How to rebuild your life after addiction: How to Regain Trust
Getting rid of your addiction is only half the way to your new sober existence. You’ll also have to maintain that sobriety and rebuild your life after addiction to reflect your new self. In addition, you’ll need to repair what was damaged by the addiction, and it’s never easy.
Addiction (be that alcohol or drug abuse) is a very disruptive force. Addiction prevents you from acting rationally, both in anticipation of the craved substance and especially after you’ve satisfied the needs of addiction. Certainly, it impairs your perception and makes you behave like you wouldn’t otherwise.
Yet, when you quit and start acting with more reason, the damage has already been done to you, your health, family, and job. You can still, though, return to normal if you adhere to several very important rules.
Maintaining the sobriety
Quitting alcohol, drugs or other addictive substances is a challenge in itself, but you should also maintain what sobriety you achieved and not back up on your decision. If you indulge yourself even once, you’ll fall back into this rabbit hole again, and that’s what’s so dangerous about it.
Refusing to indulge in substances is not just a matter of having a strong or weak will. There are several aspects that make getting free from addiction so much harder:
- Chemical processes. Alcohol acts as a stimulus for your brain to release dopamine, a hormone of contentment. When you quit drinking, you don’t just lose what contentment you’ve found, but also lose some more, as the brain expects more stimulus to arrive and gets irritated when it doesn’t.
- Coping mechanisms. Alcohol (or drugs) occupies a niche in your life responsible for coping with your problems. Forgetting them and being blissfully ignorant when they still exist is not very healthy, but not having anything else that might distract you is what pushes you back to addiction.
- Lack of hobbies. Same as the lack of coping mechanisms – unless you have something you’re passionate about, what lets you spend time away from booze, you’ll be dragged back into drinking. And the problem is, many drinkers simply don’t have many passionate hobbies besides drinking.
These are just a few of them. In order to successfully battle the desire to return to the old ways, you’ll have to resolve as many of the addiction-related issues as possible. This is actually what sober houses are for.
A good start would be to sign up for sober house therapy. It’s not something medicinal – good sober houses are there to distract you from your addiction and repair the unhealthy aspects of your life that pushed you to drink in the first place.
The therapy generally includes several main activities:
- Group conversations. They do not just allow you to let off some steam, but to receive support from people who understand what you’re going through. Support is very essential. It’s what makes returning to normal life bearable.
- Hobbies. Sober houses generally provide you with a variety of hobbies that you may become passionate about. It helps not only learn valuable skills to perhaps get back on the stable footing, but also distract you and replace your usual drinking hours with something more productive.
- Escaping from grayness. In some cases, such institutions allow you to escape from the misery of your initial alcohol-free life. Some houses are located in natural environments exactly for this reason.
You don’t have to enlist into a sober house if you don’t want to, but well-organized sober houses are very effective at providing a collective effort of battling not just the addiction, but also the desire to return to it.
It’s important to remove the last of your addictive habits in your efforts of rebuilding your life after addiction.
Rebuilding your relationships
It may feel too imposing or pretentious, but in order to improve your addiction-damaged relationships with family and friends, you’ll have to stay positive. It’s not very easy, considering that you’ll be recovering from a long-time addiction and probably depression, but that’s essential.
There’s no reason to dwell on your past misbehavior or be frustrated at the possible disbelief from your family or friends. You do need support, and you’ll have to make it clear you’re recovering and there’s no going back.
It’s important to note: you need to be genuinely desiring to change. It’s not just to persuade your family that you’re improving but also to fully understand the mistakes of your past. Without it, you can’t overcome the addiction completely.
In the end, actively rebuilding your life after addiction by being positive, refraining from substances completely, and creating new bonds and healthy experiences with people close to you is also going to help you recover quicker. Your mental state is going to improve simply by trying to be better.
Rebuilding your career
Rebuilding your career is arguably harder than improving your relationships. In this case, your reputation is at stake. Depending on how much you drank (or abused other substances) and how much your addiction affected your working hours, the difficulty may vary.
It’s not uncommon to even lose a job over drinking. However, whether you want to find a new job or improve your career, you’ll have to work harder and make the right impression.
The main source of difficulty is that you’ll have to work long to build this new reputation. Breaking free from addiction and working hard to remove the last traces of it will improve your career, both by becoming more responsible and by improving your health. This, in turn, will lead to better wages, a sense of fulfillment, and more.
This, however, is only an easy level. If your addiction has gone out of control, took, or significantly affected your job, you’ll likely have to build from zero. It’s a very hard path, and it needs dedication and motivation.
It’s not impossible, however, you’ll only have to use your skills and talent and go forward relentlessly in hopes of rebuilding your life after addiction. Sooner or later, you’ll see that your efforts bore fruit.