Recovery causes a person to self-reflect on their life and past decisions, and there is one common core to addiction recovery that everyone needs to reach at some point: the process of self-identity. Addiction consumes a person’s thoughts, time, finances and more, with little to no room for exploration of things that make life so fulfilling. The activities that a person once used to enjoy slowly – such as certain hobbies like playing an instrument, sewing, singing and more – become replaced with pastimes of substance use, and relationships built with quality time often fade away as a person begins to spend most of their time seeking out substances.
Self-identity is about finding out who a person is and what they may want to become, as well as how they make sense of themselves in this world. Recovery involves a lot of reflection as a person is now facing a new and very different reality from what they’re used to – it’s a time of major change and transition, a time of processing, and a time to make better sense of what has happened, what is happening, and what might happen in their future lives. It’s safe to say that there is no definitive “label” for who a person is and what they want to get out of life, especially as we all grow and change as we get older. But recovery provides an excellent time to further the ideas along with self-identity and re-discovering what life can bring.
Previous studies have shown that the act of working on one’s self-identity can take time, and the identities that we associate ourselves with may change as well as we get a clearer sense of who we are and who we want to be. Different characteristics take place within these realms, and not just within the individual, but also within society as their new social role changes.
With that being said, there are a few steps you can take as you process your experiences; for example, awareness is often the first and foremost difficult aspect of recovery, but awareness is what serves as a catalyst for change. If you are aware of how you’ve been affected in the past and how you’ve acted, you can take additional steps if it’s needed to change your life for the better – if not, you can continue on the path you’re currently on. For example, you may have reached recovery because you gained an awareness that addiction was negatively affecting your health and wellbeing. Perhaps friends and family helped you gain this awareness, or maybe it was a major, deathly event that sparked it. By remaining aware of what’s going on both inside and outside of you, you can better adapt to life’s changes.
As we’ve opened ourselves up to awareness and accepting what new information we can learn from ourselves and others, we can start to build strong support systems for thriving in recovery. For those in recovery, a clear indicator of this is to spend time with others who are in recovery or with alumni who have been working hard towards their own sobriety journey for quite some time. These people can lift us up, believe in us, and provide us with guidance along the way – all of which is incredibly valuable.
The process of connecting with yourself and with others is largely based on exploration; it’s these new experiences that we find ourselves sparked with a new understanding, a new idea, and a greater awareness of ourselves in this world. Throughout your recovery, continue to push your boundaries by trying out different hobbies and crafts, by practicing different mental health tools that you’re currently learning at Cumberland Heights, by allowing yourself to move forward with opportunities – like volunteering – that are good for you, and so much more. It’s when we place ourselves in seclusion that we deny ourselves the opportunity to grow.
Lastly, spirituality doesn’t have to mean following a religion – it could mean simply giving back to others and practicing to be the best person you can be, each and everyday. 12-Step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, do emphasize spirituality and religion, because it’s been found that people’s happiness potential increases when hope, faith, and goodwill are present. For many people developing spirituality is to understand that one holds a very important place in the world today, and in others’ lives; in addition to that, spirituality could also mean gaining a greater awareness of the fact that we don’t’ all have the answers – that we’re out here trying to the best with what we have.
If you’re ready to begin working on your own self-identity journey, speak with a professional from The Kimberly Center today. It’s never too late to begin healing and restoration – it just takes a phone call to begin starting to make those changes that are needed. At The Kimberly Center, we want to help you heal from addiction and are committed to putting you and your recovery first. We offer a comprehensive range of services including outpatient treatment, post-rehab services, continuing care, and long-term treatment. Call us now at 855-4-KCENTER (855-452-3683) for more information.