Getting sober teaches you some harsh life lessons right away. It’s staying sober that gives you the real growth and brings those lessons that you value most.
Nearly ten percent of Americans say they are in recovery or at least admit to a past problem with drugs or alcohol but no longer use them.
So, what can be learned from people who have been clean for five, ten or even twenty years? Many things, it seems.
Some of these can apply to anyone – even those who haven’t struggled with addiction, but others will only ring true for those who are grappling with their demons in substance form.
One Day at a Time
This should be a mantra. No matter how long it has been, you still only have to get through that day, from sunrise to sundown, without giving in to addiction.
Some days will be harder than others. Sometimes a huge trigger like your ex-partner or old friends will show up and make your cravings almost unbearable.
It’s not about how long it’s been since your last drink or hit, but how close you come to another. Take a deep breath and tell yourself, “Not today.”
All you have to do is make it 24 hours before you get a chance at another day, and today, you’re not going to give in.
You Don’t Have to be a One-Man-Band
No man is an island. Clichés are there for a reason – and that’s because they are true!
No matter what you do in life, it’s better if you have help. Look at the people who are most successful and you realize it’s because they have a team around them, helping, supporting, and pushing them to be their best.
No matter how good you are at getting by on your own, there are others who can bring different things to the table. Never be scared to ask for help in anything you do.
When you are first getting clean, it’s so hard to admit that you need assistance. But you will find that many people are more than happy to give you a hand, and often will be honored that you asked for their help. We’re all human, and we need each other.
It’s Never Too Late to Start Over
You’ve made mistakes, time has passed, and you may feel too old for this stuff every day, but you can start again.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how old you are, you get another chance (and another after that, if you need it!)
You might not find your way back to where you once were, but that’s okay too. Life is in the living, and as long as you are breathing and grateful for each moment, you’ll be rewarded.
Put down the bottle, the needle, the pill jar, and start afresh. If you’ve had a relapse, it doesn’t mean you have to give up.
There are places out there, places like Parker Valley Hope Rehab, that can help you get back on the right track, even if you’ve had a slight diversion.
You Learn to Accept What’s Passed
This is not about wallowing in the past and it’s not about forgetting it either. You probably won’t forget the bad things, even if you think you’ve blocked them out. You must deal with them at some point in order to fully recover.
You realize that while you can’t go back and change anything that you’ve done, you accept that it happened, and you move on.
Having the reminder that addiction made you a bad person at times and made you do things that you would rather forget isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It helps you be accountable. It helps you not take that drink or crush that pill up to snort it.
Accept that you’re human, that you made bad choices and that you’re working on being better.
You Don’t Get a Free Pass
Yeah, this one isn’t easy. Getting clean from alcohol or drugs is a remarkable achievement, but it doesn’t mean that you get a free pass from the hard stuff in life.
Your parents may still die, your partner might leave you, you might get laid off even after you worked so hard to make it. Life can really throw some curveballs, but everyone has to deal with them and you don’t get a free pass just because you’ve dealt with addiction.
The good thing is that you can deal with all these things soberly. You can learn to ride the storm and dance in the rain.
You Need to Have Faith
This leads on well from the last one. Times get hard and sometimes you may feel like you just can’t do it anymore. This is where you must have blind faith. Believe in yourself, believe in life, believe that you will get through this.
For some people, this is why 12-step programs work so well: the meetings and reminders that you’ve done it for this long and you can keep on doing it.
Developing your own self-belief takes time and emotional input, but when you have faith in yourself, you can do anything you put your mind to. Stay positive!
How to Get Clean
Initially, you don’t really know how to get clean, except to give up your preferred substances.
You need tools that will set you on the right path and keep you there.
Of the 9.1% of people in recovery, 53.9% of those reported that they have had an assisted recovery, so checking out rehab facilities should be a first port of call.
You get one-on-one time with a therapist, plus group time, so you can understand the reasons behind your addiction and how to address them in a positive way without the need for drugs or booze.
You can contact Parker Valley Hope Rehab today or find another center that suits your needs – whether it’s in-patient or out-patient support for your recovery.
Life is full of lessons and sometimes they are learned the hard way, but those are the ones that stick, and that inevitably make you a better person.
Be open to those lessons and the new life they lead you to. Sobriety is a learning curve, but you can graduate with flying colors.