One of the biggest challenges in drug recovery for the individual is in finding a new life for themselves. This can be especially challenging for younger people, because in many cases, the life that they are living in active addiction is the only life that they know. In other words, it is very difficult for this person to picture their life without their existing friends and associations, who unfortunately all use drugs. But this is still a huge problem for older people in recovery as well, because we become set in our ways and to some extent we become a product of our environment. We have set up our lives to revolve around drug and alcohol use. Then when we stop using, how do we go about resolving this situation and moving past our old behaviors? How do we start a new life in which we do not use drugs and alcohol anymore?
In my opinion, the key to recovery from drugs thus starts with a leap of faith. You have to surrender fully and let go of all that stuff that is associated with your old life. In many cases this will include people that you used drugs or alcohol with. Yes, you have to let go of those people. That can be especially tough and very depressing at first. For me, this transition was eased quite a bit by the fact that I moved into long term rehab. So all of those old friends and using buddies were instantly replaced with new people in recovery. I would hate to admit that at the time, but that is exactly what happened. Going to long term rehab replaced my friends for me. And it worked.
Now the other big part of the equation is that the addict is now facing life without the crutch of using drugs and alcohol anymore. They are detoxed, sober, and probably a bit afraid to face life without self medicating. They are likely miserable and they probably wonder how they will ever have any fun again in life without using their drug of choice.
This is the part where they have to discover a new life. This will take some time of course, several months maybe. But it is worth the journey and it will keep them clean and sober over the long haul. In my opinion, the key to creating this new life for yourself is to take a holistic approach to recovery. That means that the addict needs to approach their recovery from many angles and seek to grow as a person. This will create a well rounded life in which they can find new things to be passionate about. For example:
1) Exercise and nutrition as a means to better health in recovery.
2) Working with others in recovery as a means of boosting self esteem.
3) Finding a sense of emotional balance in our lives and working to maintain that.
4) Seeking spiritual growth.
And so on…..
Thus, long term recovery becomes a process in continuous, holistic growth.