In my article The Top Reason Most Drug Addicts Never get Clean, I stated that the number one reason most substance abusers don’t stay clean long-term is because they haven’t changed their identity. Most of them still see themselves as “addicts who are trying to stay clean.”
I believe if they change their identity to “people that used to abuse substances, have changed, and would never even think of using them again”, it could radically benefit their efforts of escaping addiction long-term.
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Sobriety Brings too many Responsibilities
The second reason most drug addicts never stay clean is because sobriety comes with too many things to worry about. In true addiction, the addict puts their drug of choice above everything else in their life. Procuring and using the substance is always at the forefront of their mind.Therefore, they don’t seem to worry about anything else, just getting more of the substance.
Sobriety is inherently difficult for them because along with it comes too many things to focus on. I remember when I used to be addicted to opiates, all I worried about was getting more pills or heroin. I could have been homeless and living off peanut butter sandwiches and still been OK as long as I had a steady supply of opiates in my system.
After I quit drugs, all of a sudden I had to focus on so many things it made my head spin! Here’s a small preview of some of the common concerns the individual new to sobriety might have to focus on: getting a job, keeping a job, eating three meals a day, brushing your teeth, dealing with emotions, being a good parent, being a good romantic partner, getting good grades, wearing clean clothes, taking vitamins, paying bills, supporting your family, moving out of your parents garage, getting a girlfriend, keeping a girlfriend, getting a boyfriend, keeping a boyfriend, going to the dentist, going to the doctor, making enough money to do fun things….the list goes on and on.
Most substance abusers get used to the life of addiction. Sure it’s hard, but only having to worry about one thing simplifies things. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that addiction is both hard and easy simultaneously; and sobriety also shares this quality. Here are three effective strategies for dealing with the chaos of sobriety…
1. Get Organized
Having to deal with life responsibilities can be extremely difficult, regardless of whether or not you’ve ever had an issue with drugs. For the individual new to recovery, this can easily lead to stress, and stress is a huge trigger for them to crave drugs. Getting organized can significantly reduce stress. Purchase a monthly planner and write out in detail all of the things you need to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Make a to-do list of everything that you must accomplish over the next month, starting with the most important things first.
2. Learn how to Relax Naturally
If you don’t have natural methods of chilling out, life can quickly become overwhelming. To help yourself relax, try things like: meditation, guided-visualization, tai chi, qigong, walking in nature, present-moment awareness, exercise, consuming healthy foods and dietary supplements that promote relaxation, eliminating or decreasing caffeine and sugar consumption, avoiding stressful or dramatic people, etc.
3. Start Writing in a Journal
I started keeping a journal about 18 months ago. Whenever I have thoughts swirling around in my mind that are driving me mad, I sit quietly with my journal and put those thoughts onto the paper. This gets it out of my head and helps me to organize and process the information in a healthy and efficient way. It’s kind of like free therapy!
Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself.” – Robin S. Sharma