Recovery from substance addiction is not just hard work; it’s also an arduous and sometimes confusing journey to find out who you are. If you have lived under the influence of drugs and alcohol for years, you may have lost touch with your true self. Entering detox treatment is the beginning of a self-discovery process that continues through treatment and recovery. You get to discover who you are when you’re not reliant on harmful substances. Therapists help you dig deep into your past to find the root of your addiction and get back to the person you were before it.
Addiction and the False Self
The false sense of self is often based on feelings of shame, disapproval, and rejection from events in your past. To cope with these emotions, you may create a false self, a kind of defense mechanism in your mind to justify your worth. People who struggle with addiction may create a false self to hide the severity of their problem, or the severity of their problem may produce an alternate version of yourself that sober you might not even recognize. In other words, addiction may play into your fabricated persona and vise versa.
Substance abuse is a highly complex disease that affects your body and mind. Many people develop an addiction to cope with traumatic experiences, stress, anxiety, or depression. The root causes of addiction almost always have to do with your personal history and genetics. These things all play into a false sense of self.
Rediscovering Who You Are
If addiction is a way to escape the pain in life, recovery is a time to look inward and revisit those painful memories. Doing so allows you to work through difficult times in your life and find closure. This can seem daunting for anyone, but the results are always worth the effort. During treatment, you might experience flashbacks of the past or new ways of seeing past behaviors. As you rediscover the new you, you get to learn to make choices that affect you and those around you more positively.
Find activities that allow you to slowly and carefully process your thoughts and feelings. Meditation is one such activity. Journaling is a good tool to help you reflect on what recovery means to you and who you want to be. It brings self-awareness to words. Journaling down your thoughts slows the racing ideas in your mind and allows you to have a moment with each of them. You can record your mental state as it improves or suffers challenges. You can write about the person you aspire to be.
You can also explore hidden or long forgotten gifts by joining art therapy sessions. It might be that past trauma and addiction have robbed you of the opportunity to realize some potential you have. Any activity that has a creative process can help externalize emotions and focus on moment-by-moment tasks. Creative activities also allow for freedom of expression to discover hidden parts of yourself.
Self-Awareness and Humility
Gaining self-awareness allows you to see your strengths and weaknesses. When you are aware of these things, you can get help where you need it and be of help to others in areas where you feel solid. This also lets you find career and hobby opportunities that take advantage of things you’re good at and enjoy. While self-awareness recognizes things you’re good at, it’s important to balance those strengths with humility.
Humility is essential in the 12-step method. It requires a secure self-image, kindness towards oneself, and emotional maturity even when facing one’s inner demons, things which are likely absent in someone who has been under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Humility is essential for recovery and a healthy lifestyle. It heals the false pride of ego and provides courage to show vulnerability. Without humility, an addicted person can be stuck in denial. Humility connects you to your true self with both strengths and weaknesses. It can be liberating because you no longer need to live in self-imposed isolation.
Honesty and Long-Term Recovery
Humility is based on honesty, which can be an indicator of your long-term success in recovery. An honest person in recovery has tasted the failure of dishonesty to oneself and loved ones. Dishonesty simply does not get you anywhere. Long-term recovery depends on continued honesty, being open to your emotions, being present in your pains, and being committed to ongoing therapy and treatment.
Honesty keeps relapses at bay. Mental and emotional relapses usually occur before physical relapses. These processes in your mind and emotions often involve dishonesty about your abilities and how well you’re coping with new changes. Honesty allows you to build up accountability structures around you, instead of self-isolating. If you let honesty become a guiding principle for rediscovering yourself, you’re sure to become someone you are happy with and will be glad to share with others.
Have you taken a moment to examine yourself and who are you on the journey of recovery from substance addiction? Your self-awareness and the connectedness to your true self are a core measurement of mental wellbeing. Maybe the whole experience of recovery is calling you to self-reflection and redefining who you are. You need to set time for self-care and self-connection. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our licensed mental healthcare professionals and therapists know how to coach you in techniques that best serve this purpose. Our inpatient and outpatient programs address a range of mental health issues that might be confusing to go through during your strive for sobriety. In doing so, you can discover who you want to be as a recovered person. If you or a loved one is struggling through addiction, getting help is the first step towards restoration. You can make use of our professional diagnosis, behavioral therapies, 12-step programs, and custom-made treatment plans. Call (866) 906-3203.