When we finally discover the strength of abstinence, we are overjoyed with relief. The addiction was so strong, we never imagined we’d be able to break free. Then we did and are grateful to be in recovery. However, some of us feel blind-sided when we sense that something still just doesn’t feel right.
A number of addiction professionals believe that being an addict or living with one can cause significant mental trauma. This in of itself poses one of those “which came first, the chicken or the egg” scenarios, because past trauma itself is a key primer for addiction. However, we’ll leave that issue for a later day. The important thing, is to realize that the environment in which we’re raised, molds our capacity for intimacy and to have healthy relationships, in the exact same way that what we eat affects our minds and bodies.
The problem is, while our addiction caused us to act or use substances in a certain way, it also deeply impacted how we thought about everything. It caused disordered thinking, a sort of internalized emotional drunkenness that lingers well after we’ve learned how to better control our disease. It’s a lasting psychological trauma that also need to be brought under control in order to help sustain our sobriety.
That’s why recovery does not end with mere abstinence. In many ways, that’s really only the first step. We also need to learn critical skills of sobriety to achieve a state of normalcy in our emotional outlook and relationships, be they with friends, family, a spouse or our children. When we do, we discover an entirely new and purposeful sense of serenity in recovery, a peaceful realization that we are on the right path. Recovery is an ongoing journey of wellness and we brighten our lives with each step of self-improvement.