Addiction can easily make a person question everything about him or herself. The individual struggling with substance abuse could see personal relationships deteriorate, family ties weaken and fall apart, lose a job, and he or she could eventually lose sight of what is most important in his or her life within the haze of addiction.
Substance abuse treatment revolves around confronting the underlying causes of addiction, developing new coping techniques for handling stress and avoiding triggers that encourage substance abuse. Everyone in rehab experiences a great deal of introspection; this is a necessary step in recovery. A person struggling with an addiction may need time to process his or her feelings and past actions to come to terms with the present situation, and this can be a somewhat traumatic but ultimately constructive experience. With sobriety comes clarity, and an individual in rehab will need to confront some of the darkest parts of him or herself to move past addiction and find a new purpose in life.
Some people seek treatment before their substance abuse disorders reach critical levels and others are not so lucky. Some people hit rock-bottom before they acknowledge the need for change. At this point, an individual’s life may be in complete ruins, with damaged relationships, a destroyed career, mounting financial issues, and even medical complications from prolonged substance abuse.
Rehab can essentially function as a “reset button” for these individuals. Substance abuse may have destroyed an individual’s life, but this does not mean he or she has no hope. During rehab, the individual learns new strategies for handling life’s challenges without substance abuse. This is a difficult process involving significant growth and a desire to change. It is this process that often leads people in rehab to discover a new purpose in life.
During rehab, patients often interact with others on their own recovery journeys. Group counseling is a common facet of most substance abuse treatment plans, but group dynamics are much more valuable than simply providing a platform to share stories and inspiration. Group work can help an individual see addiction from a new perspective and perhaps gain a better understanding of how his or her actions have affected others and damaged parts of his or her life forever. This is a necessary step in recovery; anyone undergoing substance abuse treatment must confront the damage done by addiction and work toward repairing it or moving past it and building something new.
One of the greatest challenges of the rehab experience is finishing rehab and returning to normal life. The shock of this adjustment unfortunately causes many people to relapse right back into addiction, and this is a somewhat expected result. Very few people overcome addiction completely and permanently after their first rehab experiences. It often takes several attempts to fully recover from substance abuse, and rehab helps patients learn coping strategies to handle the stress and pressure of the “real” world after rehab.
Discovering purpose and/or passion in life is a different journey for every person. You may enter rehab unconvinced the treatment will work and resign yourself to a life of failure and addiction only to discover aspects of yourself you did not realize before, encouraging you to explore what else you can do. The thrill of finally overcoming substance abuse often encourages those who reach this milestone to share their experiences with others and try to affect real change in the lives of those facing similar struggles.
Making amends is a crucial step in many Twelve-Step programs, but doing so should be a goal of anyone who makes it through rehab. Think carefully about how your substance abuse has affected others and take steps to repair the damage. Making amends could include repaying borrowed or stolen money or property or simply having an honest conversation with someone you hurt in the past, taking responsibility for your actions and making a commitment to do better in the future.
Many people who make it through rehab learn that they cannot spend time with old friends who may be bad influences. If certain people from your past pose a threat to your sobriety, it is best to let those connections fade away and start building new relationships, making new friends, and building a new social life around your sobriety.
Rehab can expose people struggling with substance abuse to new ways to relax and self-express in healthy ways. If you finished rehab and have no idea what to do next, think about the things you have always wanted to do but never did due to your substance abuse issue. You may find that the strength and determination gained during recovery have formed a foundation on which you can build however you choose.
Addiction is isolating, and recovery is all about rebuilding personal connections. Consider sharing the story of your recovery with others struggling with addiction. A large number of people who complete rehab take their lessons learned and look for ways to pay it forward and help others overcome their addictions.
You are not your addiction; you are the sum total of your choices. Rehab can teach you how to make better decisions and handle the stresses of daily life in more constructive ways, but it is ultimately up to you to apply those lessons and forge a healthier future. Consider rehab as taking the first step toward a whole new life of your own making.
CEO, Founder of Bright Future Recovery
Knowledgeable. Passionate. Relentless. Inspirational. These are just some of the words that would describe Bright Future Recovery Center’s Founder and CEO Cheree Ashley. But there is so much more. To know Cheree is to embrace all that she experienced in her life. Instead of allowing adversity to curtail personal vision and success, she used it to catapult her forward and thrive. This is the essence of what she holds dear and wants to help others achieve the same sense of achievement.
As a Certified Intervention Professional, Registered Addiction Specialist, Medication Assisted Treatment Counselor, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Certified Addiction Specialist, Cheree is sought after by her peers for her deep understanding of the nature of addiction. She travels throughout the country as a public speaker and educator.