We don’t always know what we’re getting into when trying to get sober. I had an image of being bored and uncomfortable all the time, and really couldn’t have imagined all the things I would learn. Personally I had the opportunity to go to inpatient treatment, an outpatient drug rehab in Los Angeles, and sober living while getting sober. This offered me many different ways to build a healthy recovery and investigate what it means to be a sober person in this world.
When I got sober, I really wanted to learn to live without drugs. What I didn’t know was that this meant learning a whole lot of other things in the process. Whether you’re using addictive prescription drugs or drinking every day, there is so much to learn getting sober from drugs and alcohol. Here are a few things I’ve learned along my journey into recovery.
There are many ways we can create new healthy habits. One of these things of course is consistency. We can see this in our drug use. As we became more accustomed to using, it becomes habit before we know it. Although this can be harmful, there is good news! We can do the same with healthier habits, taking action to create a new foundation for ourselves.
I’ve learned in my recovery that taking contrary action can truly help me build new habits. It was one of those things that my sponsor told me to do early in recovery, and I went along with. What I found was that I have the power to change my habits and thinking by putting effort forth to act differently. It’s not always easy, and I’m certainly not perfect. But I continue to try to take contrary action and do things that aren’t my first instinct. Over time, my “first instinct” changes dramatically.
I was pretty horrible at this before getting sober. I blamed everyone and everything for my suffering and my behavior without actually taking responsibility. In recovery, I’ve learned slowly how to take accountability and how it can serve me. Although it doesn’t always feel comfortable or pleasant, I’ve learned to admit when I’m wrong and make amends. This can be painful, difficult, and awkward, but I’ve found it to be immensely beneficial.
I’ve also learned to take accountability with myself. When I find myself blaming others and pointing fingers, I try to take a look back at myself. By learning to take accountability, I’ve really grown up and learned to be an adult. In my work life, personal relationships, and daily living, I am able to see where I am causing things to happen in my life. By taking accountability, I am able to see how I create pain for myself and how I can create the conditions for happiness and freedom.
This has been something that I’ve really had to learn the hard way. In recovery, live isn’t all peachy all the time. Many people get sober and still struggle. For example, some people experience intense depression when getting sober off drugs, while others have difficulties finding jobs or fixing their family lives. Whatever we face, we have to be open to growing and learning. By recognizing we don’t always have the answers, we allow ourselves room to grow.
I have learned this lesson over and over again. No matter how much I’ve grown, I always have more room to grow. When I begin thinking I know exactly what to do, I close off to learning new ways to grow. Although we may find things that work for us, we also need to remain open to the fact that there is not a cure-all for our discomfort or pain.
Our social lives influence us greatly whether we’re sober or using, and peer pressure is real. When I look back at my life using, I surrounded myself with other people who used like I did. The community I was with made me feel like it was okay to behave the way I was behaving. On the other hand, we can build a healthy community in recovery that builds us up and helps us stay sober. I didn’t know when I got sober just how important and impactful my friends could be in my life, and over time I’ve seen that my fellowship and community is one of the most important aspects as a sober person.