How to Build a New Life After Addiction
Starting over after a drug addiction can seem like a daunting prospect. In fact, it is largely the inability to make a new start that sees many addicts repeatedly returning to the lifestyle that they are desperately trying to leave behind. Often most, or all, of an addict’s current friends are addicts too, which makes it even harder to make a fresh start. Everything they know is based around obtaining, and taking, their drug of choice. It’s a vicious circle that’s hard to break out of.
Despite the difficulties, it is possible to move on following addiction. In relatively little time you can find yourself living a more fulfilling, worthwhile and truly enjoyable life. Your family and true friends will be glad for you. There are several things you can do to start making a new life for yourself.
Initially, when first coming off drugs, it can be hard to motivate yourself to find new friends and interests. You will probably feel unwell physically and be depressed mentally. Ride out this rough stage with the thought of the good things to come and try to begin making efforts toward change.
One positive thing to think about is what you are going to spend your money on now that you will no longer be spending it all on drugs. Think about things you have desired in the past and look forward to achieving those things in future. Maybe you’d like to save up for a new car, musical instrument, or have places that you’d like to travel to. Whatever it is, understand that giving up drugs will open up many other possibilities for you.
As you straighten up, you will become a more functional human being, with better job prospects, the ability to follow through projects and more chance of being able to follow your dreams.
Replacing your addiction with new, or renewed, interests, is important. Again, think about things you enjoyed doing before you were an addict. Maybe you were a film buff or enjoyed reading.
Hobbies and interests to fill your time don’t have to be expensive. Joining activity groups or skills classes can be a relatively cheap pastime. Some government schemes may even offer these kinds of things free for recovering addicts. Not only will you be taking your mind off your addiction, you will be gaining new skills or learning new knowledge. This all adds to your chances of new or better employment. You will also meet new people socially, which is also a positive thing when making a new start.
Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous can be valuable tools in your attempt to stay free of your addiction. You will have others in the same boat that you can talk to if you feel in danger of backsliding. It’s important to remember that others are going through the same thing as you and also to know that others have successfully moved on from the point where you are now at.
As well as support groups, many people have family and at least one or two non-addict friends that can provide much needed support. Apologize for neglecting them over the period of addiction, as you are likely to have done, and ask for their help. Also say sorry for any wrongs you have done them whilst you have been an addict. Family members can be surprisingly helpful if they see you are making a genuine effort to change, as can true friends who will have been worried about you during your time as an addict.
Most importantly of all, don’t give up. Even if you have several temporary slips back into the addict lifestyle, keep making the effort to stay clean. Take it day by day and, with determination and persistence, you will eventually become the drug-free person you aspire to be. Although it may be difficult to leave your old friends behind, explain to them that you can’t be around them while they are still doing drugs, or drinking. This is an essential step to leaving your addiction behind. Tell them that you will be glad to spend time with them again when they are also clean. Who knows, you may even inspire others to give up their addiction!