Addiction impacts millions, or even billions of people every day. It is one of the most common diseases that impact human beings. Everyone has a family member or knows someone who is struggling with addiction. Almost everyone has some kind of vice or addictive activity themselves. Yet, addiction remains highly stigmatized by society.
And it’s this stigma that has some of the most detrimental effects of addiction recovery. Drugs exploit weaknesses found in the chemical systems of the body. People are universally susceptible to the effects of drugs and addiction. People struggling with addiction are not lesser people. Everyone could be in that situation if things had gone south in their life.
Addiction means that a person has lost control and can’t turn their life around without help. In response, society blames them, degrades them, and isolates them. The real villain is the baseless stigma that is placed on addiction and those suffering from its effects.
Letting Go of the Past and Making a New Life
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Everybody has failings. Whether it’s exploiting people for money, cheating on a spouse, being excessively vain, being socially manipulative, or addiction. Because people aren’t perfect.
Instead of identifying with a past failing, identify with your new chapter. People don’t identify or label themselves “manipulator” or “cheater” the same way that people identify with the idea of “addict”. An addict is not worse than a cheater, or a sociopath. Addicts generally only hurt themselves, excluding mom’s broken heart. Addiction does not deserve the bad rep that it has and people struggling with the problem should not accept the label. Not so much the word, but the stigma that is associated with it.
For too long your life has been dominated by the ideas and labels associated with drug use and addiction. Well, no longer. It’s time to change not just your life, but the way you think and identify with yourself. That doesn’t mean you need to ignore or forget about your past, it means closing the chapter of addiction and writing new, blank pages in your book of life. This is the key to making a permanent change in your life.
Part of letting go means letting go of old social circles and toxic relationships. It’s hard enough without stagnant people pulling you back into the same old story. Set yourself up for long term recovery.
This is something that has to be done, not considered or contemplated. And it’s done by living a clean new life. This means staying active, identifying with new ideas and hobbies, and no longer thinking of yourself as an addict. A piece of advice from the experts at iRecover.ca states you’ll always be acutely aware of your past drug addiction, but that doesn’t mean you need to cast the rest of your life in its shadow. Success hinges on the creation of a new life and social circles that don’t stigmatize drug addiction.
People That Stay Active Are Happier
All forms of activities can become addictions. And it’s the same desire to ‘get high’ that drives addictive behavior. People that frequently go to the gym enjoy it so much because of the dopamine release that accompanies physical exercise and because of the rush they get from looking at the results in the mirror. That’s why developing new habits and hobbies are such a great way to stay drug-free.
It sounds wrong to say that you need to just change your addiction. Yet, if we understand that every person has and indulges in addictions, then changing your addiction is exactly what must be done. The only difference between chasing the high from running cross-country and illicit drugs is that one is healthy and the other is not.
So set some goals, take up some new hobbies, and use that addictive personality to propel yourself into a prosperous future. Don’t bite off too much though. Pick two or three new activities to indulge in, and make sure they have an emotional payoff. It’s a good idea to take up a new form of exercise and a hobby. For example, you could start going to the gym and making homemade barbecue (you’d likely get ripped). Or you could take up jogging and an online side-gig. All these activities are positive and provide a big emotional high.
As long as you dedicate your time, energy, and money to a few positive behaviors, your life will transform. A few years will pass and identifying as an addict will seem like a distant far-off memory.
Learn to Change the Things You Identify With
Identifying with something other than addiction, stigma, and drug-use is the key to success in combination with treatment and activities. If you are struggling with this, mindfulness exercises may be of use to you.
Learning to identify with new aspects of life can be a little tricky for some people, check out this list to help you out:
- Stop repeating negative affirmations about yourself
- Stop repeating affirmations that identify you as an addict, like “I’m an addict”
- Use “I am” sentences with your new life. “I am a runner”, “I am a bbq pitmaster”
- Practice mindfulness exercises to calm anxiety and to quell the fiend
- Focus on the cool stuff you are into
- Stop glamorizing drug use and druggie lifestyles
It doesn’t take long. While you may still have cravings now and then, they’ll be only a minor inconvenience. You’ll barely even remember the old you. You’ll be too busy enjoying your new-found wealth, health, and friends.