When a person thinks of sober living, he or she might imagine themselves enjoying life without the burden of addiction. They might see themselves in a healthy relationship, a rewarding career, and a meaningful future. They might imagine their life exactly as they want it, without burden or stress. Although this is an enjoyable image to have, sober living is a life that gets developed over time. A healthy relationship and a rewarding work life take time to develop, especially after the destruction that an addiction can cause.
If you’re at the start of your recovery, you might be living a sober life but that doesn’t yet mean that you’ve acquired the life you want. In fact, just because the use of substances is over, the illness of addiction might still be present. In other words, the brain and the body might still be healing from the addiction. The physical patterns of addiction might still be present, creating cravings and consistent desires to use. In fact, one’s lifestyle might still look more like that of an addict versus someone in recovery.
It takes time to change one’s life. It takes months, sometimes years, and even decades to transform one’s life so that it encompasses the essence of sober living. When someone is new in their recovery, they may need to change who they spend time with, adjust where they spend their time, acquire new thought patterns, and develop healthy habits. They may need to eat regular healthy meals, go to the dentist and doctor more often, and visit a therapist on a weekly basis. A recovering addict might need to attend 12-step meetings to stay sober and ward off cravings. He or she might also need to make amends with family and friends. There is a significant process that a person needs to go through in order to create the life they want. It is nothing short of a transformation.
Because acquiring sober living can be challenging and encompasses many facets of one’s life, a person usually needs to seek professional assistance. For instance, a person might work with a medical doctor to tend to the physical ailments that addiction might have caused, a therapist to work through any underlying issues that might be contributing to an addiction, a drug counselor to learn more about the illness of addiction, and lastly a psychiatrist for any medication for depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric illnesses. A person might also need to attend an addiction treatment center to help fully break the cycle of addiction.
When a person has let go of their old way of life, ended unhealthy relationships, and found ways to take good care of themselves, perhaps then they will be closer to sober living. In fact, you might say that sober living is more a state of mind than anything else. It is adopting a whole new world view, recognizing that one’s life is worth keeping rather than throwing away.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction or is having a hard time staying sober, contact a mental health professional today.
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