Who Are You Without Your Drug of Choice?

When substances no longer consume your life, it's time to get to know the "new" you.

Addiction is the ultimate identity thief. It doesn’t set up false bank accounts or hack your email – it steals your identity from within.

Spinning in a cycle of chemical dependency, those battling with drugs and alcohol often don’t realize one important truth: Your true identity is buried beneath the substance abuse.

Haley’s a great example. She entered rehab, where she attended art therapy each week as part of her treatment. She discovered a hidden talent. With her mind clear of opiates, she found out she was full of creative ideas for beautiful works of art.

And then there’s Simon. He had forgotten how much he loved to play the piano. Focused entirely on drinking for the past five years, he hadn’t even touched a keyboard. After getting clean and sober, he had time to pick up the hobby again – and loves how it makes him feel.

Jenny also made an incredible discovery. As part of her treatment plan, she volunteered weekly at a food pantry. She found it intimidating at first, but quickly discovered she could really relate to people. Without drugs, she was no longer irritable or constantly thinking about avoiding withdrawal. Jenny found that she really loves being with people and serving others. She’s thinking of pursuing a career in social services.

Getting to Know Yourself

What passions, skills, and surprising interests might lie beneath your chemical dependency? Like Haley, Simon, and Jenny, you can find out. When you’re ready to start the journey, try these three steps:

  • Step #1 – Discover What Brings You Joy

    Try new things. Revisit old interests. Either in a treatment setting or on your own, explore what makes you happy. Get out in nature. Pick up a paintbrush. Try some yoga poses. Spend time with animals. This will open up new opportunities you never knew existed. The world of recovery will become more exciting and inviting. You’ll realize just how much more there is to life (and to you) than substance abuse.
  • Step #2 – Insert More of Those Things in Your Life

    Once you’ve discovered joy-filled activities, make an effort to do them. Does strumming a guitar energize you? Does baking a cake give you a sense of accomplishment? Whatever it is that strikes a chord with your joy – do that. Write these things down and make it a goal to pursue them.
  • Step #3 – Give Your Identity a Realignment

    Crushed beneath the weight of substance abuse, your identity has been suffering. It’s likely dripping with negativity, anxiety and pain. As you discover new parts of your soul, you can start to repair this image. The truth is, you’re way more than your drug of choice. You’re more than what you do or what you’ve done. Continue to explore the possibilities, and you’ll discover just how much you have to offer the world.



Image Source: iStock