It is a real tragedy when a young person falls victim to addiction. Unless this person is able to break free of the behaviour, they can ruin their life even before it really gets started. The good news is that young people who are able to break free from the downwards spiral of addiction can actually benefit from the experience. Here are six important lessons that this experience has to teach.
Many adults accept a far less than perfect life because they are convinced that it will not be possible for them to change. In order to break free of addiction, a young person needs to make some major changes to their life. During this process, the person learns that a leopard can change its spots. It means that in the future, the individual will appreciate their ability to change and he or she will be less willing to settle for a mediocre life.
It is common for those that fall into addiction to do things that they later deeply regret. The individual does need to take responsibility for their behaviour in order to break free of addiction, but it is not about a bad person trying to become good; it is more like a sick person trying to become well. It is human nature to make mistakes, and the important thing is to learn from these and move on. A healthy response to mistakes is to admit ‘I did wrong’, while an unhealthy response is to think ‘I am wrong’.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world (including Richard Branson) say they got where they were by being able to ask for help when they needed it. In order to break free from addiction, it is usually necessary for the young person to ask for some help. This is a powerful lesson, also likely to mean that the person in question will be better at asking for help when they need it in the future. Refusing to accept help is one of the most common reasons why individuals struggle in life.
Even those not addicted to alcohol or drugs can still believe that they need to take mind-altering chemicals in order to have a good time. The reality is that these substances often reduce a person’s ability to appreciate an experience. One of the most surprising things for those committing to sobriety is that they can have a truly wonderful time without the need for any chemicals; in fact, living sober can mean more joy and fun.
Young people who have overcome an addiction problem tend to be far more empathetic and compassionate in their dealings with others. They understand how easy it is to make the wrong choices and end up struggling in life. This means that those who have overcome addiction have a lot to offer those facing hard times.
One of the real gifts of recovery is developing a real appreciation for all the good things in life – things that others just take for granted. This is important because the secret to happiness is not to accumulate more things but to appreciate what one already has. Developing gratitude is important in recovery because by remaining grateful, relapse is unlikely.