The journey away from drug and alcohol addiction to recovery is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. As recovering addicts, we get to build lives we are proud of, heal relationships with our friends and family, make our dreams become a reality and live to our full potential. It isn’t a lie when other addicts in recovery tell us that there are many gifts along the way, but we have to work hard to get them. Your suitcase should contain these 10 essentials items for your journey of becoming free from addiction
1. Open-mindedness: When we are new to recovery, others are going to give us suggestions and advice that makes no sense at all! The good news, the longer you stay the clean, the more you understand. Remain open-minded as you learn about ways to cope, take accountability and make better informed decisions.
2. Honesty: We spent years in our active addiction lying, even when the truth would work. This became a basic survival technique that we depended on daily. As we get clean and start to rebuild relationships, it is important that we start to tell the truth, no matter how hard it is. We are not required to confess every little detail, but people become more willing to trust us when they know we are honest and reliable. The day you realize your family and loved ones trust you again, is one of the best gifts in your recovery. Work hard to attain it from the start.
3. Hope: Getting clean is not the easiest thing to do. It takes time, grit, determination, perseverance and some elbow grease. It is important as recovering addicts that we remind ourselves there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A light we are getting closer to every day we stay clean and sober. Every time we take a moment to solve a problem or work on ourselves, we are taking a chance that recovery works. Trust it!
4. Vulnerability: K, put on the breaks! I know, they want us to talk about our feelings…. This can be hard for anyone but is especially difficult for the newly recovering addict. We have spent so much time seeking to numb these feelings. Feeling like guilt, shame, inadequacy, sadness, and many, many more. The more you ask for help and talk about those thunder clouds of thoughts swirling around in your head, the more power you take away from them. Remember, there is always a loving team of people out there that want you to succeed. All you have to do is start talking.
5. Trust: There are going to be days it just doesn’t seem like anything is changing, the people you are around are all fake and the program you have chosen doesn’t feel like it will work. Take a deep breath and remember, the more trust, you the more you’ll gain. Trust that things are changing, that your support group loves you and the program is designed with your best interests in mind.
6. Integrity: When you make a commitment, show up! Think back to your active drug and alcohol use. Were there times you missed appointments, missed events with family and friends, missed work? This is common in addiction because your drug of choice is controlling your schedule. Once you get clean, you have freedom, however, with this comes responsibly. A goal in of our recovery is to change our old behaviours and actions. We want to show those around us, we can be reliable and on-time.
7. Self-care: Recovery can get exhausting, mundane and sometimes straight up confusing. It is important to remember that you started recovery, so you can be the best version of yourself possible. Taking a few moments a day to do an enjoyable activity, get a fresh haircut, or a couple hours on the weekend to go for a hike. Taking time for you one of the best things you can do for yourself. You will find that you are recharged, rested and ready to keep going.
8. Connection: Drug and Alcohol addiction is a lonely place. We spent countless hours by ourselves, trying everything we could to survive. Once you get into recovery, you never have to be alone again! Connect with other people in recovery who will understand and empathize with your situation. Listen to how they have overcome the same obstacles and try to practise those in your life. At the end of the day, no matter how long someone has been in recovery, we are all addicts trying our best to create a new life.
9. Courage: We won’t gas light you; you are going to be faced with difficult situations, people and decisions. It is going to take stepping outside of your comfort zone many times in order to learn how to stay clean. Just remember, you’ll survive, and we learn best from our mistakes. We need to take the risk in order to learn though. Don’t be afraid of trying something different. The results will shock you!
10. Compassion & Forgiveness: Who do you think the one person who deserves this the most? You! Yes, we made bad decisions and harmed many people in our addiction, but that is not the sum of who we are. Practice self-compassions and self-forgiveness from day one. When we practise this, we find it easier to feel it for other people too.
There are many tools that you can use on a daily basis to help you along your journey and the above list just scratches the surface. Recovery is a life-long process and the essentials in our suitcase change with the problems we encounter and the solutions we put into place. Always remember, that you deserve this trip and that we do recover!
Alumni of the Together We Can program are encouraged to access our after-care programming like the Alumni Group. Participants can join our private Facebook group, attend the weekly meeting and share your hope with the newcomer.
TWC believes a strong support group and connection are one the key elements to long-term sobriety. If you are struggling with addition and want to learn more about treatment, please reach out to us today.