Addiction is a disease that is all consuming, consuming for the addict and all of those around them. Considering the severity and complexity of addiction, can someone really separate themselves from their addiction or does it define them? Like any hurdle, experience or relationship in one’s life, addiction leaves it’s mark and it cannot be erased. It is however for the person themselves to decide if in fact they will allow their addiction to define them. We all have a journey and path in life that will have many twists and turns; becoming an addict will alter your path but it doesn’t have to dictate the the entire root. Yes addiction changes us, it alters our lives to a point that for many it can be unrecognizable. Coming back from this is always going to be a challenge, the damage, the lost relationships, the health difficulties, debt, legal issues that may have occurred as a result of addiction will take a long time to repair. Once you’ve decided on recovery these obstacles and challenges can be overcome and you can start a new journey. Let your strength and determination define you, not your addiction.
Human perfection is a myth, we all are fallible and all have the ability to fall, for this reason addicts should not judge or condemn themselves. It is more helpful to focus on recovery, how far you’ve come, the steps you have taken and the person you want to become. Others may always remember the drunk or the addict, they may not be able forget the wrongs done to them, but once peace is made and you have accepted responsibility for your actions while using, you have the right and owe it to yourself to move on. You cannot bash yourself or allow others to bash you for mistakes in your past. If you are dedicated to your recovery and have worked hard to change your life then you deserve to move on and live your life as the best version of you.
A large part of life’s journey is accepting our flaws and working with them in order to be a whole and well person. It’s about how you see yourself and not about how others see you. Some people will always see you as an addict- it is a human need to label people and slot them into a category particularly if it helps in making them feel better about themselves and their life. Don’t let this bring you down, remember you are much more, you are a mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, grandparent, friend, you are a person.
There is great power in self belief and self worth. Having true self awareness will also assist you in understanding all parts of yourself, what makes you tick, what you desire and how to live a healthy, happy life. It is so important to remember that you have an addiction, you are not an addiction. There is so much more to a person than an illness, irrespective of how life altering that illness or disease may have been. While you will always have to be conscious of it and work on yourself to remain sober, it’s about utilising the freedom sobriety has given you, rather than worrying or wondering how or when this may come to an end. It is important to find balance and try not to become consumed by recovery to a point that it prevents you from living your life- living in fear, with paranoia and anxiety is not useful and not healthy even if you are sober. You will not be defined by your addiction if you learn to live in the present not the past, with real hope & belief in your future.