staying clean. So how do you achieve that? How can you live a sober life more enjoyable and better than any high on earth? You do that by finding your purpose – and using it to stay on track, no matter how bad things might get. Of course, that’s easier said than done. But there are a few tips that might help you figure out what you need to do to continue your abstinence and overcome your fear of relapsing.
You Need A Goal
Everybody needs goals in life. Achievable, relatively short-term goals, and lofty life-time goals. These goals must be something you’re passionate about, hungry for, and willing to fight for. It might be a personal career goal, a sports goal, or an academic goal. It might be something you’re only a few weeks away from, or something that you’re planning to build towards for a decade.
Whatever goals you might have, sobriety gives you the chance to pursue them – and in pursuing them, you can guarantee your focus on living a sober life.
If you don’t have goals, then creating them might be a bit of a challenge at first. Begin with a form of self-improvement for which you have the time and resources. Something simple, like relearning an instrument you use and playing a single simple song, reading one book per week, or something similar. Whatever it ends up being, make sure it’s something you think you can achieve within a month – then make sure you achieve it.
What Drives You?
This is a question everyone must ask themselves at some point – and if they don’t know the answer, then their priority must be finding out what it might be. Life is unbelievably varied and complicated, and every individual has their own lot in it. You may never be able to see ahead into your own future, but you can decide what direction to steer towards. That’s why discovering your passion is important.
Some people grow up finding and dedicating themselves to their passion. They have their own stories about how they fell in love with a sport, a profession, or a goal, and they spend decades honing their skills, shedding blood, sweat, and tears to do the best they can, for the sake of knowing that they did it.
Yet most people do not find their passions so easily. Many only realize what they really want to do in life much later, past their youth. If you don’t know what your purpose or passion might be, then there’s only one way to find out.
Just Do More
Addiction robs us of time, money, and relationships. It can make people incredibly lonely and leave them struggling to stay happy. Yet with treatment, support, forgiveness, and therapy, you can get back on your feet and find the time in your life to dedicate yourself to living a better one.
Taking the time to try new things is imperative when your goal is to be happy with yourself. You may never know what your passion is until you discover it. So, take classes, visit new and strange places, learn new things, and be open for unexpected opportunities and fortunate happenstance.
Whether luck exists is something that cannot be quantified. But it is undoubtedly true that any given day is filled to the brim with opportunities that may change the way you live your life. You must keep your eyes open to catch them as they pass by, and never let go once you’ve found the right one.
Fueling Sobriety Through Passion
Setting a goal and reaching it is incredibly satisfying – it requires hard work and determination and has a powerful emotional and at times physical payoff. This is important for life in general, but it’s critical for sobriety. Addiction takes things from people, often including their pride and dignity. Most recovering addicts regret the choices they’ve made and the things they’ve done while addicted and feel ashamed or embarrassed. They may have strained their relationships with others, or they may have messed up with once-a-lifetime chances.
Getting out of that mental hole is important, because such negative thinking is conducive towards relapse and further problems. Yet to foster positive thinking, people need a win. Setting a goal and achieving it will give you the push you need to feel like you can go further, do more, and stay true to yourself. It will improve your self-esteem and your will to continue living a sober life, for the sake of the future.