Addiction treatment centers are invaluable in helping drug users get clean, but the road to recovery continues for life. Counselors, therapists and friends are always available to help former users maintain their sobriety, but one of the most empowering aspects of kicking a drug habit is a renewed sense of individuality. While a strong support network is necessary for anyone going through recovery, a new activity or calling can help construct a new life for someone who had previously been focused on drugs. Whether this new activity eventually becomes a future career or remains an engrossing hobby, moving on from a past addiction is a critical component of the recovery process.
Factors that lead to addiction can be varied and difficult to identify. Even in recovery, the reason for substance abuse may remain undefinable to most people. However, one of the most helpful facets of recovery programs is an honest and renewed sense of accountability, which can be extremely cathartic.
Addiction Recovery Guide recommended a creative outlet as a means to process the emotions of a former drug user going through recovery. Even for those without any former experience, codifying experiences through art, drama or music can illuminate facts about the self that were previously hidden. Poetry and creative writing, even done privately in a personal journal, can help former substance abusers reflect on the choices that they have made. Once the reasoning behind those choices becomes clear, former users may be less likely to make them again.
Addiction is a physical condition that rewires processes within the brain. Why not get equally physical to push the brain toward conquering another goal instead? Exercise or an old favorite sport can replace the effects of a drug with the rush of natural endorphins the brain releases with strenuous exercise.
CNN reported on Scott Strode and his Denver-based Phoenix Multisport training facility for former drug users looking for a different way to channel their energies during recovery. Open to any former user at least 48 hours sober, Strode’s program features long-distance bike rides, rock climbing and weight lifting, among other outdoor excursions.
“Life should be better once you get sober,” Strode told CNN. “[Phoenix Multisport] helps people build a new life, a new self-image and have fun without getting high.”
Strode has attracted more than 4,700 people to his program since founding it in 2007. Most new members have struggled with drugs and alcohol in the past, but have since chosen an active lifestyle as their new identity once they left their addictions behind them. Former users do not have to be Olympic athletes to try a new sport or physical activity, they just need the motivation to keep at it.
Some experts believe that recovery is not a point that former users reach in which they find that they no longer desire drugs or alcohol, but is instead a continuing fight to become healthier every day. Just as substance abuse programs can help users get clean as patients, counselors may benefit from the work as well.
The Richmond Times Dispatch reported on Maurice Morgan, a former crack user who runs a group home and is looking to open a housing complex where former substance abusers can learn life skills to help them become more self-sufficient in the future.
Helping others on their road to recovery can be an immensely rewarding activity for many people, especially other users who have gone down that road before. Sharing experiences of drug use and ensuring that others are sticking to recovery plans can help with one’s own sobriety. Moreover, keeping the struggles of addiction in mind can prove to be a successful deterrent against possible relapse.