Addiction treatment and recovery are filled with change and new life experiences. For those struggling with addiction, the use of drugs or alcohol may have affected every aspect of your life. Letting go of such a significant part of your routine is undoubtedly difficult.
Likewise, your first steps towards a life of sobriety can often feel like you are “breaking up” an intimate relationship. However, this breakup is necessary for growth and wellness. Navigating the complex feelings surrounding this time is essential as you work to establish your recovery from substance use.
Drugs and Alcohol in Daily Life
Individuals struggling with addiction have a complex relationship with substances. For some, the use of drugs or alcohol can feel necessary to function normally in daily life – just as necessary as food or sleep.
Likewise, your motivation for substance use can come at the expense of these other needs. You may be wholly aware that your relationship with these substances is having adverse effects on your body, mind, and other relationships. Nonetheless, you likely still feel compelled to engage with them anyway.
Severing your relationship with addictive substances is crucial. However, this breakup requires more effort than solely deciding to stop using. You will have to make significant changes to your daily routines and perspectives to navigate this time successfully.
Just as drugs and alcohol have affected your personal life, professional life, relationships, motivations, and routines, your recovery must do the same. Thankfully, there are strategies available to help you break up with drugs or alcohol and pursue a healthier lifestyle in sobriety.
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Navigating the Breakup
There is nothing easy about ceasing the use of addictive substances. It is normal to feel urges and cravings to reengage or even to romanticize about your time using despite the negative effects. These feelings are common among those pursuing a new life of sobriety and do not indicate that you have “failed” in your recovery efforts. However, being proactive and consistent with your breakup from addictive substances is essential for effective recovery.
Write a Breakup Letter
Writing is a powerful therapeutic tool throughout any stage of treatment and recovery. Using writing as a breakup tool is no different. It can even provide a unique way to solidify your newfound sober ambitions and goals. Writing a breakup letter can provide you with a way to look back on your time using these dangerous substances and the consequences that resulted from your substance use.
This can also help you experience a degree of closure with your complex relationship with substances. Likewise, it can help you prepare both mentally and emotionally for the recovery journey ahead. These letters can double as declarations of your recovery goals for family, friends, and other supports or as a personal statement to motivate yourself through difficult times.
Let the Record Play
Romanticizing your use of drugs or alcohol is common throughout many stages of recovery. However, leaving these feelings unaddressed can increase your risk of relapse. Looking back on your use, coupled with pervasive withdrawal symptoms that populate the early stages of treatment and recovery, can create confusing feelings regarding your sober pursuits. Therefore, it is important to let the record play out in your mind to move past it.
Letting the record play means taking a step back from romanticizing your use and seeing the larger picture. It is common to think fondly back on a time when you were at a bar with friends or coworkers. However, this can often come coupled with repercussions that you may not immediately see or immediately remember.
You may have experienced a bad hangover, which led to troubles at work. Or, your use may have had dire effects on your family or other personal relationships. Letting the record play and viewing the reality of the consequences can contextualize these feelings, ensuring that you are consistently focused and reminded of the reasons behind your need to pursue sobriety.
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Prepare For a New Lifestyle
Breaking up with drugs and alcohol means not only ceasing your use but also creating a new lifestyle in its absence. Ending any kind of personal relationship is difficult, and the relationship you have had with addictive substances can be just as intimate. Distancing yourself from lifestyles that surround the use of drugs or alcohol is essential for your emotional healing.
Taking on a new hobby from the beginning of your recovery, changing social groups, or setting new personal or professional goals can all mark this change. Additionally, doing so can help you recognize the adverse effects of your relationship with drugs or alcohol.
The peers and professionals you meet through a center for alcohol and drug treatment, whether residential or outpatient, are essential in creating this new community and perspective. These people and programs are meant to empower individuals to pursue and explore their sober identity in a sympathetic and supportive atmosphere.
Breaking up with drugs and alcohol is a monumental moment in your recovery journey. However, it can also be a difficult emotional time as you begin your new sober life. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we understand the difficulties that come with making such a profound transformation that affects each aspect of your daily life. Likewise, we are prepared to help you navigate this breakup and begin your sober journey. From effective, medically-supervised detox programs to our comprehensive alcohol and drug rehab programs in Hawaii, we are ready to personalize your recovery to meet your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. For more information on how we can help you begin your sober journey, call (866) 390-5070.