Hello, welcome back. This is part 2 of the ‘What is Recovery Series’. I hope you found Part 1 insightful. Let’s get right into this one.
If you did read part 1, you would know that recovery is not only about achieving and maintaining Abstinence, it is all about making a better life for one’s self. I always tell my clients, ‘It is an opportunity to rebrand yourself. Do all the good things that you did not have the time to do before. Reinvent yourself into a far better you’.
One of the sure ways to become a better version of yourself is through proper conduct of yourself in social situations. In active addiction you may have spent all or most of your time doing not-very-credible things, hanging out with not-very-credible company, hanging out in not-very-credible places and just basically being a not-very-credible friend, parent, partner, employee, neighbour and citizen.
This is one of the major reasons why persons with substance use disorders are Stigmatized and discriminated against; the not-very-credible behaviour they exhibit.
So now that you are in abstinence and have taken care of your physical, emotional and spiritual health, let’s look at 4 ways in which you can begin healing your social life as well.
1. Stay off Roads and Connections that will Not Take you Where you Want to Go
There is this old saying ‘show me your friend and I will show you your character’. Another one says, ‘birds of a feather flock together’. Another one in the Bible says, ‘Do not be deceived, bad company ruins good habits.’ (I Corinthians 15:33).
I don’t think I need to say more. The point I am trying to make is, the best way to reinvent yourself is to do things differently than you used to. The company and connections you were used to keeping are not going the way you want to go now, unless maybe this journey is something you are taking as a group.
People who are not trying to leave drugs behind are not going to be able to inspire you to continue being abstinent, they will try to get you to remain in their company, continue to do things the old way. The question you should ask yourself is, why would you take a journey on a road going to Kumasi when you are trying to get to Cape Coast? It doesn’t make sense.
It will be hard because these old connections may have been in your life for such a long time, however these old connections could serve as triggers that if not properly handled, will lead to relapse.
Ask yourself this, ‘You have been on those roads for so long, have they taken you to any good place?
2. Build New Connections
Go ahead and make new friends.
Find people also on the recovery journey who can support you and guide you in this new endeavour. When undertaking any new venture, it is always easier to have a guide who can walk you through their own experiences, which could serve as an example to guide you, instead of bumping all around in the dark until you finally find out what works.
Also, try to meet new people not just in the area of your recovery but in any new direction you are trying to go. You may be interested in a new hobby; find people in those circles that you can share those things with. Or simply just find new people of good character, who can inspire you to achieve your goal of being the better you.
3. Mend Broken Bridges
Living the not-so-credible life means that you may have hurt some people over the years, these people may be very important to you.
At this point, the most honourable thing to do is to apologize to the people you have hurt. This is important! Don’t just move on and pretend as if everything is well and good now. Acknowledge your mistakes, own up to them and ask for forgiveness. This when done sincerely will show to the people around you that, you are being responsible and are more likely to give you another chance to prove to them that you really mean what you are saying.
This means that you are also going to have a lot more support for your recovery from all these people who are now back in your life.
It may take more than one try to be totally forgiven by these people, don’t give up too easily.
4. Put on a New Garment
Don’t just plead and ask for forgiveness saying you are a new person and just leave it at that. Show everyone that you are truly a new person. Stop doing the not-so-credible things you were doing.
If you say you are going to do something, do it. Be consistent. Don’t flip flop on your decisions. Inconsistency breeds mistrust. Don’t be that person anymore. Be honest.
At this point, re-evaluate your values and see whether the principles you are running your life by are going to make you the better version of yourself that you are aspiring to be. If not, well, then you have some serious thinking and decisions to make.
Are you going to decide to run your life by values that make you into a better and credible person? Or are you just going to keep living by the same ‘old codes.’
The goal is to improve your life and become the very best version of yourself. Make the right choices, try these four steps, start your social healing journey, live your best life in the society!
Stay alert for Part 3, coming soon!