Discovering Yourself and YOUR Own “Normal” in Recovery

May 5, 2020

Discovering Yourself and YOUR Own “Normal” in Recovery

Normal (adjective) – conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

At some point in each of our lives, we’ve all wondered what it means to be “normal”. In the last couple of months, the entire planet’s existing idea of the word has been challenged. Many have found themselves struggling to adapt to the new standards of normal–working from home, limited contact with others, and so on. But what about for those in recovery?

Sobriety reshapes your entire lifestyle. When in recovery, the focus of your life shifts away from substance use and towards self-care. What was once “normal” to you, eventually may become something altogether foreign. One of the keys to successful long-term recovery is establishing a new sense of normalcy in your life and accepting it as a better alternative to your past life when you were actively addicted.

Here are some easy tips to help you re-define your very own “normal” and enjoy your life in recovery:

Focus on figuring out who you are without the disease.
A good starting place to establish your sense of normal is to ask yourself, “Who am I?” If this is something you struggle to answer, perhaps try to think about how you’d describe yourself to a stranger, or how a close friend might describe you to others. Are you pleased with these descriptions? Who do you want to be? Self-improvement is a constant, endless process of discovering things about oneself. Take inventory of the things you enjoy about yourself, and the things that you do not. Set small, but achievable goals to improve what you can each day.

Reflect and discover new passions.
Oftentimes, substance use can distract you from things you once prioritized and cared about. This could be artistic passions such as music, cooking, and painting, or even activities such as spending time with your friends and family. Whatever it is that brings you joy and feeds your soul, seek those things out and do them often. Sobriety doesn’t mean that life cannot be fun or exciting–in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Accept and become comfortable with idle time.
Staying busy can be a positive coping strategy for those in recovery. However, it is important to accept that idle time will eventually present itself. Sometimes, you will experience boredom. Part of rediscovering yourself is learning to accept downtime, and even relish in it. Rest is a wonderful thing. While you’re discovering your own identity, set a routine for your days and stick to it–but build in time to do nothing! Use time like this to reflect on your day. Journaling is a great way to document your feelings, sort through your thoughts, and can even be used to track your progress.

Use the tools you’ve been taught along the way.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Use the things you learned in treatment because they work! Review your 12-steps often, log-in to meetings online as often as you need to, and stay connected with your recovery network.

Have patience and embrace the unknown.
While finding a new normal for your life can certainly be a challenge, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to happen overnight. In fact, it definitely won’t. The initial stages of life after addiction are tough. Your brain is figuring out how to operate without substances and this can impact you emotionally and physically. Pushing through the speed bumps that present themselves in early recovery will help build a strong foundation for long-term success in your journey. Don’t rush yourself or the process of changing your life for the better. None of us can foresee the challenges tomorrow may bring but if you equip yourself with the proper recovery tools–you will be ready for anything that comes your way.

About Fellowship Hall
Fellowship Hall is a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.

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