When you were still actively using drugs or alcohol, the life you led was far from normal. What was once important to you, had since shifted to the wayside, assuming of course that addiction took front and center in your life. Since then, you have turned a new lease on life, but a lingering question still haunts you–Can recovering addicts ever be normal? At North Jersey Rehabs, not only will we answer this, but we will always serve as a guiding light for patients in need of both inpatient and outpatient treatment.
In recovery from substance abuse, a lot of the craziness is a thing of the past. You have the opportunity to lead a new, healthy life. Yet, on some level, the struggle to feel normal in recovery may not always seem plausible, but there are always ways to get there.
Choosing to get sober is a huge step in the right direction. Recovering addicts understand this, but they also recognize that it is a lifelong commitment that requires the utmost reverence and diligence. In this context, you aren’t necessarily nodding your head to the past, but the past is heavily indicative of where you ended up in the present, and yes, that includes your erratic, deviant behavior. By extension, if those who hold weight in your life still view you as an addict even after getting clean, that can also be gut-wrenching. Reminders of the past can appear everywhere. Despite your best efforts to leave that behind, you are usually reminded of what once was.
It’s not uncommon to look at the lives of other people and compare yourself to them. More specifically, you envy people who never had a problem with alcohol or drugs. You might even feel that somehow your life always comes up short. You know that a lot of the issues you currently face may have been caused by addiction, such as job or money problems. You compare your life to people who never suffered from addiction and wish you could be a little more “normal”. The issue is the fact that you are comparing your insides with other people’s outsides. You look from afar, at those who have good jobs, a lot of valuables, and a happy marriage, and assume they are in control of their life. Making comparisons is dangerous as we are making assumptions about others whose life we know little about. In order to feel normal in recovery, you must learn to get away from these mindsets.
In a perfect world, life would restore you to your vitality, once the addiction has been controlled and treated. But as many soon find out, addiction and sobriety are lifelong things that you must work hard to maintain. Recovering addicts need to understand that this battle is a marathon, not a sprint. Trust that you are making progress at a pace that is reasonable for you. Practicing acceptance of things you cannot change, is a great first step. You deserve credit for the efforts you are making towards the goal of sober living.
It definitely seems that no one knows the answer about whether people substitute one addiction for another. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a previous substance use disorder is a risk factor for future development of substance use disorder (SUD). By extension, some have made the case that people who recover from one SUD, have less than half the risk of developing a new substance use disorder. Contrary to the clinical lore, achieving remissions does not usually lead to drug substitution, but is associated with a lower risk of a new SUD onset.
For those uninitiated by the world and mindset of those who are or have previously been addicted to something, it can be hard for one to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. But the fact of the matter is–Addiction can happen to anyone at any time. Regardless of background, age, societal status, etc., no one is exempt from the shackles of the harrowing disease. Now, there are individual factors that make someone more prone to addiction (i.e., using substances at a younger age), which could contribute to the onset of addiction later on in life. Having a family member with a drug or alcohol abuse problem can also increase the likelihood of addiction.
Gray areas like this will continue to fuel the thought process for recovering addicts—”Will I ever be normal?” or, “do my predispositions forever bind me in this entanglement?” Instead of pondering on what if’s, one must begin to slowly coach themselves, with help from others, on how to move forward with the tools you have been given to stay grounded in your newfound journey of recovery.
Simply put, “normal” is more of an abstraction. If we were all normal, it would fail to differentiate us from one another, which is absurd, as we have all quirks far removed from addiction, that makes each of us unique. The journey of recovering addicts is riddled with trials and tribulations, but this is par for the course. Eventually, you will learn how to feel normal in recovery, but your definition of normal will always be unique to you. North Jersey Rehabs believes that when patients abide by these ideals, it makes going about your newfound life much more feasible. To learn more about how we can help you and yours, contact us today to get started with treatment.
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