Killing the Old Self and Embracing New Life in Addiction Recovery

Killing the Old Self Becoming the New YouLet’s face it.  The “high” and feeling of euphoria associated with heroin and/or drug use was fun at first.  But nobody told you that to keep obtaining it, you’d have to sacrifice your entire life and lose everything you own and hold dear to your heart.  Continually chasing after a high becomes emotionally, physically and financially exhausting.   You never thought drug use would consume you, but sooner or later. whether you like it or not, you admit to yourself that you’ve become addicted.  Some resist ever using that word, but regardless, you see that it’s consumed you.  But there is hope and addiction recovery is the solution.

Most men and women suffering from the affects of drug and/or heroin addiction get tired of the lifestyle.  If that’s you and you’re ready to make a change, we can help.  You are encouraged to contact us and/or visit our list of prescreened addiction treatment centers.  Are you ready to make a change?

Making the Necessary Life Changes to Obtain and Maintain Sobriety

maintain your sobrietyOnce you decide to get into treatment and own your sobriety, you may need to make some life-altering changes.  These changes become necessary in order to protect your sobriety and they should coincide with your choice of addiction treatment.  With the stigmas and shaming still revolving around addiction, you may find that many will criticize you.  You may or may not have noticed it while you were too busy chasing that high, but it may become noticeable during addiction recovery.  But despite any criticism, know that treatment and recovery is a good thing and you can and will find support and encouragement in the right place.  Those who criticize you aren’t important anyway.  But now is the time to concentrate on you.

Those in treatment must protect their sobriety.  Thus, changing your physical surroundings may be necessary.  This includes eliminating people, places and things from your life that generate “trigger thoughts”.  Hanging out with people who still use is a bad idea.  Visiting places or keeping objects that remind you or tempt you to use can harm your addiction recovery.  If you need emotional support or actual help in developing a strategy on changing these parts of your life, we suggest speaking with a counselor.  You can also cultivate online support and advice from members of our free heroin addiction and recovery discussion forum.

Eliminating & Avoiding Triggers – People, Places and Things

It isn’t hard to commit to being happy once you start to see the changes addiction treatment and recovery brings into your life.  While losing “using” friends may not be easy, discontinuing your friendship with them is a necessary step to your own treatment and recovery.  Continuing a friendship with heroin using friends and/or hanging out with them will likely be a temptation and could lead you right back to feeding your drug addiction.  You may resist this because of the connection you feel you have with some or all of these people and may even argue against this because you feel you are strong enough.  Maybe you are.  But it’s still a bad idea anyway.  True strength isn’t putting yourself in temptation’s way and seeing if you can resist.  True strength is making the necessary changes to avoid temptation so you don’t have to resist.

Recovery is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Recovery is a marathon, not a sprintRecovery is a marathon, not a sprint.  So don’t expect overnight results.  You will likely deal with urges for awhile, even after the first week of heroin withdrawal (which can be minimized at a detox center and/or with medicine assisted treatment such as Suboxone, Methadone or Naltrexone).

It isn’t selfish to put yourself first.  We’re talking about your happiness, your contentment and making yourself a priority.  Prove to yourself that you can commit to your addiction treatment & recovery.  Do this before you decide that another person’s opinions are important to you.  Right now, support is necessary so don’t be afraid to leave the naysayers to their own ideas of impossibility.  Dealing with negativity can be distracting.  Thus, eliminate as much of it from your life as possible and surround yourself with positive, supportive and encouraging people.  .

Set boundaries that will protect your sobriety and maintain them.  You will be leaving old ways and friends behind as you go.  But as you do this, you will find other people in addiction recovery and/or supportive, positive people that won’t hinder your success.  Try not to dwell on the past or previous friendships with drug using friends.  This may be difficult at first.  But as you develop new, sober and encouraging friends, it will get easier.

Addiction Recovery is About Reinventing Yourself

Recovery is about reinventing yourself - butterfly leaving cocoonRecovery is about reinventing yourself and becoming the man or woman that you’ve always wanted to be.  Going back to the life you had and/or being who you were prior to using drugs won’t work.  Something about that life led you to using drugs in the first place which led to addiction, dependence and the hell it all created for you.  Thus, as you make the necessary changes in your life, don’t try to go back to the past.  Move forward.  That doesn’t mean you can’t rekindle old friendships and relationships with good, sober people.  But you should be different than you were before.  You should possess a renewed sense of self and purpose.  It takes awhile to find it, but that’s what recovery is about.  Sobriety is a big part of it, but addiction recovery is so much more.

So here you are, learning that you can be sober as you rediscover the one person you’ve suppressed with chemical dependence:  As you begin to recognize your own patterns and cycles of negative thinking, it will become clear on how to avoid them.  Counselors or group therapy can help with that.

You are learning to become the person you were meant to be.  For so long your drug habit had coaxed you into believing that you were not worthy of good things.  And you held this perspective.  You allowed your own guilt to build on the shame you and others have led you to feel.   It may take awhile to let these and any other negative feelings go.  Discussing them with a licensed counselor or sometimes even good, sober and supportive friends can help you properly and adequately deal with and eradicate any guilt and shame you may be feeling.  Emotions are something all of us have.  Learning to manage yours along with knowing what your triggers are, will help you become more confident.  See “Knowing and Avoiding Triggers During Heroin Addiction Treatment” for more information.

Rebuilding Relationships with Family and Old Friends

close familySome family members and old friends may harbor resentment and anger depending on how you’ve treated them during your tie of active addiction.  They may not believe that you’ve truly stopped using and it may take awhile to rebuild relationships with any or all of them.  But be patient.  You will have to decide which family members and friends are worth fighting and patiently waiting for.  Some, you may decide to let go, especially if they can’t accept that you are changing or have changed relatively quickly.  Those you’ve personally wronged, lied to, cheated, stolen from, manipulated, etc. may need more time to heal than others.   But soon after you start working on these relationships, you’ll have an idea which ones are salvageable and which ones aren’t.

Regaining trust can take time.  Understand and respect that time is necessary to rebuild relationships that have been broken from your addiction.  It will likely be frustrating.  But it is important not to dwell on the feelings of others.  Use your time positively and stick to the routines you are establishing.  These routines will keep you focused.  You may feel overwhelmed in not knowing what it is you like to spend your time doing in your sobriety.  So don’t be afraid to try new things.

Building and Cultivating New Relationships and Friendships

Finding groups to attend weekly will bring new people and new ideas into your life.  You will be able to build upon establishing relationships with people that won’t judge you.  You will find new people who are like-minded and have similar goals.  There will be no shaming, no guilt, and no negativity from these people.  They are people that have suffered just the same as you have.  They know that they, too, are giving up what no longer benefits them.  Their fears will be the same.  You will learn what others do to maintain new routines.  You will find that those attending these groups have also had to let go of past habits and relationships.  They are also sorting through feelings of guilt and uncertainty.  But it is also here with these new people that you find the positivity you need to keep going.  Don’t be afraid to meet new people.  Your goals will resemble theirs and the changes you’ve made will get easier to maintain.

Instead of fearing changes you’ve made, embrace them.  Those who love you will come around and forgive in time and new friends and support groups will help you get through life’s difficulties.   And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!  Addiction recovery isn’t easy, but it’s well worth it and it can bring about a lot of good times.

Written by Kristi Tullis – Writer/Blogger for Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™
Edited and Published By William – Founder and Publisher

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