Is it possible to get high naturally in recovery? You hear people talk about this all the time, but is it really possible to get that amazing feeling of euphoria that we got from our drug of choice in our addiction?
I would say that the answer is definitely yes, you can get naturally high in addiction recovery.
But it takes work. And that is not a bad thing necessarily, because anything of value that is worth having is going to require some serious work on your part.
However, that work that you put into your recovery is going to have some serious rewards. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways in which you can get naturally high in your sobriety journey.
One, you can get a definite natural high from recovery itself, from the fact that you are clean and sober. That might sound a bit too obvious, but it is one of the promises of recovery that, once it kicks in, you will be very excited about it.
As a newcomer sitting in an AA meeting and listening to someone tell me that they are on cloud nine in their recovery journey, I wasn’t too impressed or excited. I was still stuck in my addiction at the time, trying to figure things out, and I did not really believe that recovery could transform me in this way. I thought to myself in that moment “well maybe this stuff works great for him, but he must be different from me. He must not have loved drugs and alcohol with the same intensity that I loved them. So for him to find this natural high in recovery may be possible, but for me it is still likely impossible.”
That was my mental process when I was still stuck in denial. I was not yet really working a program and I had not yet found my path to recovery. As such, you couldn’t really convince me that “getting high on life in recovery” was even possible.
Fast forward to about 4 or 5 months into my recovery journey, and I had that moment of epiphany. I realized that I had made it through an entire day, because I was just laying down to go to sleep at night, that I had not had a single craving or urge to get high all day long. This was a real miracle for me because I had been convinced that my love of drugs and alcohol would never go away.
So this was a revelation for me. I could not believe that this promise had come true. The people in the AA meetings had said to me long ago, back when I was still stuck in denial: “One day, if you work this program and you take these steps, you will have your first day in which you experience no cravings at all. You will be totally free from addiction!” And I can remember listening to that in AA meetings and not believing it, not thinking that it could possibly apply to me, because I was different, I was unique, and so on.
So when I finally had that magic moment at about 4 or 5 months sober in which I realized that the obsession to drink and take drugs had been completely lifted, that was amazing. That was, in my opinion, a natural high that I am still riding on today over 16 years later.
In other words, just realizing that I am not longer caught up in addiction and that I am truly free was one way in which I have been naturally high in recovery.
Now a second experience that I want to relate to you would be that of finding a relationship and a partner in addiction recovery. This, too, was a “high” when done properly.
But doing so properly was a lesson that took over a decade!
Many of us get into addiction recovery and we stumble into the arena of relationships and we sort of do poorly. It is very difficult to find love and make it work perfectly if you are coming from a place of addiction and irrational beliefs and behaviors.
So for a long time in early recovery I worked on myself and I ignored the possibility of a relationship. And during that time I was fairly lonely and I wanted to find someone. And my peers in recovery would say things to me like “There is someone out there for, you just have to be patient.”
I did not want to hear that. I was frustrated and I wanted to love and be loved. I wanted a partner and I was sick of being patient. So when people said things to me like “you’ll meet the perfect partner some day” I was not happy to hear it. It was frustrating.
And again, I would say that recovery indeed had a perfect plan for me in this arena as well, but I had to be patient and I had to do the work that was necessary in order to work on myself.
Once I had done that work on personal growth and self improvement, I did finally attract a partner into my life that led to an amazing experience, which has included marriage. This really is another one of the “highs” that I have experienced in my own recovery that far exceeds anything I experienced during my active addiction.
Now one final idea I want to throw out there is the idea of getting naturally intoxicated through the use of physical exercise.
I kind of dabbled with exercise a little bit during the first year of my recovery, but nothing really clicked for me. A few people suggested that I work out, that I jog, that I lift weights. I dabbled in these things and I made an effort, but nothing really came together for me. The idea did not take hold for me yet.
Somewhere around my second year of recovery, however, I started jogging with my father, who is an avid runner. And for whatever reason–this time–exercise clicked for me.
It clicked in such a way that I was finally able to get into shape. For whatever reason, I stuck it out long enough with jogging that I got to that point in which I could easily run 4 to 6 miles and not have it be a miserable experience for me.
Now don’t get me wrong, when I was out of shape and just getting started, jogging was a miserable experience. But I stuck it out and got into shape and eventually I had that magic moment in which I realized that jogging was light and fun and easy. It was no longer hard work to go out and jog down the road.
That was an amazing transformation for me. It was an empowering transformation. Because not only would I say that you get a mental buzz and a euphoric effect from running several miles, but I would also say that this sort of habit creates a new confidence within you. If you can go run 6 miles with ease or lift heavy weights, it gives you a new level of confidence about yourself that must be experienced to be appreciated.
Furthermore, the mental and emotional effects of physical exercise provided a clarity and a “high” that I don’t think can be rivaled through any other non-chemical means. You really feel good when you move your body in a healthy way.
Good luck to everyone in chasing after these healthy lifestyle changes in sobriety!