It is not difficult to understand that using drugs has a profound impact on your identity. You make different decisions under the influence of drugs than you do when you are sober, and you often neglect things you used to enjoy or in which you find great meaning. Once you embrace sobriety, part of your new reality is figuring out who you are without the drugs that have hijacked your identity.
That Empty Place
So much of drug use seems to be an attempt to fill an empty place inside yourself, that place that tells you there is something wrong, that your life is incomplete and needs more in order to be everything you want it to be. Sobriety will newly expose that empty place, but now you know that drugs are not the answer to filling that space, even if they are good at distracting you and making you forget it is there.
There are things that will help to fill the empty space. Spending some time figuring out what gives you joy is an important step you can take to find your new identity after the drugs leave your system. Many treatment programs incorporate the discovery of enjoyable activities through participation in various kinds of therapy, such as art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, and equine therapy.
There are many activities that may awaken or reawaken your passions and help you figure out your post-addiction identity, from cooking for your family to meaningful work to a hobby like attending a book club or hiking on local trails. Keeping a list of activities that you enjoy and want to do more will help you spend more time doing these things and lessen the temptation to return to drug use again.
It is a nice thought to believe that everything in your life will be positive once you get sober, but discouragement and negative emotions are part of everyone’s life at times. Learning how to handle negative and discouraging situations without drugs is as important a part of discovering your identity as the positive and joyful activities are.
Part of your identity during sobriety needs to be learning new coping skills and ways to turn discouragement around so that you can overcome it. You may be able to distract yourself with a more enjoyable activity, remind yourself that you will not feel discouraged all the time, or talk with a trusted friend or counselor about strategies you can use to refocus.
If you need help to discover your identity in recovery, the staff at The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake can help by providing Colorado addiction treatment resources including inpatient, outpatient, and aftercare services. Contact us to discuss your options today!