"A thousand-mile trip begins with one step," someone wisely said. This aphorism is more relevant than ever on the road to recovery. The decision to get clean – and stay sober – is a life-changing one. It is the decision that sets the course for the rest of one's life. However, that is only the first step. There are still many steps to take for the person who sincerely intends to transition into a rewarding life of Sober Living.
Expecting things to change in our lives overnight is a recipe for disappointment. Our decision to change may have been made instantly, but the rest of the world will need time to catch up. Just as our addiction didn't start in high school, it didn't start in college.
This eventual development is made possible by the first decision to live a sober life. Taking a sober living approach to life leads to a very different path, which may be expected to have a long-term, good impact on the future. When you're ready to put in the hard effort that will be required to make such progress, remember that your choice of sobriety is the key to unlocking all of these potential donors.
New Habits Take Time to Establish
When you use drugs or drink alcohol, you get an immediate reward. Increased good feelings or a decrease in negative feelings could be the reward. It could give you a jolt of energy and attention or help you relax. However, using narcotics to achieve these desirable states has a severe drawback that many people eventually overcome.
Experts have discovered that creating a habit follows specific patterns. The first part involves linking a desire with a particular location, feeling, concept, or action. You might, for example, feel compelled to take off your shoes as soon as you arrive home from work or to eat something as soon as you enter your parents' home. The trigger, or antecedent, for a habitual action, is formed by these experiences.
The second part of a habit is to carry out the action that the environment has made you want to do. Removing your shoes and socks might be the action that makes you feel like you've left your work stress behind. Getting into Mom's cupboards to locate something tasty to eat may give you a youthful sense of well-being. We make these habits because we know there will be a mental or emotional benefit if we do them.
Many people believe that the second stage of habit is the most difficult to break when it comes to substance misuse. Initially, trigger circumstances that are linked to the act of using a substance will appear regularly. You might be shocked at how many cases, feelings, and thoughts you've related to drug or alcohol abuse. The strong desire to return to using your drug of choice will serve as a reminder of these triggers. You must refuse to engage in that specific activity.
It has been discovered that saying 'yes' to anything is significantly easier than saying 'no.' While simply deciding not to indulge your trigger response with substance use may suffice in an emergency, it is preferable to have a strategy in place to replace old behaviours with better ones. Take a moment the next time you're tempted to use substances to contemplate what you'd ordinarily get from using them. Then make a conscious effort to engage in a different behaviour that achieves the same result. Your brain will eventually learn to link this new action to the old triggers, and your urges to take narcotics will fade into the background.
Relationships Will Take Time to Adjust
Another obstacle you'll face on your trip is the need to restore connections. The habitual responses of those around you will need to become accustomed to this new version of you, just as your habits will need to be changed due to your decision to live sober. You should expect to need to provide time for others to discover that you have adjusted your conduct, especially if there has been a lot of controversy surrounding your substance misuse.
Only you are aware of your genuine motivations and goals. Everyone around you will be able to tell if you are genuinely committed to change based on your actions over time. Be prepared for their reactions to you to be very similar to their reactions to you while you were using them at this early stage.
Our loved ones are frequently terrified that we will revert to our old patterns of drug or alcohol abuse, and they will be on high alert for any indicators that appear to indicate that behaviour. It will take some time for them to notice and adjust that new, healthier behaviours now accompany your trigger events. Forgiving someone for past behaviour is a quick process, but learning to trust them in the future is a much more difficult one. As you work toward a life of recovery, be patient with yourself and your loved ones.