Recovery is hard work. It takes time and constant dedication. It will stretch and reshape you physically, mentally and emotionally. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re on the chopping block, and other times you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.
I’ve had the honor of witnessing many addicts go through this process; not once have I heard a word of regret. That is because recovery is undeniably worth every tear, every push and every fall. Here are just 11 reasons why recovery is so worth it.
1. Reconnect with Family
Addiction affects entire families. While using, you may have inflicted violence, abuse, neglect and emotional trauma on your loved ones. The addiction may have driven you to manipulate and lie. Sobriety enables you to reconnect and rebuild your family one day at a time. I’ve witnessed the joy of parents reuniting with their children. You may need to cut out toxic relationships along the way, but I can assure you that recovery will fill the void with peace and happiness.
2. Pursue Goals and Dreams
Do you want to go back to college, learn to paint or explore the world? Recovery will ignite those latent dreams. The tools you harness for recovery also happen to be ideal for achieving your goals. You’ll have more time, more money and more peace of mind; nothing will be beyond your reach.
3. Gain Self-Confidence
Many addicts abuse substances in order to drown out self-hatred and doubt. Recovery is a surefire way to grow healthy, lasting confidence. Conquering an addiction is a brave, grueling feat and something to be very proud of. Many recovering addicts say that they’re happy they can look in the mirror and be proud of the person they see both inside and out. When you begin to nurture yourself, seek out supportive people and devote effort to goals, confidence is sure to follow.
4. Regain and Protect Your Health
Addiction destroys your body and mind. Addiction kills. In recovery, we nourish our bodies and souls back to health. Many recovering addicts I know dive into yoga, exercise and creative arts. They sometimes even reach greater levels of personal health than before the addiction!
5. Connect With Nature
Addiction locks you in a cage with no windows, far away from the beauty of the world. In recovery, you’ll reclaim your connection to nature. It frees you to discover all the sights, sounds and aromas that are just ripe for the picking. Many recovering addicts grow a thriving love for adventure; they want to make the most of the life they fought to build!
6. Keep All Memories
No more blackouts, no more scrambling to save face and no more lost moments. In recovery, your entire life is yours to choose, cherish and make.
7. Prolong Your Life
How many of your acquaintances, friends or family have died from addiction? In 2010, 38,329 people died from drug overdose, reports the Journal of the American Medical Association. This is the most simple, profound reason recovery is so worth the fight; you will survive.
8. Feel Emotions Again
Drugs and alcohol are so addictive in part because they numb the intensity of painful emotions. Here’s the caveat; addiction also keeps you from reaching deep, genuine happiness. In recovery, you’re still bound to feel pain, but new coping mechanisms will enable you to soldier through it and grow. Plus, you’ll finally discover what true joy feels like.
9. Find the Inner Peace You Crave
Substances may offer a fleeting sense of peace, but it never lasts and comes with a brutal price tag. Recovery will plant a seed of peace within you that grows each day, watered by your newfound habits and aspirations.
10. Make True Friends
I’ve seen the way peer pressure and unhealthy relationships can lock people into addiction. Your true friends are the ones who want the best for you, and they will emerge as you recover. You’ll meet many amazing people at meetings and beyond, so keep your heart and mind open.
11. Inspire Others to Recover
The 12-step program prioritizes spreading the message of recovery and sponsoring others who want to recover. Beyond that, your journey and dedication will lift others up. Imagine how amazing it will feel to be a part of someone else’s success and happiness.
Are there any other reasons you can think of? I’m sure you’ve got plenty and I’d absolutely love to hear about them!
By Angela Lambert
Photo by: Portland Prevention (Flickr)