Active addiction can make you feel out of control and unsure of who you are, which means many of us learn self-advocacy when we get sober. You can’t ask for what you need when you don’t know what that is.
It’s important to learn what’s best for your recovery and advocate for it, because what works is not the same for everyone. You’re not going to get far following someone else’s recovery program. No one has the same reasons they used substances or coping skills that help.
Getting to Know What You Need
You might try journaling—or talking to a therapist—about what you need and what hasn’t worked. Through this process, you may find that you didn’t speak up when someone wasn’t supporting you, or that you did something “for” your recovery just to conform to what someone else wanted.
Getting clarity about times you haven’t aligned with yourself is the first step to self-advocacy. Then you can plan what you will do in the future if you’re in a similar situation. You might practice setting boundaries with people in your life if they’re necessary. You can write down a recovery plan that solidifies what works best for you and stick to that.
Getting Curious About Addiction and Recovery
Learning about addiction and sobriety can help with this. I planned to get sober a month in advance, and in that time I read all I could about addiction and recovery. I still read a ton about these topics, because knowledge is empowering.
In the beginning, it helped me make choices about my recovery—and it continues to help me reevaluate and adjust. Your learning doesn’t have to be through books, but could come via podcasts, shares at AA meetings or other support groups, a sober mentor, or any number of other things.
The Importance of Self-Advocacy
Advocating for yourself is practical; it helps you stay on the best path for your sobriety. But it also sends a message to yourself that you are worthy of respect and trust in your own choices. I have found that the more sober time I have, the more abundant those things are in my life—and the more I advocate for myself, the stronger they become.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is 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 work with you collaboratively to find the recovery program best suited to you. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.