Learning to Live Happily in Recovery

As an addiction recovery counselor, I have seen that very often after getting free of a drug people are then at a loss. Many times they say to themselves, "what to do now?" Frightened of returning to old habits, they are left wondering if there is anything they can do other than go to meetings.

Since they no longer want to fill a void with substances, I've always taken this milestone very seriously. No longer obsessed with the mechanics of getting high, they have the chance of a lifetime to think about things that you decide to think about!
Start off slowly. Do you like to eat? Instead of dashing off to the nearest fast food place, or even to the grocery store, sit down with paper and pencil and plan. Chances are you may have burned some bridges and you may have money problems. This challenge will help you sharpen the intellect as you take stock of your supplies, check the sale papers and execute a triumphant sweep at the supermarket. When you can come home with groceries that will feed you for a week having spent what you would previously spent on one meal, you will feel the real triumph!
At the daily meetings, which as pretty much a requirement in early recovery, you've got lots of people to meet. However, after such a long time submerging your personality under chemicals you may suddenly find that you're afraid to talk to anyone. You have to remember you are not as mature as other your age. It's very common and the solution is surprisingly simple. Speak anyway. "Hello" is a great start. When you meet someone you genuinely click with, ask for name. Remembering the name and face of one new person at each meeting you attend is an accomplishment! Make it your goal, because no matter how new to recovery you may be, someone has come after you. Being called by name is a real salve on such wounded egos.
If you have a job to return to, please don't try to make amends for all misdeeds right away. Even if you are shy about being in recovery, everyone you came in contact with knew you needed to be. Hold your head up, ask for help, remember that if a day is too much, take life one minute at a time. You deserve to be a healthy, happy, functioning adult. No one can take that away from you.
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