It’s learning to live again. You feel naked – raw.
The path to recovery is a long and winding road. It isn’t always straightforward. You’re relearning how to be yourself again which can bring stress and anxiety. Self-doubt can rear its ugly head, and you may ask the question, “Can I do this? Can I fully recover?”
You can. One day at a time – that’s how you should look at your recovery. There isn’t just one way to do it. This will be your very own unique journey.
How long does recovery take?
When I was struggling with addiction, I tried to set limits on my use on my own. I knew it was a problem when I would set a goal like don’t use every day, and I couldn’t do that. When I tried periods of sobriety I would ask how long do I have I have to stay sober? Can I let myself use again? Over time, it was easier to set limits when the intensity of the cravings went down.
You may have times when you feel well, and other times when your symptoms return. Recovery means different things to people. To some, it may mean you’re no longer having symptoms. To others, it means managing symptoms and getting control of your life.
Recovery is going to be different for each person because the experience and drug of choice is different in every case. You may want to ask yourself what a good, productive life would look like. Recovery can take a while and is hard work…if you slip up, just start again. Different treatments combined with individual coping skills take time, but it’s worth it!
Don’t give up, continue to discover what looks right for you. Recovery looks different for everyone.
At first, it’s hard
I felt sluggish, couldn’t think clearly, it took over 30 days to get a clear mind.
The going will be tough. Recovery is a hard process. You might feel all alone and that you’re fighting an uphill battle. Your head will be messed up, and you won’t be sure how you’re doing. Withdrawals may happen to you, depending on what you might have been using, with symptoms of shaking, sweating, feeling hopeless, and having troubling thoughts. As hard as that can be, you will learn other ways of living.
Relapse—or recurrence is a definite possibility. It happens when you return to using after you decide to quit. These cravings are out of your control. Your feelings will be all over the place, and you will begin to doubt yourself. It is very hard to start over and can feel like you’ve failed, but you haven’t. It’s part of the journey. Know that it will get easier.
An important step will be to identify and create habits that make you feel good in the very beginning and that help you recover. A great start is keeping a mental health journal, either paper or digital. Twenty minutes is all you need to process your feelings and work through issues that come up.
You will find balance
Gratitude, breaking out of isolation- the addiction was very isolating, and the recovery is about building connections with myself, others, and the spiritual. Self-care…that’s what I can do instead of the old behaviors.
The balance and moderation you strive for will happen if you stick with it. The process of changing behaviors and priorities doesn’t happen overnight. You can find balance by using different tools.
- Using can happen when you find a need to fill a void or face a need that’s not being met. Carry on until you can carry yourself.
- Get hope back in your life and get a feeling of control.
- Have self-compassion for yourself and keep moving forward.
- Try reframing your thoughts to help you sort out complicated feelings and feel better.
- Grounding techniques can stop you from spiraling and feeling distress. Try listening to a guided meditation or try “boxed breathing” where you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, and hold for 4 seconds.
You are learning to manage a lifelong mental health condition. It is possible to recover and heal when you stick with it.
You’ll need support
NA was helpful for me, knowing it was anonymous… knowing that no one in my circle was there.
You don’t need to do this alone! Even if you feel uncomfortable, the solution is asking for help. Isolating yourself might be your first thought, but it’s the wrong choice. You don’t want to be alone with your thoughts. And, you’re not always nice to yourself. Not asking for help with basic, real needs is what usually gets people into trouble with addiction in the first place.
Be around others who offer experience, strength and hope. Peer support can be useful in recovery. They have lived with similar experiences and you can identify with them. If you need help immediately, you can reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 or using the chat box at 988lifeline.org. You can also text “MHA” to 741-741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. Another option is medicated-assisted treatment (MAT), which helps stop the cravings.
It’s never too late to start your day over and begin fresh. Remember, recovery is not a straight path. You can help yourself to a better life and carve out your own journey. You can do it!