How to Regain Control of Your Life after Addiction
In the early days of sobriety after you’ve beat addiction, it’s easy to feel like your life is spinning out of control. All the things that were covered up in a drug or alcohol induced haze quickly resurface in a sober mind. While life when one was addicted was no doubt out of control, becoming sober can make one feel like they’re spinning on a dizzy edge.
Regaining control over your life after you’ve overcome addiction can be hard, but it’s not impossible. Knowing how to cope with the wide range of emotions sobriety can trigger is important, as is changing the environment in which you put yourself. Knowing what to do to regain control is one of the first steps to living at peace with your decision to overcome addiction.
4 Ways to Gain Control of Your Life
1. Don’t Make Big Changes Right Away
The first year or so after you’ve become sober is going to be a whirlwind of emotion and change. The emotional rollercoaster experienced during the first few months of sobriety can make it really easy to make decisions that are emotion based. Starting a new relationship or ending an existing one can send one spiraling out of control. The same can be said for living situations and jobs.
In the first tentative months when becoming accustom to sobriety it’s best to try and stay comfortable where you’re at without making a bunch of big changes. Don’t move halfway across the country just because you’re not happy where you’re at. Waiting to make any big changes will keep you in control of your life in the present moment. Doing otherwise can truly be a recipe for disaster and send one quickly into relapse.
2. Learn to Live in the Present Moment
It’s really, really easy to get caught up in the raw emotions that often surface in the newly sober mind. Many people, addicts and otherwise, tend to get caught up in memories of the past and live in a state of anxiety worrying about the future. This can be especially true for the recovering addict who often faces deep regret for the choices made while in an addicted state.
Past mistakes can come back to haunt recovering addicts, sending them spiraling into depression that can feel impossible to get out of. The fear of facing an uncertain future is also often too much to bear, causing intense anxiety and apprehension. Learning to live in the present moment while keeping yourself aware of the bigger picture sobriety offers will help to keep you grounded and in more control of the events that transpire in your life.
3. Change your Environment
While changing your environment might seem to contradict the first step on this list, making small changes to your life will help you regain the control you feel you’ve lost. While you shouldn’t necessarily move to another state, setting down away from where your life as an addict took place is an excellent way to help you gain control of your newly sober life. If you don’t have the means to leave, make sure not to hang out with people you used to use with and stay far away from the spots you once frequented.
Changing your environment doesn’t have to be drastic, but should be done to make sure you’re not surrounded by the same activities, places, and people you were when using drugs or alcohol. Your thoughts and emotions are going to change dramatically as you ease into a life of sobriety, and changing your old environment makes it easier to navigate what now makes comfortable in your own skin.
4. Connect with Others
It’s pretty difficult to feel like you’re in control of your life when you don’t have anyone to talk to. There is nothing more like feeling alone to make you feel like your life is spinning out of control. We all need connection, especially those living a newly sober lifestyle.
Finding others to connect with during the first few months (and beyond) of sobriety can truly help you gain control when you feel you’re losing it the most. Whether through group sessions or individual counseling, connecting with others is vital. In order to feel in control, it’s often easier when we see that others have gone through similar feelings.
Another way to connect with others and feel in control of your life is by joining activities that interest you. Take a class. Learn to play an instrument. Volunteer at the local animal shelter. Whatever you do, just do something positive that allows you to connect with other people who share your same interests.
Regaining control of your life after battling addiction is not going to be easy. But it is assuredly worth every effort made on your part. With a strong will to stay sober and the strength to stay far away from an old life that could quickly come back to haunt you, regaining control of your life will soon show you the (sober) life filled with meaning you’ve been searching for.