What does the word “sobriety” mean to you? For most of us, it means to abstain from drugs and alcohol. For an addict, sobriety can mean so much more. Sober living is so much more than just living without depending on an addiction to allow then to function. It involves an entirely new way of looking at life.
This is part of why it’s so important to seek sobriety with the help of a professional staff. Many people don’t understand the level of change that’s truly involved in breaking the chains of addiction. It’s not just a matter of abstaining from drugs and alcohol. It’s about refocusing every aspect of your life, and trying to grow as a person independent of former coping skills.
Addiction is often the symptom of a much larger problem. Addicts suffer from a wide range of psychological issues, and physiological changes. Some of these issues can be the pre-curser to addiction, and some are a result of it. Some people are genetically predisposed to become addicted to drugs and alcohol, but never find themselves being triggered to use. Others deal with an extremely traumatic life event, and use drugs and alcohol to numb themselves. Unfortunately, this method of escape is only temporary. It prevents the addict from ever truly dealing with their problems, and creates a lifelong dependence of substances or addictive behaviors. Every time they come down from their high, they discover that the problems are still there- and worse in some cases.
The poor development of coping skills is a part of what causes many addicts to relapse. That, and their inability to make the necessary life changes to maintain their sobriety. Getting clean isn’t enough if you’re going right back into the same environment. You have to learn to live your life far from the drugs and addictive behaviors. Lessons like these are only part of the reason that it’s so important to seek out an addiction rehabilitation center.
Addicts tend to revolve their entire existences around staying close to their drug of choice. This means that they live near the dealers, steal or work as possible to supply their habits, and surround themselves with likeminded people. One of the first steps in sober living is to break ties with people that enabled the addiction. This can be heartbreaking for many, as it means the end of what they thought were close relationships. In all reality, after someone has become sober they rarely have much in common with these people anyway. Addicts use and manipulate other addicts to keep themselves supplied with what they need to feel normal. They also use people who allow them to. These people are often referred to as “enablers”, and they must stop helping the addict to continue using.
Getting away from the negative people and places is only the beginning. After physical sobriety is achieved, they will need to live in a safe sober living environment. These places are often provided by rehab facilities, and give the addict a place to start the transition back into the real world. The addict will need to understand the source of their addiction, and work with a therapist to heal the underlying problems. Recognizing these problems and these triggers can allow the addict to avoid them in the future. This is incredibly important to someone who is trying to begin their life free from whatever held them before.
Aftercare is extremely important, and addicts must also recognize their need to visit support groups and extended therapy. This is a lifelong process, but one that can return someone suffering from addiction back to the world stronger and smarter than before.