8 Relatable Moments that will make Recovering Addicts say “Yup, that’s me”
Recovering from addiction is far from simple. Once you’ve finished treatment and gotten back on your feet, the journey still isn’t over, not even close.
Recovery lasts a lifetime and we have to be diligent every hour of every day to keep from relapsing. There are ups and downs; some days it’s hard enough to just get by, and other days it feels almost like the addiction never happened.
With all the different experiences that go along with addiction recovery in mind, including the painful, the boring, the joyful, and the hilarious, let’s talk about 8 of those typical moments that all recovering addicts will relate to.
1. Those Super Bleak first few Weeks/Months
Recovery is really, really, REALLY hard at first. Generally speaking, the first 3-6 months of sobriety are the most challenging. During this time, we’re still not used to sober living so every day still feels a little bit strange, like we’re going against our regular habits.
At this time, it may take all the force you can muster up just to stay clean and keep on track with your treatment. Don’t worry, pretty soon, this phase will be over and you’ll be able to start enjoying life again.
Waves Tsunamis of Emotions!
The reason we got addicted to drugs or alcohol in the first place is that they help us feel better. Getting high or drunk was an instant coping mechanism for all those ugly, intense, or wild emotions that are bound to pop up once in a while.
However, now that we’re in recovery, there’s no instant fix. As recovered addicts, we just have to ride those feelings out, which is really difficult now, but over time it gets easier.
3. Hating those People who can Use Recreationally
Every recovering addict will, at some point, look at their non-addict peers enjoying a beer or two without any problem and think “I hate you.”
Even though that’s totally unfair, it’s natural to feel envious of the people who have no idea about the struggles and suffering that go along with addiction. It’s annoying to see someone drink or smoke a little when you can’t!
However, it’s important to understand that we all have our own battles in life. For you, it’s addiction, for them it’s something else. Remember, nobody has it perfect in life, not you, not them.
4. That Pleasant Surprise when you Realize Just How Much Money you’re Saving on Drugs/Alcohol
Drinking and using is EXPENSIVE! Addicts can easily end up spending thousands of dollars every month on their fix without even realizing it.
Once you’ve gotten sober and start living a new lifestyle, you may be surprised by how far your money stretches nowadays. Instead of having your paycheck disappear in 1 or 2 nights, you may find that it actually lasts the whole 2 weeks/month.
Not being broke all the time is one of the most exciting, surprise benefits of recovery.
5. Realizing just how bad Addiction Discrimination really is
“I’m staying on track and keeping clean, and I’m so much more reliable now than when I was an active addict! So… why do people still look at me like a criminal?”
Unfortunately, there is still a massive amount of stigma against addicts, even those people who are fully recovered. That’s because here in the US, we’re trained from an early age that drugs are bad, and those that sell or use them are bad people. We hear this message from our schoolteachers, community leaders, politicians, celebrities on TV, our parents and so on. It’s not fair but for many people, it’s hard to break out of that mindset and recognize that addicts are people too and that they’re not much different from everyone else. We have to continue advocating for our rights, and showing the people around us that recovered addicts are people too, and we deserve full respect.
6. That Pang of Sadness when you see an Old Friend still Struggling
One of the hardest things recovered addicts will have to face is seeing their old friends overdose, or fall further down the rabbit hole of addiction. Not everyone will be able to beat their addiction and get clean like you have. Unfortunately, some people will lose the battle that you’ve won.
While the priority is focusing on your own recovery, you still can reach out to your friends that are addicted, and try your best to motivate them to get help. Since you’ve already gotten clean and moved on to better things, you’re leading by example.
7. Looking in the Mirror one Day and seeing a Hotter, Healthier Version of You
Yup, it sounds silly, but looking better is one of the most exciting benefits of recovery. Drinking messes up our skin and makes us gain weight, and drugs can turn us into grey, hollow, less-appealing versions of ourselves.
When you’ve been sober for awhile and started eating and sleeping better, it’ll show in your physical appearance. Celebrate the new, healthier, hotter version of you! You’ve earned it.
8. The Scary but Deeply Moving Moment when someone Trusts you Again
As active addicts, we probably let a lot of people down and made choices that hurt our loved ones. For that reason, we may have lost our credit in our community and damaged our reputation.
Now that we’re clean and making better choices, our reputation will start to heal which might feel strange at first. Regaining the trust of loved ones is confusing for a lot of addicts. That’s because we’re afraid of messing up, but at the same time, happy to be part of the group again.
That ambivalence is natural. Even though you’re afraid of taking on responsibilities again, trust that you can handle it. You’re no longer that reckless addict, and you can handle what life throws at you. Celebrate this newfound trust.
Getting clean, and staying clean is no walk in the park. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and more courage than you would believe is possible. Most recovered addicts will tell you that recovery is the hardest thing they’ve ever done, but even so, they’ll tell you it’s well worth the effort.