You might think at the beginning that sober living means getting sober. Sure, that’s a start. But for most people, addiction is an entire lifestyle. Someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol likely has thinking and behavioral patterns that have contributed to addiction. They spend time with friends and family members who are also using drugs and drinking. They have certain ways of seeing themselves and the world that seem to make harming themselves with substance use okay. They tell themselves excuses that feel like valid explanations about why they are drinking or using drugs so much. Addiction is an entire way of life. This is why sober living is really a journey of becoming someone new.
In most cases, the new person that a recovering addict becomes is healthier, more loving, and no longer refuses to face their feelings. In fact, sober living is a really a journey of self-love. And part of discovering who you are is learning what your body needs to stay healthy, making choices that help create a safe foundation for yourself, and choosing friends who are supportive.
Yet, most importantly, if you’re on the path of discovering who you are, looking outside of yourself can become a major obstacle. If you want to really create a world of sober living and become someone new, the place to look is inward. The beginning the path of sobriety might need to include inward seeking practices such as journaling, meditation, yoga, exercise, and creative expression. Restoring your relationship with yourself will require your attention inward. In this way, you can come to know who you are, your unique responses to life, your feelings, thoughts, and ideas. Getting to know yourself is a necessary part of sober living. Doing so can facilitate finally making choices that are no longer self-destructive, but instead life-affirming and self-loving.
Sadly, Western culture strongly emphasizes seeking acceptance of yourself from external sources. It is difficult to discover yourself in the face of the many of images given to us by the media. Commercials tell us that in order to look good tonight you need to buy this dress tonight. Or they might proclaim that in order to feel confident you need to wear this cologne. However, finding yourself won’t come from wearing or doing anything externally based. And it certainly won’t come from drinking or taking in any sort of drugs. Instead, becoming more and more who you are is a necessary part of sober living.
For this reason, some people take a break from their lives. They might live at a sober living home. They might reside at an addiction treatment facility in order to get away from their lives and uncover who they really are. If you want to become someone new – someone sober and healthy – one first step is to take a break from the person you are now. And that might also mean taking time away from family, friends, and familiar environments. And then once you’ve done that, you might feel more clear about your next steps on your journey of recovery from addiction.
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