What Recovering Addicts Say
Many people who are recovering from Alcohol Abuse Disorder (AUD) suggest that people who don’t know what it’s like to be addicted to alcohol can’t really help people suffering from addiction. There is something to be said for the belief that, as they say, “It takes one to know one.” With that in mind, let’s hear from some people recovering from AUD.
What is the Experience of AUD?
One person claims that “Drinking wasn’t the problem, as far as I could see. It was the solution. It was the cleansing release that never seemed to come from on high.” In other words, this person used alcohol as a way to manage or self-treat the pain and unhappiness in their life. Another person recovering from AUD speaks about hanging out in dangerous places; getting DUI’s; waking up in stranger’s beds; blacking out and waking up angry.
What is the Experience of Recovery?
Commenting on their recovery, another writer celebrates the fact that they “get to live and participate in my life today.” This same writer exclaims “The freedom I have today is just amazing and the fact that I get to live my life today without lying, manipulating, cheating and stealing is all just gravy to me.” They sum up their experience saying “I am just so happy that I don’t have to drink today.”
Recovery is a long-term journey. Those in recovery need to learn how to manage their lives and their cravings. ‘Jennifer’ suggests “I stay away from old places and things.” This is a reminder that the time spent in treatment is only the beginning. Recovery involves being able to manage cravings and triggers as they arise.
Some suggestions for recovery are:
- Finding a strong support system. You don’t have to do it alone. Get the help you need.
- Changing your environment. It can be surprising how many things in your home or in other places can be triggers. Make the changes needed to remove these triggers.
- Setting goals for the future. Instead of looking back with nostalgia on your using behavior, look towards the future and the things you hope to accomplish.
- Don’t miss follow-up appointments. No matter how you rationalize it, skipping follow-up appointments is just asking for trouble.
- Take time daily to be thankful. Don’t forget how much better your life is in recovery and take time to celebrate that.
- Create new and healthy habits. In the same way that the recovering alcoholic needs to change their environment, they also need to develop new habits that support their recovery.
People recovering from AUD suggest that recovery doesn’t have to be boring or unhappy. They suggest:
- Play sports
- Visit an arts and crafts shop
- Go back to school or start an online course
- Learn a new language
- Plant a garden
‘Jennifer’ reminds her readers that “[It] took time to build the trust back with my family. But I don’t blame them. I did a lot of harm. My life is so different then how I used to live. I love myself today.” The fact is that AUD doesn’t just hurt the drinker, it also hurts the drinker’s family and friends. That harm doesn’t just disappear because the person has entered into recovery. Relationships have to be repaired, and that can be both difficult and painful.
It’s worth the cost. Recovering victims of AUD tell us that aside from the physical benefits of improved health and better sleep, there are many benefits of recovery.
- Rebuilding Relationships
- Making new, sober friends
- Saving money
- Enhanced mental clarity and excitement for life
- More energy to do things you enjoy
- Looking and feeling better
- Becoming a source of hope for others who are struggling with addiction.
Tips for Staying Positive
People who are in recovery from AUD suggest some things you can do to remain positive. They may not have degrees in psychology or counseling, but they do have the wisdom of having been there. They suggest.
- serve others
- let go of things that you can’t fix
- smile – it releases endorphins
- practice gratitude
- don’t be afraid to get help
- decide to be positive
- practice self-care
The process of recovery from alcohol abuse is not easy, but we can learn a lot from those who have been there. They tell us that alcohol seemed to be the solution to their problems, but they learned that it caused more problems and didn’t really solve any. Most importantly, those recovering from AUD have a lot to tell us about how to manage recovery and be happy doing it. That’s advice worth taking.