We may have had goals and aspirations before struggling with substance abuse. However, we often learn more about ourselves as we go through recovery, and our vision for our lives may have changed.
How do we decide where to go after treatment? How do we figure out if we still have the same goals as before? What are the steps we should take to pursue those goals or discover new ones? Answering these questions can be tricky, but if we can reconnect with ourselves and spend time exploring what makes us happy, we can enjoy the process as well as the destination.
We can learn a lot about ourselves when going through treatment. We may have access to therapists, along with an assortment of different types of therapy. These types of therapy, such as art therapy, group therapy, and family therapy, can help us take a look at ourselves from the inside and assess our feelings more accurately. We can learn so much about ourselves by just talking about our emotions and what we struggle with mentally.
Trying New Hobbies or Career Paths
We don’t have to know what we want to do or what we like right away, and the process of discovering goals and activities we want to pursue can be lifelong. The great thing about getting to know ourselves again is that there are many possibilities as to what we could do for fun or for a living.
What we enjoy can sometimes translate into a career path, but it doesn’t have to. Having hobbies can provide us with stress relief and remind us that our lives are more than work. Maybe that is one reason that having hobbies can decrease our risk of cardiovascular disease.
We can always keep trying new things, and even if we think we have found something we love, we aren’t obligated to stick to that hobby or career forever. We are ever-changing, and our interests can change as well.
Even before struggling with substance abuse, we may have had family members who had strong opinions about what we should do with our lives. After treatment, those opinions could have become even stronger. Family members can sometimes make your life choices their business and feel as though they are better suited to make your choices for you.
Though their hearts may be in the right place, this is not productive to our progress. Being our authentic selves, feeling empowered to make our own choices, and setting healthy boundaries with loved ones are major aspects of recovery. It can be challenging to speak up for what we truly like and who we are, but it is important. It is our life to live, and we have gone through the hard work of reaching sobriety so that we can enjoy our interests in recovery.
Living Life to the Fullest
We may have heard the phrase “living life to the fullest” numerous times throughout our lives, but what does it mean? Sure, the actors in movies rave about living life to the fullest while driving their dream car up to their dream house in their dream situation, but what about real people struggling with real-life issues?
There can be pressure from society that follows the viewpoint that if we aren’t doing grand things in life, then we should be doing more. However, that just isn’t true.
Of course, we can dream big and live up to our potential, but a good life doesn’t have to include a huge display of accomplishments. Many very accomplished people are not satisfied with their work/life balance or are content with their relationships.
Living life to the fullest is different for everyone, and all it means is to do the things we enjoy and connect with people we love. One person’s perfect life is someone else’s nightmare. If we all wanted to live the same life with the same circumstances, life, in general, would get boring. We should all embrace our differences and celebrate our diversity in all aspects.
Celebrating Every Victory
We shouldn’t forget that we are already incredible for recognizing our struggle with addiction, getting treatment, and coming out the other side in recovery. We should learn to be gentle and patient with ourselves. We know ourselves better than anyone else, and we are responsible for advocating for and celebrating ourselves.
When we find a hobby we like, we should be excited. When we find a career path we enjoy, we should celebrate. Happiness in life is important, but happiness often looks very different for different individuals. We can take risks and feel confident that even if those risks don’t work out, we will be okay. We can connect with people who share the same interests and open up about how we are feeling.
Life has so much to offer; we just have to realize its potential. Let’s take time today to reconnect with ourselves and live our lives in true authenticity.
We may have had goals before struggling with substance abuse. After treatment, we may have those same aspirations, or we may have new interests to pursue. The great thing about life is that there are endless possibilities for what we can do. We need to remember that other people’s opinions are not as important as our own authentic journeys. We may want to try out college and then decide it isn’t for us. We may want to move to a new place and find new people to connect with. At times, our family may feel as though they know what is best for us and try to make our decisions for us. As well-intentioned as they are, we should speak up for ourselves and what we want out of life. At the end of the day, it is our life to live. Call 449 Recovery at (949) 435-7449.
Dr. Warren Taff MD, graduated from the University of Birmingham, England School of Medicine, with a BA from Rutgers University. He then went on to UCLA School of Public Health in Los Angeles Health and Human Services and received an MPH. He also attended an internship in internal medicine, with the Veterans Administration. Dr. Taff’s residency includes General Psychiatry at USC, with elective residencies at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Australia, and Royal College of Psychiatry. Board certifications include American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Taff has extensive experience in both psychiatry and addiction medicine, extending from 1979 to present. He has held professional titles that include Chief of Staff and Medical Directorship in both hospitals and private sectors.