Some words just carry a negative connotation about them, and recovery might be one of them. It especially strikes a raw nerve for those who are abusing alcohol or drugs, the people who hate hearing words like addiction, abuse, sobriety, intervention, Alcoholics Anonymous, and—yes, recovery. What recovery really means, however, is a way for you to recover the best things about yourself, a way to rediscover who you used to be.
Who are you these days? If people are telling you that you need to go to AA or check into an alcohol rehab center, then you’ve probably lost the best part of yourself. Try to think back to the person you were before alcohol grabbed you and changed your life.
How did it feel to get out of bed in the morning? Remember the days when you woke up feeling refreshed? You didn’t stay in bed for a few extra seconds with your eyes squeezed closed, assessing your head and your stomach to see if you had a helluva hangover or not. You just jumped out of bed to greet the day.
Well, maybe you didn’t exactly do that. Maybe those weren’t the best days. A great deal of people who are in recovery programs these days tell sad stories from their childhood or young adulthood, of days when they felt unloved and misunderstood. Many of them were physically, emotionally, or sexually abused; those things happened in all types of families, and maybe that fits your profile.
Getting into recovery means that you have an opportunity to recover the person you once were. You have a chance to put the past behind you and meet the person you might have turned out to be if you hadn’t been hijacked by addiction. Because addiction is a medical illness, and it’s not your fault you have it. So stop blaming yourself.
What were your hobbies? Did you enjoy writing? Was poetry your thing? Maybe you were talented as a young adult in painting or singing, or you excelled at some type of sport.
People who are actively using spend most of their time and energy thinking about when they last got high and when they will next get high. People who take that brave, big step and ask for help with an addiction problem are consumed by thoughts about cravings and urges, and also obsessed with worries about the bridges they’ve burned—the wreckage in their past, as it’s called by recovering addicts.
At some point in the recovery process you will rediscover yourself. Without even realizing it, the day will come when you will begin to think about the natural gifts you have and the things you once really enjoyed doing. That day won’t come when you’re anticipating it; it will just creep up on your out of the blue.
All of this leads you to a way of renewing yourself. The best alcohol rehab centers offer classes that seemingly have little to do with sobriety, such as movement or art classes. Those classes, however, are the best ways to ease your mind and your body back into healthful ways.
By moving your body about, your mind gradually becomes more open to change. By experimenting with art or music, you remember the old truths about yourself and you become more honest about the things you really want. Massage, yoga, acupuncture—they are all ways to help you replace your old ways of thinking with fresh, new ways.
Starting Down That Road
Recovery, rediscovery, renewal: Those are the watchwords of your new life. The alcohol rehab center counselor who will be assigned to help you on that road to recovery will teach you how to take that first step. Actually, the first step is when you reach out and call someone.