Sobriety is more than a series of choices; it is a mindset. Often we try to limit our idea of sobriety to one epistemology or another, not acknowledging how complex a process and a way of life it is. Sobriety is reflected in every area of our lives. Perhaps no one knows this better than someone who struggles to be sober and understands how different their entire being would have to become in order to be sober. Every substance abuser has their own process in discovering their sober identity, but here is some food for thought for developing one’s sobriety.
Spend time thinking about how to be purposeful instead of how to kill time. The first is the pattern of a sober person while the second is a pattern of a substance abuser. Only through sobriety can one be connected to their life’s ambitions and a sense of meaning in all that they do. Substance abuse numbs a person to their sense of purpose, clouding the meaning they find in different aspects of life, but sobriety gives a person the clarity they need to discover purpose in all that they do.
Similarly, it is best to focus on how to stay connected in life rather than how to escape life. Even in times of difficulty, when the temptation to escape into mind altering substances is extreme, one will ultimately find greater satisfaction and wholeness in staying mindful enough to process the components of their life. This does not mean that one cannot engage in fun, stress relieving activities. What it means is that one should not chemically switch their brain off in order to relax.
If you focus on how to bless the people in your life, rather than focus on getting what you want from them, you will find that sobriety will come more naturally to you. Being selfish instead of being a selfless part of a community breeds opportunities for substance abuse because it leads to an exaggerated sense of personal hardship by only looking out for one’s self. Being sober means being conscious of people around you, their needs, their feelings, their sensitivities, rather than only focusing on your own cravings and desires.
So many people want to reclaim their sobriety but feel that it is lost to them, as if sobriety is a mythical state of being. Though many people struggle with the quest for sobriety, the truth is, sobriety is quite a methodical thing to achieve. It will inevitably involve some discomfort, but no more than learning the ropes of a new job requires. Every person is capable of achieving sobriety if they are willing to trust and follow the tried and true steps toward sobriety.
It is a fact that the less an addictive substance is used, the less your body chemistry will expect it. Substance dependence and substance abuse are two different things, but they are closely related. Essentially, any substance that gives its user feelings of pleasure can be abused and can in turn become addictive. But the influence the substance has over its user is relative to how heavily they are using it. This may seem like a vicious cycle, but it is actually good news because it means a person can reduce their substance cravings over time. In a nutshell, here’s how to separate from a substance you abuse:
Take action to physically separate yourself from the substance by any means necessary, even if it means checking yourself into a rehab.
Fill your schedule with healthy hobbies and tasks that do not involve the substance. Hobbies and tasks that actively encourage you to separate from the substance are even better.
If you unexpectedly encounter the substance, take action to get away from it quickly and then methodically invite distraction from the substance into your realm of experience. Choose a healthy activity, preferably involving someone supportive who can hold you accountable.
Continue these steps indefinitely and observe your craving for the substance diminishing. If you find yourself struggling or relapsing in any of these areas, seek professional help from counselors or substance abuse specialists.
Substance abuse may start off gradually, but it takes no time at all for it to become out of control. What started as a few drinks on the weekend or smoking weed socially starts to turn into daily usage that often results in binge using. Through this process, substance abuse can quickly become a prison, controlling a person’s life and wreaking havoc on their mental health. Denying the problem and believing your own lies that you are in control only prolongs the substance abuse and puts you at an increased risk of wrecking your life.
Substance abuse and addiction are not the same thing, but they are closely related. Any substance that gives a person feelings of pleasure can become abused or addictive. If a person is habitually abusing a substance, they have become too reliant on it, even if they have not become physically dependent on it, which indicates addiction. All it takes to qualify a case of substance abuse is the individual being unable to control their appetite for the effect the substance has on them.
Over time, the substance begins to turn on them, affecting their moods, their decision making, their relationships and their reputation. They may even face being let go from a job, losing relationships and deteriorated health. But what keeps a person returning to the substance they abuse is their memory of how euphoric it originally made them feel. Even as the feeling of euphoria becomes ruined by the person’s growing awareness of their own self destruction, they will continue to seek the original high they felt from the substance.
They only way out of this vicious cycle is help, either personally motivated self help or the help of a substance abuse expert, such as a counselor or a rehabilitation specialist. Substance abuse can be consuming but a person’s determination to quit is capable of overpowering it. Do not give up hope!