By Carly Benson
When most people hear the word sobriety, they think of someone who abstains from alcohol and drugs. However, being sober also means that they are living in recovery from substances.
While recovery and sobriety have similarities, recovery goes way beyond abstaining from alcohol or drugs. Recovery is a process of finding yourself without the need for substances. There are many facets of recovery that help people grow, find peace and figure out who they truly are at their core before they developed addictive coping strategies.
A sustainable recovery path is rooted in a deep foundation of becoming a truer version of yourself through practices of self-care, personal development and building important relationships with others. The importance of finding yourself in recovery is paramount, and there are many ways to help you along on this journey of discovery.
When a person decides to walk away from substances and enter into a life of recovery, it almost always begins with some sort of motivation, whether it’s the desire to get healthy or save a family or a fear of their addiction. The initial motivation is great; however, it tends to wear off after time. That’s why it is important to connect with goals and motivations that extend beyond that.
Developing a strong personal integrity with goals and a determined focus for the future is key. This means you begin living from intention instead of habit, and you create a pathway for sustaining that motivation every day. Hiring a personal trainer, starting a yoga practice or joining a gym are all great ways to stay motivated to live a healthy and substance-free lifestyle.
The crux of all addiction is a desire to numb our feelings. But self-medicating with substances is not the way to cultivate emotional intelligence inside of yourself. In recovery, learning new ways to sit in the discomfort of your feelings — even the messy ones – is crucial. Developing healthy coping strategies, such as breathe work, meditation or journaling, can help you process through your emotions.
Relationship With Self
After living a life of addiction of any kind, people are filled with shame, guilt, regret and remorse for their decisions and the consequences they have faced as a result of those choices. Finding peace, forgiveness, acceptance and compassion for yourself will be some of your greatest work.
Getting to Know Yourself After Addiction
This is the fun part of recovery where you get to play and experiment with new hobbies and passions. The amazing thing about recovery is you have a lot of free time now that you are hangover- and withdrawal-free. You get to fill the space with new activities, such as going for walks, creating art, hiking, biking or being in nature. As you step into this process, you become so much more aware of who you are and what you do and don’t like.
Connection in Your Relationships
Another piece of the puzzle as it relates to finding yourself in recovery is learning how to foster true connections in your relationships with others. This often includes repairing damaged relationships and letting go of some that are not a fit for your new lifestyle. It also entails rediscovering how to be more authentic, keep your word and actively listen — challenges most people coming off an active addiction struggle with.
Once you find yourself and have solid ground in your recovery, you can move into the beautiful gifts of being of service to others and sharing your newfound wisdom.
As an avid traveler, yogi & confessed self-help junkie, Carly Benson writes about her adventures in life & sobriety on Miracles Are Brewing, where she offers inspirational concepts & coaching for recovery, faith & living an intentional life.