If you view giving up alcohol or drugs as a type of sacrifice, it will be hard for you to remain motivated long-term. Unless you see that the whole point of this step is to make your life much better, it is going to be hard for you to develop suitable motivation. The sad thing is that many people treat sobriety as almost similar to serving a prison sentence, so it is little wonder that because of this attitude they later relapse. It is only by viewing this new life as a great gift that you will become all ‘fired-up’ and be in the right frame of mind to get the best out of this new life.
Myths about Sober Living
Imagine spending every day for the rest of your life missing alcohol and drugs – it sounds dreadful doesn’t it. If giving up your addiction meant living this type of life, it would be understandable that you would not be feeling too enthusiastic about the prospect. Unfortunately, this is how many people do view sobriety; it is little wonder, therefore, that they do struggle when it comes to staying free of substance abuse.
People who are caught up in addiction will say things like “I can’t be happy without drinking”. The denial associated with this behaviour makes this claim feel unquestionably true, but the reality is that people do not experience real happiness while abusing these substances. This is because one of the effects of addiction is that it numbs your emotions so that you no longer feel things as intensely as you once did. One of the real joys of recovery is that you can start to experience real happiness again because your emotions are no longer sedated.
When individuals first start drinking or using drugs, it can make them more spontaneous; however, once you are addicted, this behaviour seriously limits your options in life. This means you are likely to fall into a routine that revolves around alcohol or drugs and you may feel reluctant to do stuff when there no possibility of getting high while doing it. Once you become sober, you will no longer be limited by your addiction and you will be free to explore a world of possibilities. The idea that life in sobriety is boring is just one more of the illogical myths floating around – it is addiction that is boring.
Why Sobriety is Not a Sacrifice
There are two main motivations for giving up addiction – to escape your current level of suffering and to experience a better life. The former of these motivations can work well in the short-term, but it will probably not be enough to keep you sober long-term. It can be referred to as a negative reason for staying sober that is based on fear; the problem is that over time you are likely to forget how bad things were, so this motivation is no longer powerful enough to keep you way from substance abuse. The other problem with this approach is that it is a mind-set all about giving alcohol up which involves making a sacrifice.
It will be much better if you can view recovery as the chance to live a much better life rather than a sacrifice. Here are just some of the reasons to justify viewing thing this way:
- getting sober gives you a second-chance in life
- you can use the tools you pick up in early recovery to help you find success
- sobriety is not just about saving your life, it is more about getting a life that is worth living
- the fact that you are sober means that you are in a good position to begin achieving your dreams
- not drinking and using drugs means that you can now be a good friend, father, mother, partner, sister son, daughter, or brother
- you will be able to look anyone in the eye and not feel guilty
- you are likely to enjoy improved mental and physical health
- you can experience a level of happiness you have never experienced previously – getting sober is not about going back to square one but about creating something new
- you will do better at work and in your hobbies.