Recovering Addicts Share Advice on Coping with Life’s Obstacles without Drugs or Alcohol
For some people who have recently left addiction treatment, there comes a sort of, “What happens now?” feeling. How do you cope with a bad day at work or get over a devastating break-up if not with your substance of choice? What happens after you’ve left the security of rehabilitation and go back to the real world of unpredictables?
Luckily, the recovering addicts I recently spoke to said that learning new ways to cope is exactly what rehab is for — these are a few of the tips they offered to sobriety newcomers.
1. Let go of the need for constant control
“Control is an illusion,” Eddie asserted.
In many instances, that’s true. You can’t control bumper-to-bumper traffic at rush hour, nor the bad attitude of a co-worker. It’s important to keep things in perspective — and to accept that some things just might not go your way.
Of course a recovering addict must stay in control of their own actions, but Eddie explained that it’s letting go of the unpredictability of the world around them that can be most challenging:
“The hardest lesson I had to learn was probably the fact that I don’t have control over others. I have influence and I have intentions, but not control.”
He added that part of why this is so difficult is because your entire way of thinking is different than when you were using.
“Just saying this now, I think to myself, ‘How absurd!’ but this is how addiction works,” he said. “You see and do things in a way that is most beneficial to you and your needs.”
Releasing that need for control might be one of the most important revelations of all — it helps you see that we’re all just trying to get by the best we can.
2. Seeking sobriety for yourself, not just for others
If there was only a single resounding message from all the people I interviewed, it was summed up perfectly by Dean:
“You have to do it for yourself — no one else can do it for you.”
John agreed, noting that shortly after arriving at the Treehouse rehab facility in Texas, he realized it was the right move not only for his family’s well-being, but for his own.
“I’m doing it for myself. I’ve accomplished a lot in my life — I’ve acted alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, I’m an inventor, and I’m an amputee triathlete – but this is one thing I haven’t conquered,” he said.
Whether you look at it as your next hurdle or the path to a happier life, never lose sight that ultimately, you’re doing what’s right for you.
There are going to be bad days. There are going to be tough times. There are going to be moments where you can’t remember why you chose the sober path. But whatever happens, you must push through.
“Don’t give up,” urged Dean. “You’ve probably heard all the same cliches. But be patient. Take suggestions. Have an open mind and be faithful. You’re going to come out of this a lot better.”
Attaining lasting sobriety just might be the most arduous journey you face, but you will come out stronger than you ever knew you could be.
Accept the uncontrollable aspects of life, keep your priorities straight, and above all: Fight back and Persevere. You are stronger than your addiction.