I’ve heard people say that recovery has useful lessons even for people who don’t have a substance use disorder. Coming up on seven years sober, I truly feel lucky I’ve gotten to experience recovery—and excited about what else I’ll learn.
Coping With Whatever Life Brings
It’s taught me emotional resilience. During active addiction, I was constantly anxious about bad things happening, because I didn’t trust my capacity to deal with them. The coping mechanisms I relied on always caused more destruction. Now, I feel confident that I can handle whatever occurs. That doesn’t mean it won’t be hard, or that I will always be at my best in rough moments. It means I have constructive ways to cope.
I’ve heard addiction described as using external means to cope with internal pain. It is possible to continue doing this in other ways after you stop using drugs or alcohol, but recovery tends to make it clear that nothing outside yourself can solve your problems. This can be scary at first, but it’s ultimately empowering—and less scary. Relying on something outside your control to make you feel better tends to backfire.
Self-Awareness, Honesty, and Improved Communication
Complete honesty with yourself and others is often recommended in recovery. This is a useful skill for anyone to practice. It’s really helpful in recovery to understand impulses and triggers and learn to set boundaries around them. This helps you get better at communicating. It also builds self-knowledge.
Recovery teaches you about yourself. You learn who you are when you’re not under the influence of substances. You learn your priorities when drugs or alcohol aren’t among them.
I like myself so much more since being sober, and most of the sober people I know feel the same. Of course, everyone is different, but self-esteem isn’t just there or not there; it’s something you can be present to cultivate in recovery. Learning you can rely on yourself is a really powerful experience.
Those are all deeper things (and there’s a lot more I haven’t gone into!), but I’ve found that recovery is just more pleasant. It teaches you that you can enjoy the world without needing a chemical buffer.
When you’re in active addiction, you’re physiologically primed to find drugs or alcohol more pleasurable than almost anything else. As your brain starts to heal, this ceases to be true. You start finding what you actually like to do when you’re not under the influence of substances. There is so much to gain from recovery.
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. You will learn so many important life skills that will help you stay sober from our staff, many of whom are in recovery themselves. Call an admissions specialist at 833.641.0572.