For many people, recovering from a substance use disorder can be one of the most difficult acts of their lives. Not only is the process itself fraught with difficulties, but the very process of coming to a decision to seek recovery is itself an uncomfortable one and overcoming fear can be a challenging task.
Most people are horrified at the very concept of applying the word “addict” or “alcoholic” to their personal condition. This is due partly to the stigma surrounding those words, but also to the admission of personal powerlessness the words imply.
Addiction, while obviously very destructive, is in a sense a very comfortable state to be in. Addicts generally have very regular routines that they follow. A life of continually seeking access to one substance that has priority over career, relationships, and even personal health — while this life sounds bad, it does have the unique merit of being simple and straightforward.
Before you can begin overcoming fear, you have to be aware that your fears are causing havoc in your life. Getting sober often means abandoning that comfort level and entering a realm that is neither straightforward nor predictable — but ultimately far more rewarding.
Personal development is rarely a party. When people want to make positive changes in their lives, this usually means enduring a certain amount of pain. Losing weight means reducing portion sizes during dinner time.
Getting physically stronger involves lifting weights that actually destroy muscle cells. It is when the muscle cells rebuild themselves that strength increases. Runners training for a marathon surely feel out of breath or even like vomiting as they train for their big event.
However, one commonality that all of these people have is a willingness to value the inevitable positive outcome over their immediate suffering in the present.
Research has shown that the famous “runner’s high” that long-distance runners get when they finish an arduous run is actually a result of the pain they experience while pounding the pavement. There is a direct relationship between the difficulty of the run and the intensity of the runner’s high that follows.
It stands to reason that this logic would apply to many of life’s pursuits outside of athletics. In business, for example, it is conventional advice that you need to work hard in order to achieve success.
While it is natural for people to want to avoid pain and stressful situations, it is an important skill to be able to recognize sources of positive stress. Doing so will allow you to continue growing as a person. Research on the psychology of people with high levels of “self-control,” meaning a willingness to value positive outcomes over stressful present circumstances, shows that they are generally happier overall.
That’s not normally the mood we associate with the term “self-control,” but it’s the truth, and it makes sense when you compare it to the so-called “freedom” of the unhappy addict.
Recovery provides unique challenges for personal growth. There are a certain number of people who find the first weeks and months of recovery easy. This is referred to as the “pink cloud.” These lucky few have a sense of their lives being totally and immediately fixed by the gift of sobriety.
While it is indeed good to be grateful for the opportunities that sobriety provides, the vast majority of these pink cloud experiences dissolve during an inevitable rude awakening. Early sobriety is difficult. But these uncomfortable experiences are worth pushing through. Doing so is what it takes to build a new and healthy life in sobriety. Below are a few common difficulties recovering addicts face in the early days.
Recovery doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. While it is indeed fraught with its inevitable challenges, recovery tends to be scariest when it is pursued on a solitary journey. Those who stay connected to a broad and diverse community of other recovering addicts have a far easier time. Bringing a sober friend to an uncomfortable social event can make things feel more natural.
A sober social support system can also be an invaluable asset when you need someone to talk to about a personal difficulty, trauma, or simply work through the implications of a new experience in sobriety.
Design for Recovery allows recovering addicts to obtain the social support system they need. As a structured sober living, Design for Recovery not only provides addicts with a safe and trigger-free home filled with empathetic fellows, but it guarantees that they have access to a program of recovery and any other resources they might need.
By lending them assistance in the difficult and anxiety-inducing processes of building a career from scratch, repairing relationships with friends and family, or enrolling in school after a decades-long break.
Design for Recovery hopes to be a source of comfort and dependability for addicts who are taking the first initial baby steps into the unknown. Check out some of our testimonials to see how we’ve helped addicts along this journey!