Giving up alcohol or drugs is a major achievement, meaning you will now be in the right position to begin building a better future. You probably want to put those addiction days behind you as fast as possible, but it would be a mistake to just ignore what happened; it has been said that those who forget the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. Below are six important lessons that you need to take from the experience of addiction:
One of the most common reasons why individuals end up caught in addiction is because they have been attempting to avoid problems in life. Alcohol or drugs can offer temporary reprieve from worries and stresses, but this does not mean that these challenges are being dealt with. What really happens is that the problems not only remain there but they are added to by process of addiction. It is vital that you become willing to face your problems in recovery otherwise you will relapse or turn to new maladaptive behaviours as a way to avoid them.
As long as you remained caught up in addiction, there would have been no real way for you to significantly improve your life. This is because the continued drinking or drug use would have meant that you were regularly doing things that were creating negative consequences. For example, if you frequently had a hangover then it would have prevented you from performing well at work, which would have got you into trouble. The whole point of recovery is for you to begin doing the right things so that the right things can start happening to you.
There is no shame in asking for help; sometimes this is what you need to do in order to overcome a problem. A common reason why people struggle for years with addiction is their inability to ask for help. Making use of the available resources is not a sign a weakness, it just shows that you are serious. Even the most successful entrepreneurs in the world got where they are by asking for help when they needed it.
Making the major change required for breaking away from addiction is a huge accomplishment, so if you can do this then what else are you capable of achieving. There are so many people who believe they need to put up with a less than ideal life because they believe ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. You now know what is possible, and this will open up a world of opportunity for you.
The fact that you have ended up so off-course in life will make it easier for you to understand how the same could happen to others. All humans are fallible, so you can use this experience to help you develop more empathy; this is a wonderful gift and it means you can be of real service to others.
Breaking free of addiction is all about being able to forgive yourself for the past. Some people remain trapped in addiction for years because they become convinced that it is the best they deserve – you now know that this is not true. No matter what mistakes you have made before, you deserve this second chance and the best you can do to make amends for the past is to become a better person today. Continuing to punish yourself is not going to help anyone.