As you get help for your addiction, you may lean on your friends and family more than ever before. You may feel shame or guilt for taking up their time and energy or for relying on them when you think you should be able to handle your problems on your own. Remember that your addiction thrives in isolation and that your progress depends on letting other people help you. You’re not a burden and the people in your life love and support you, no matter how long it takes for you to move forward.
After getting sober, it’s not uncommon for people to feel a new sense of self-doubt or disappointment after looking at their past actions through the lens of attempting recovery. You may feel as though you’ve wasted a great deal of your life, put other people through pain and suffering, or made the world a worse place. Even if you feel these things with utter conviction, remember that there was a point, possibly not too long ago, when you felt differently about your substance use and lifestyle than you do now. Everything changes with time, including how we perceive ourselves. The best thing you can do for yourself is to look honestly at how you can improve and put in the work to get there. Your emotions will change over time, so give yourself something to be proud of in the future.
Another aspect of emotional recovery is accepting who you are. While your mistakes are a part of your life, they don’t define your worth. You don’t need to prove yourself in order to deserve life and happiness. Every single person makes mistakes, hurts other people, and causes turmoil in the world; the measure of a person is not whether they do wrong, but how they learn from it to do right. You are already on the right track to learn from your mistakes by overcoming addiction. Be proud of how far you’ve come and remember that there’s a lot more ahead for you to look forward to.
If you’re experiencing intense, recurring feelings of depression, worthlessness, or self-loathing as you recover from addiction, don’t take it as a sign that you’ve failed or that you can’t be helped. These feelings are a sign that you need to open up to someone you trust, either a family member or a treatment professional, and get to the root of your destructive self-perception. Many of these emotional issues are as deeply-rooted as childhood. To fully change the way you operate in the world, you may need to do some soul-searching and use therapeutic tools to address the buried psychological pains or problems that have affected you until this day.
Part of your recovery and treatment will involve examining and resetting some of the ways you handle your emotions. Almost all forms of addiction treatment will involve some degree of personal therapy in a one-on-one setting and the vast majority of people in recovery continue to receive therapy even after hitting initial sobriety benchmarks. One of the focal points of recovery therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of treatment that can help you develop greater self-awareness as you learn to observe your own thoughts and emotions. By retaining a detached portion of your mind, you can witness and acknowledge every thought and feeling you have, even destructive ones, without being forced to act on them or let them dictate your behavior.
You’ll hear it time and time again, from your peers, professionals, and resources: recovery is a process. It’s normal to experience negative feelings about yourself in recovery; just make sure you get the right help. Bottling up difficult emotions can allow them to fester, causing you to isolate yourself mentally over time, and that’s where the danger begins to form. To avoid finding unhealthy outlets like you may have in the past, focus on finding positive outlets. Talk to your therapist, friends, and family. Although it may seem intimidating or vulnerable to tell the people around you that you feel like a burden to them, every time you open up, you’re giving them the chance to support and reassure you the way that they surely want to do. While recovery is not an easy road to walk, it’s an investment in your future well-being, and every step you take towards it is worthwhile.
Even after you get sober, the negative, discouraging thoughts in your mind can pose a barrier to your progress. At Cornerstone Healing Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, we know that the havoc that addiction can wreak in your life can continue to negatively affect you as you make your way towards a healthier future. No matter what you’ve gone through, realize that you aren’t alone. Ample resources exist to help you get back on your feet, access your potential, and work to improve your life. Everybody hits low points and you aren’t defined by your past addiction, relapse, or mistakes. The important thing is for you to learn, grow, and make the most of your new life. Reaching out for guidance and support can make a world of difference as you move into this next phase. Get the help you need to approach the next chapter of your life with determination, confidence, and a positive outlook. Call (800) 643-2108 to learn more.