Recovery is not just about physical sobriety. It’s a lifelong process of healing mentally, emotionally, and physically. It means addressing the reasons you drank or used in the first place, and learning how to cope with the ups and downs of life sober. Many of us in recovery find that even when we take away substances, we use other things compulsively, especially during hard times. This has certainly been the case for me. A huge part of healing is learning to understand what purpose those compulsions serve for you. What need are you attempting to fill? What feelings are you trying not to feel? These are ongoing questions, and part of the work is continuing to ask them. You might do this in therapy, in a support group, through mindfulness, as part of thoughtful relationships, by journaling, or in many other ways. There are often many things we need to heal. What those things are is different for everyone. As you spend time building self-awareness—perhaps through some of the above avenues—you will be more aware of what work needs to be done at a given time. Healing our relationship to ourselves is a big part of improving all our other relationships. Active addiction often breeds shame and low self-worth, as we might live in secrecy or do things we regret. We also often enter recovery with little idea of who we are without substances. Healing can look like trying new hobbies or putting extra effort into figuring out our values. Many of us in recovery used substances as a way to cope with emotional distress, co-occurring mental health disorders, stress, trauma, or other very painful experiences. We might have used alcohol or drugs to self-soothe because we didn’t have any other tools. In recovery, we practice using healthier tools. This really does take practice, and it’s not linear. But generally over time in recovery, we learn what really works for us—as well as what doesn’t. Hearing that recovery is a lifelong process can feel overwhelming. However, ultimately, it’s an opportunity to heal. Most people can use healing, but being in recovery really ignites the fire to do so; that is a gift. If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you heal in recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.