When you make the decision to seek treatment for a drug or alcohol problem, you are taking a big step toward leaving your old life behind and starting a new healthier one where you will have the opportunity to become the best version of yourself. This process can seem intimidating and emotional, but this departure is necessary in order for you to move forward. During this departure, you'll learn how to let go of the past and start making the most out of the present. You'll also learn how to forgive yourself for your mistakes and begin the healing process. Don't be intimidated – this will likely be one of the most fulfilling periods of your life.
Letting Go of the Past
One of the most difficult aspects of beginning your recovery journey is learning to let go of the past. Yes, you may have done things you regret that you can't take back. You may have hurt people and strained some of your relationships. It's easy to dwell upon negative things from the past, but this is a dangerous and unproductive practice. It leads to self-pity, depression, and negative thought patterns, and it holds you back from making the most of the present. You can't change the past; you can only learn from it. So, take the time you need to grieve your past and then make a point to close that chapter of your life.
This next chapter will be a much more fruitful one. Some people find it helpful to write a farewell letter to their past selves. This practice can help you process your emotions and truly depart from your old life.
Learning to Be Present
Part of the departure process is learning to be present in the stage of life that you're in now. A huge aspect of substance use involves detachment. People turn to drugs or alcohol because they want to escape their lives, their problems, and any negative emotions that they don't want to deal with anymore. However, when you're in recovery, you have no choice but to learn how to be fully present. While this may seem intimidating, it can actually help you instill a greater sense of appreciation as you acknowledge how far you've come and all the good things you have to appreciate in life, many of which you may have overlooked in the past.
Yoga and other forms of meditation are great tools for helping to learn to be present because they help ground you and allow you to be better in tune with your surroundings and how you're feeling. It can also help to do some journaling or practice breathing exercises.
Another aspect of learning to be present involves focusing on gratitude. Gratitude allows us to focus on what we have instead of what we don't. It also keeps us from looking into the past. Gratitude can lead to better mental health and a greater sense of joy and fulfillment overall. If gratitude isn't something that comes naturally to you, that's okay. You can make gratitude more of a habit by keeping a gratitude journal. Every day when you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed at night, write down three things that you're grateful for. They can be as specific as you want. There may be days when it is harder than usual to think of things you're grateful for, but over time, this will become more of a habit, and you'll find yourself practicing gratitude without even trying.
Focus On Your Goals
Now that you're in recovery, you're equipped to build the life of your dreams. There's nothing holding you back from becoming the person you've always wanted to be. Take the time to think about some goals for yourself that may have been put on the back burner or seemed impossible when you were still engaging in active use. Write these goals down and come up with a list of concrete steps you are going to follow in order to accomplish them. Some examples could be:
- Going back to school to get your degree
- Learning a new skill or hobby
- Starting a family
- Buying a house
- Pay off your debt
- Travel to somewhere you've always dreamed of going
- Get back into shape
- Train for and then run a marathon
- Start your own business or non-profit organization
- Sign up for an art class
No matter your goal, don't give up on it and don't be afraid to dream big. You may find you're much more capable than you ever realized.
Seeking treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD) is life-altering as you depart from your old life and start a new chapter where you can finally start becoming the best version of yourself. This process can seem very intimidating and emotional at times but can also be very empowering and fulfilling. It involves learning to stop dwelling on past mistakes and live in the present. It involves practicing gratitude and learning to acknowledge the small joys of life that you overlooked before. It also involves learning to set goals for yourself and working toward bettering your future. If you or another woman you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, our team at The Ho Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today to learn more about the different types of services that we provide, and we'll be happy to answer your questions.