During the first few weeks or months of sobriety, or at least after withdrawal effects have subsided, many people find themselves on a “pink cloud.” They are excited by their newfound sober life and feel like all of their problems have been solved. Learn some of the ways of discovering your passion in sobriety.
While there is nothing wrong with being happy and grateful for sobriety, it is important to remember that quitting drugs and alcohol is merely the first step in a long — yet enjoyable — process of building a new life and rediscovering joy. Physical abstinence from substances is a condition for this process, but it is not the end goal.
When an individual gets sober, many aspects of their life immediately improve. The following are only a few of the benefits that someone who begins treating their substance use disorder might immediately begin to experience:
While the inherent benefits of sobriety are life-changing, people who have spent years of their lives wrecking relationships and self-harming often have a lot of work to do when they finally get sober.
Fixing relationships and developing new ones, building a career (often from scratch), and dealing with legal and financial wreckage can be a bit of a process. Beyond all that, though, most people find that without drugs and alcohol to occupy ones mind, it is necessary to discover new sources of joy and passion.
Building a life that inspires you is not only the best way to prevent relapse, but it is the whole purpose of getting sober. Doing so is a long process, but the experiences of others in sobriety can provide a blueprint. So how you can find your passion in the recovery?
In the recovery community, addiction is often referred to as a “disease of isolation.” When an individual gets sober, they often find that despite the misery of withdrawal symptoms and cravings, they are able to find solace and pleasure in the company of other people who are having similar experiences.
Building strong intimate relationships with other sober people is not only helpful to the recovery process, however. The people who live the most fulfilling lives are not the wealthiest or the most famous people necessary, but those who have the strongest connections with other people.
Having a strong group of friends will help you get out of yourself and care about others, and you’ll also likely end up going out with and having some sober fun.
For many people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, old interests seem to disappear as substances start to take center stage. It is hard to get any pleasure out of seeing a play or shooting hoops when psychoactive substances offer an endorphin and dopamine rush that dwarfs all other activities.
Because people neglect their interests during active addiction, the early days of sobriety can feel somewhat empty for some. It is a good idea to return to some of these hobbies and pursuits to see if they still resonate with you. If not, that’s okay.
You’ve likely changed over the years, and rather than seeing your sobriety as “empty” it is best to interpret it as full of potential. Keep an open mind and explore new interests and hobbies. This takes time and experimentation. Having a sober group of friends can help you discover new interests.
For most, discovering passion in sobriety is about more than just going out and finding new fun activities. Sobriety is an opportunity for introspection, to learn more about yourself, and engage in a process of personal growth.
Being alone with your thoughts and doing some reflection can be a scary thing after years of blocking out thoughts and feelings with drugs and alcohol, but it is well worth it. Meditation, working on a creative project, talking with a close friend, or just going for a walk can help you get to know yourself.
Given that mental health disorders often drive people to turn to addictive substances as a form of self-medication, some people find that mental health issues become apparent when they get sober. That’s an opportunity for growth!
Seeing a therapist or counselor to work through thoughts and feelings can be a great way of getting a better understanding of yourself. This process takes time, and no one ever “finishes” getting to know themselves, but it’s rewarding every step of the way.
Design for Recovery is a structured sober living home for young men. At Design for Recovery, we understand that sobriety is more than just physical abstinence from drugs and alcohol. It’s about building a new life and discovering a newfound happiness and freedom.
Design for Recovery’s highly structured program is designed to keep people sober over the long term and help try to prevent relapse. It is also designed to help young men build strong sober communities, learn about themselves, tackle the initial obstacles of sobriety, and become independent and accountable individuals.
While the process of discovering your passions and purpose is likely to continue for the rest of your life, Design for Recovery’s sober living program is a great opportunity to make a strong start. If you’re interested in getting sober or if your sobriety right now feels a bit empty, contact us today.