Three Important Truths of Sobriety

Three Important Truths of SobrietyAnyone who is walking the road to sobriety will tell you that there are hundreds of little lessons to learn. Some lessons are applicable to everyone equally, like you will struggle if you continue to stay around friends who abuse substances. Other lessons are personal, like you should walk down Third Avenue instead of Seventh Street if you want to limit your risk of getting a drink. But there are also truths that are foundational, that everybody choosing the sober lifestyle must accept. If you do not come to grips with these truths, then you will not be successful.

Sobriety Does Not Suddenly Become Easy at Some Point

It would be wonderful if the desire to abuse substances dissipated slowly over time, and at some point disappeared altogether. Then, all a person would have to do is survive those six months, nine months, whatever that definitive timeline would be, and then the draw would be gone. But, as you likely already know, this is not the case. Indeed, this explains the relapse rates of 40% to 60%[1] for those with a drug addiction.

Rather than viewing sobriety as a state of being, it is much more helpful to view it as the outcome of a successful management strategy of a chronic illness. Consider for example the way a diabetic would view maintenance of their blood sugar levels. Being able to avoid a crisis and maintain a healthy blood sugar level is not so much a reason to celebrate, as it is an expected outcome from a healthy life built on healthy decisions.

While in a treatment program, you will gain a number of skills that will allow you to make healthy choices in relation to substance abuse. If you can learn to view these skills as necessities, rather than optional components of your life, then you will be better able to lessen the strain of staying sober. While the draw does dissipate somewhat over time, there will always be moments where you feel the need to use again. It is in those moments that you have to lean into your training, and make the healthy choice to avoid relapse.

You are Building a Better Life

Because sobriety can be so difficult to maintain, particularly in the early stages of recovery, it is vital to keep a clear picture of a better future in the forefront of your mind. Each day you choose to stay sober, you put another brick on the house you are building, and this house will eventually be representative of a better life.

In the short term, it might not feel as though you are building a better life at all. Your friends who you used with may abandon you. Your family may not believe that you are actually trying to get your life back on track, or they could just choose not to be involved anyway. These moments are painful, and you have to face them head on. You cannot pretend that they do not hurt, or that the road is not difficult.

But at the same time, you can make a choice to think forward to your future. In the future, your decisions will be fully your own, rather than by an addiction. You will have friends and family around you who love and admire all of you, rather than wondering if you are going to relapse again. You will be a stronger person as well. You will know what it means to accomplish something incredibly difficult, and come out of the other side victorious. You will be able to share your wisdom with others. In short, the journey is a challenging one, but it is most definitely worth the effort.

It is Possible for Anyone to Walk the Path to Sobriety

Breaking the pattern of substance abuse is not only for the strong. It is not just the motivated who are able to rebuild a life on a new foundation free from addiction. There is not some genetic precursor that destines some to freedom, while others toil and struggle through the ups and downs of an addiction permanently.

No, sobriety is available to everyone. The tools and processes that have been clinically proven to work do not discriminate. Certainly, there is a sense of stubbornness that is needed for treatment to be effective in the long term because sobriety is difficult. But this is not a super power; it is a decision, founded on a supportive community and skilled professionals that results in a life change. But you must make that decision for yourself.

If this is where you are right now, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about addiction. They can help you find your way.


 

[1] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery, “Treatment and Recovery,” accessed February 19, 2016