Recovering from addiction and alcoholism is the very best decision that a person can make even if they were once hard-core addicts and around the clock drinkers. For people who are in new recovery, they will say that their lives immediately improved once they got clean and sober. For people who have made their recovery a way of life long-term, they say that living in recovery is truly the only way to be fulfilled and to finally have peace of mind. To understand what it is like being in recovery, it’s first best to visualize the path that recovering addicts and alcoholics took before they became genuinely happy.
Some Have to Hit Bottom to Become Sober
Many people in recovery stay clean and sober because, in their story of addiction or alcoholism, they hit bottom and lost everything. For some, this is a very low bottom that includes homelessness. For others, this may be a higher bottom, and they lose their job or have financial losses. What occurs in all bottoms is the person decided to finally end the struggle of trying to get away with drinking and drugging. This decision usually comes from years of failing to hide their addictions and from everyone around them which includes family, friends, coworkers, strangers and even their drugging or drinking buddies who said they were out of control. Once an alcoholic or addict is rejected by every person they come into contact with, the idea of living life high or drunk doesn’t satisfy them.
There are those who may have resorted to drinking and getting high alone, and for them, depression and physical sickness usually prompt them into facing their disease. Additionally, there are some people who manage to move from group to group, but once a group or set of relationships crumble, they also must face the destruction that their way of life causes. For others, homelessness and absolute hopelessness ware them down to the point that jail and psych wards look like great options. No matter the situation, all addicts and alcoholics deep down know they have a problem and all they need is to learn how to overcome their obsession with drugs and alcohol to begin a new way of life.
The first step that all addicts and alcoholics make is to ask for help. Once they receive help for the addictions, the next step is to admit with complete honesty how addicted they are. Once these two events occur, they can accept what people who are in solid recovery ask them to do to achieve fulfillment so that they can no longer desire to get high or drunk. Additionally, counselors and other professionals who treat addiction and alcoholism assist recovering addicts and alcoholics on what actions to take to overcome problems and remain positively focused on their recovery.
So, what is it like for newly recovering addicts and alcoholics once they first get clean and sober depends on how great of a recovery program that person is working. For people who attend 12 step meetings and work with a sponsor, have friends in recovery, are employed and connected to a Higher Power, their recovery is a treasure. For people who refuse to go to 12 step meetings and do not rely on the input of other recovering addicts and alcoholics and try to do it their way- which is alone, their lives are a struggle. Living with the disease of alcoholism or addiction without drugs and alcohol is pure hell. Recovery makes it possible to live without substances and feel happy and satisfied.
You Must Accept Help from Others
The key to serenity is giving up the idea that recovery is simply remaining clean and sober. Abstinence is not recovery. Recovery is accepting help from others. The good news is that most successful recovering addicts and alcoholics at one time tried to do it alone and of course, relapsed. Relapse is often the route many people who are not ready to let others help them take, and after the relapse gets them arrested or homeless, they return to those who have been through it and ask what they need to do.
Admitting defeat is a huge step forward for all addicts and alcoholics. The 12 steps may at first for people who are new in recovery seem like a waste of time. However, once a person realizes that the people in 12 step meetings are not pretending to be happy and that they are just addicts and alcoholics being guided by the 12 steps, who have a sponsor, friends in recovery, a job, as well as higher power or a spiritual connection to God, then the formula for success in recovery is revealed.
Newly recovering addicts and alcoholics will state with conviction that once they admitted they need help and got into a treatment program, life got better. Over time, newbies in recovery have to put effort into their recovery program. The work includes going to meetings, having a sponsor, making friends who are also in recovery, attending church, or having another spiritual connection, working, spending time connecting with and helping others, and having fun with others in recovery. When a newly recovering addict or alcoholic does these things, they get to feel joy and satisfaction with life.
Having An Attitude of Gratitude
Old-timers and people who have remained clean and sober for years continue to attend meetings regularly. They also work with a sponsor and are employed. Successful long-term recovery also means that person has friends in recovery and that they help others to achieve recovery or through their 12-step community or with a church or other community organization. They also commit themselves to experience life with others in recovery, and with their families. Most importantly, they are also always improving their state of mind by working the 12 steps regularly.
To understand what it is like being in recovery is simple. Being in recovery allows a person to connect with life as if they were drunk or stoned. This does not mean they are actually feeling drunk or high; it means that they finally have the ability to connect with life. The inability to be pleased with life or how to get along with others clean and sober is why all addicts and alcoholics remain impaired.
Recovery shows people how to connect with life and others. The once boring dinner at a relatives house now becomes memorable. The uneventful walk or hike outdoors suddenly becomes the most beautiful experience of nature. The dreaded day at work or school finally becomes a self-esteem boost. The boring rainbow or sunset finally looks beautiful. Being in recovery is learning how to do what others have done to remain clean and sober. Once this has begun, life becomes a rewarding adventure.