Who am I? It is a question that people struggle with throughout their lives, but it is particularly acute for those who have gone through a recent challenging transition. Whether it is a move from college into the workforce, the loss of a partner, or a transition to a drug and alcohol-free life, these transitions can cause psychological uncertainty as you rework your thoughts about the meaning and purpose of your life. How can you discover who you really are without drugs?
Rehab is a time when you challenge yourself and think about your current and past behavior to prepare for a more positive future. This is difficult, and before you get angry at yourself for having a hard time determining who you are right now, know that you can give yourself some time to celebrate. You have completed rehab and you are moving into a new and positive phase of your life. Appreciate the persistence and diligence that brought you to this moment.
According to US News, alcohol can “become a friend, lover and trusted confidant, isolating the addict and alcoholic from reality.” Celebrating yourself, your friends and family, and the activities that you love will help you find out who you are now that you are back in real life.
REDISCOVER WHAT YOU ENJOY
Before you went to rehab, your life was influenced by addiction. With a focus on drugs or alcohol, it can be hard to understand what you truly enjoy doing. Now that the focus is gone and you have moved through rehab, consider what you like to do. You do not need to start long-distance running or creating works of art; doing what you enjoy could be as simple as taking a walk to a coffee shop. Spend some time with yourself and give yourself permission to explore your interests or just relax sometimes. Providing this space gives you the opportunity to understand what you love.
TRY SOMETHING NEW
If you feel like you are at loose ends, it could be time to try something new and see how it inspires you. You could take a course at a community center or learn more about exercise. You could look at instructional videos for a new hands-on hobby. You do not need to find your life’s passion, but just trying something new can invigorate your mind.
One person noted in the Huffington Post: “I’ve been learning that there are things I thought I liked that I really don’t like and things I like that I never knew I did.” You may feel the same; trying something new could open a door to a new passion or even future employment.
CONNECT WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Your friends and family may be delighted to see you in this new phase of your life. However, they may also struggle with addiction themselves or have a lot of residual pain from your addiction.
Reconnect with friends and family members who support you in your recovery. This can help you understand your new roles as a friend and family member. Seek out therapy to help you develop and maintain these relationships and grow into new, healthy relationship patterns.
If you do not have a lot of friends and family who are healthy, addiction-free, and supportive, you can also look at a sober house as a way of ensuring that you have a support system. A sober house can provide you with the ongoing sober community and even therapy that you need to reconnect with who you are and what you love.
STOP FOCUSING ON GUILT
Yes, your addiction has probably caused hurt and worry in the past. You can consider how to make amends and go through therapy with those you love to make sure that you reconnect. However, you do not need to feel guilty all of the time.
Recovery is about being well, and in order to figure out who you are, you need to move past any constant feelings of guilt. The person you are in the present and future will still make mistakes sometimes, but you need to be free to explore who that person is without constantly dwelling on the past.
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