Being in active addiction often means living on instinct. Your brain has changed so that your main motivation is the substance(s). This makes it hard to set goals, plan for the future, or do much higher processing. In many cases, addiction actually changes parts of the brain involved in higher cognitive functioning, which adds barriers.
Recovery Allows You to Take an Active Role
When I was in active addiction, it felt like things just happened to me. I wasn’t really an active participant. As one ex said, I fell into things. This was true for both good and bad things. The bad ones were often dangerous, and the good ones I felt like I couldn’t take credit or be present for.
In my experience, recovery has been a wonderful opportunity to live with more intention. It’s helped me build routines and make plans. But on a larger scale, it allows me to continually work towards being the person I want to be. That doesn’t mean I’m always there or that things are perfect; life can still be messy in recovery, but the striving is something I didn’t have the capacity to do during active addiction.
Identifying Your Values and Setting Goals
Living intentionally looks different for everyone, because it’s based on what your intentions are. SMART Recovery—a support group for people with any addiction, substance or behavioral—has a worksheet that can help you identify your core values. Knowing what these are is important for living intentionally. For instance, if you value connection and friendship, cultivating the relationships in your life or trying to make new ones can be something you do with intention.
Setting goals has been helpful for me when trying to take a more active role in my life. For instance, instead of saying I was going to be part of my nieces’ lives, I made a plan to FaceTime them once a week and visit them at least every other month. Your goals don’t have to be as specific as mine, but for me, specificity helps.
Suddenly feeling like now you’re the one who has control over your life, and not addiction, can be overwhelming at first. It means you’re responsible for whatever happens. But for me, it’s been empowering.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing 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 build a recovery program that works for you. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.