Life Lessons Learned from Overcoming Drug Addiction
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned through recovery is that drug addiction is a major life-altering experience. This may sound obvious, but I wasn’t prepared for the lasting impact it would have on my life. Overcoming drug addiction is an adventure like no other.
In some ways, it’s like experiencing trauma or grief. Your life will never be what it was before the event took place. With more than five years sober, I’m realizing that this is okay. I think I’m smarter now in ways that I wouldn’t be if I didn’t experience what I had.
That’s not to say that I would do it all over again. Of course, drug addiction is a path I wish I hadn’t traveled. But now, I am fortunate enough to recognize my blessings and share what I’ve learned through recovery.
Don’t try to hide from your problems
I find myself falling into this trap still today, but I have to remind myself that this is likely what led to my addiction. If you want to overcome anything, you must face it head-on. Hiding only causes problems to fester and become bigger than life. In my case, I used drugs to help me forget about my problems. It worked for the moment, but at a great cost.
Self-awareness is a practice
I used to think that people were either self-aware or not. But when I started working on myself through recovery, I learned that self-awareness can be taught. Even better, you can become more self-aware with practice. The key is to try to keep a logical mind. Never make a major decision when you’re feeling intense emotion, and try not to act out of anger or sadness. Constantly evaluate your actions to keep yourself in check.
People can change
Anyone who has recovered from addiction knows that people can change. Addiction changes you while you’re addicted, and you’re forced to change if you want to recover. Along my journey, I encountered many naysayers who told me that people never truly change. I know that’s not true. I have changed, and I believe others can too.
Life never stops teaching
In life, it’s very important to remain humble. You may know a lot, but you don’t know everything. Leave yourself open to new lessons, and you will continually become a better, smarter person. There are so many hurdles to face in recovery, and every person’s path is different. No one can predict everything you will have to overcome, but if you look at each challenge as a lesson, you should do just fine.
We all control our own thoughts
I would have never admitted this before, but I used to have a victim mentality. The world was always doing wrong by me. There are a bunch of corny old sayings that I always thought were malarkey, but now I see things differently.
You really are the only person who can change yourself. And it’s true that no one can hurt you without your permission. We can’t always control our experiences, but we can control how we react to them. This starts with our thoughts. Someone says mean things about you. Do you get angry? If so, you’re the victim. You’ve given weight to those words, and now they’re robbing you of your happiness.
Through recovery, I’ve realized that I have so much more power than I ever realized. Shifting your thoughts is a practice that is much easier said than done, but it gets easier over time. You really can find peace if you can learn to focus on peaceful things over negativity.
I’ve learned so much about myself, others, and life in general through overcoming my addiction. My hope is that people will be open to learning these lessons without having walked my path.
About the Author
Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic who’s been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.