Addicts and alcoholics share many things in common, but among the most troubling is our penchant for twisted logic. Any outside observer can tell that substance abuse has become our ball and chain. Nonetheless, many of us tend to glorify drugs and alcohol in our minds. We feel that drugs and alcohol liberate us from our daily struggles, even if our lives are not particularly difficult. For every tragic and unfortunate memory regarding our use, we remember a few times that seemed pretty good. Looking back on these fond memories, it’s easy to view substance abuse as an outlet to freedom.
In many ways, we used drugs and alcohol for this exact purpose—escapism. Unfortunately, this outlook backfires so often that we tend to lose count by the time we finally hit rock bottom. We abuse drugs and alcohol to mask negative emotions, yet uncover even darker ones in the process. At times, we use drugs and alcohol because we fear disappointments in our careers or relationships. But as we use more and more heavily, we only serve to put these aspects of our lives at greater risk. Every time we use in order to escape our fears, we put ourselves on a path of self-fulfilling prophecy. This isn’t freedom—it’s self-imposed mental imprisonment.
We will discover a new freedom in sobriety, but only if we undertake the necessary steps. Fortunately, those who enter treatment at Amethyst Recovery will find that these steps are strongly ingrained into our programs. We will talk about this below, but first we’d like to talk about the two greatest freedoms bestowed upon those who make the choice to overcome their addictions. The first is freedom from substance abuse itself. The second is freedom from irrational thinking, as well as other character defects often suffered by addicts and alcoholics.
Freedom from Substance Abuse
When we first enter recovery, some of us might actually feel a bit remorseful about the concept of sobriety. Sure, substance abuse has hurt us in many ways. But didn’t we have some good times? Weren’t there moments that proved we could live a good life with drugs and alcohol if only we learned to control them? Why shouldn’t we put our efforts toward control rather than abstinence? If these questions pop into your mind when you consider the notion of quitting your addictions, you are far from alone.
This line of thinking is quite dangerous. It puts us on the track to justify further substance abuse. Instead of resenting our newfound sobriety, we should learn to view it as a form of freedom. Don’t think of the few times that substance abuse was harmless or even enjoyable. Remember the times it hurt you. Think back on the feeling of being trapped in a never-ending cycle of drugs and alcohol. If you’ve been using for a long time, you’re likely familiar with that feeling of being absolutely stuck. That feeling where we don’t even want to use, yet feel uncomfortable without satisfying our cravings.
When we stop using drugs and alcohol, we allow ourselves to become more connected with the world around us. Perhaps we convinced ourselves at one point or another that drugs and alcohol gave us this sort of freedom, but it was sheer illusion. We weren’t connected to our work, our families, or even our five earthly sentences. And we definitely weren’t connected to any sort of spirituality or emotional stability. In sobriety, we have the freedom to enjoy the world as it really is, rather than trying to escape into a fantasy.
The freedom of sobriety allows us to feel truly alive again. We have more passion, more awareness, and more sense of who we really are. At first, the days may feel long. That tends to happen when we’re actually able to remember things. But in time, we find better ways of filling the hours. And in time, we come to realize that longer days give us more time to enjoy our lives. There will be hard times, to be certain. Nonetheless, we can get through them without resorting to substance abuse. This transformative freedom is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves after spending years chained to our addiction.
Freedom from Character Defects
Looking back at our life of substance abuse, we may regret certain character defects that we often exhibited on a regular basis. We were too quick to anger and resentments, yet often withheld forgiveness—even when we knew it was appropriate. On far too many occasions, we demonstrated intolerance. We were critical of others, yet not always critical of ourselves when we needed to be. Our friends and families often found that we were not there for them when they needed us, yet we still expected them to drop everything whenever we were the ones who needed help. Arrogance, selfishness, an utter lack of responsibility—the list goes on and on.
In sobriety, we start to discover that these shortcomings hurt us just as much as our substance abuse. Once we recognize this, we can start discovering freedom from our defects as we move toward a better way of life. We learn that we appreciate ourselves much more when we are hard-working and reliable people. It doesn’t hurt that others tend to appreciate us much more as well. No longer need we escape from reality, because we now live in a reality in which we truly believe that we are worthwhile.
This freedom brings contentment and serenity to our once chaotic lives. Now that we feel more comfortable with ourselves, we are able to feel more comfortable with the world around us. We become people who find joy in the little things, now that greed and dissatisfaction have been left by the wayside. We perform service work, not just because our sponsors suggest it but because we truly enjoy helping others. Instead of attending meetings because a judge told us that we must, we do it to engage in a community of like-minded fellows. More importantly, we do it to keep our character defects in check. The freedom to enjoy our sober identity is simply too precious for us to let it go to waste.
Once this freedom has been realized, we find that we are completely transformed. In a strange way, we almost feel a sense of gratitude for our addictions. Without them, would we ever have become the people we are today? Perhaps, but there seems to be little doubt that our newfound strengths were the direct result of our decision to get sober. After a period of time, we can look back on who we used to be and realize that our former perceptions of ourselves bear little resemblance to the people we now see in the mirror. Hyde may still rear his ugly head from time to time, but Jekyll always finds his way back. As long as we keep working to overcome our dark side, we need never lose hope in ourselves again. This is perhaps the greatest freedom of all.
How Treatment Can Free Your Mind
Amethyst Recovery is a place of healing. We can help you sever the chains of your addiction, allowing you to discover the wonderful freedom described above. We’re not saying that it will be easy—you will need to pull your own weight if you wish to benefit from our full continuum of care. But with willingness and dedication, you can learn to overcome your substance abuse and remove your character defects. There are a few ways in which we can help you with this.
First, we offer many services such as counseling and life skills education that help our patients to realize the full consequences of their substance abuse. Our patients also learn to see how they have previously justified their drinking and drug abuse. They learn to see their triggers in a clearer light, which helps them to form a relapse prevention plan. Some patients may need additional services such as court liaison services or trauma therapy. We are able to provide these as well. Whatever you need to better your life and overcome your addiction, odds are that you will find it here.
Second, we teach people to truly enjoy their sober freedom. Every few weeks, we have therapeutic outings during which our patients can socialize while truly making the most of their sobriety. Whether they’re fishing, kayaking or engaging in equine therapy, they learn that recovery isn’t something we’re forced to enter begrudgingly. If we simply choose to be happy in sobriety, we will be richly rewarded. This enjoyment lays the foundation for our new sense of freedom. Sometimes in recovery, we talk about a new freedom and a new happiness . At Amethyst Recovery, our patients learn that freedom and happiness are not two separate entities—they are inexorably linked.
Those who enter our programs may have to work on themselves a bit, but the fruits of their labors will be sweet indeed. When you wake up one day and realize that you no longer feel the urge to use, you will know the true meaning of freedom. No one should live in fear of themselves. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Addicts already understand the pain of chronic substance abuse. Come to Amethyst Recovery, and you can begin refocusing your thoughts on the joys of sober freedom.
If you have any questions about our services, contact us today. Our staff will be delighted to answer any and all inquiries. When freedom is only a phone call away, you’ll find you have nothing to lose—but everything to gain.