Would you believe that it is possible for some people to MISS being actively addicted to drugs or alcohol? For some, their new clean and sober life is just TOO MUCH – too much stability, too much peace, too much health, and healing, and too much-rediscovered joy. Let’s take a look at the kinds of people who wish they had never gotten sober –
The Social Butterfly – “Sobriety Is Lonely”
There are some people who feel that they are only to socially interact with others when they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In fact, the idea of talking to a stranger or being a large group fills them with a sense of almost reasonable panic. For this type of person, substance abuse was a kind of social lubricant. While drunk or high, their inhibitions or lowered enough where they could loosen up and interact with others, even if an interaction was sometimes unhealthy or dysfunctional. Now that they are sober, they don’t know how to make new friends. The Sober Solution – Many people with addictive disorders also suffer from other co-occurring psychiatric conditions, and one of the most common is anxiety. This is more than mere shyness – anxiety is a diagnosable – and treatable – form of mental illness. With proper treatment for this dual diagnosis, a person can learn how to make new, healthier connections with others while they are regaining their sobriety.
The Insomniac – “I Can’t Sleep Now That I’m Sober”
Insomnia is one of the most frequent complaints heard from people in early recovery. In fact, up to 72% of alcoholics may experience persistent insomnia that can last for weeks or even months after they began abstaining from alcohol. Insomnia may even lead to relapse, person desperately chooses to self-medicate in order to get some sleep. Unfortunately, though, they may not realize that substance abuse can severely disrupt normal, healthy sleeping patterns:
- Alcohol disrupts the brain’s neurotransmitters that regulate sleep.
- Alcohol is also associated with sleep apnea.
- Cocaine, methamphetamines, and other stimulants reduces REM/non-REM sleep.
- Large doses of THC, the active ingredient found in marijuana, can severely decrease the amount of REM sleep.
The Sober Solution –The best drug and alcohol rehab facilities understand that insomnia is a common problem, so the staff should have at their disposal a number of treatment options to alleviate this uncomfortable – yet temporary – problem:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Mindfulness meditation
- Stimulus control
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Bright-light therapy
- Sleep restriction therapy
The Overwhelmed – “I’ve Got Too Much to Do Now That I’m Sober”
Sobriety can be a lot of work – there’s no doubt about it. Between counseling sessions, group therapy, 12-Step meetings, reading, making amends, court-ordered classes, drug tests, and regular life necessities like work and family obligations, it can seem as if people new to sobriety don’t have any time to themselves. The Sober Solution – Self-care is one of the most crucial components of successful recovery. Because people who have been actively addicted usually neglected their families and other obligations, there is usually an overwhelming urge to “overdue” everything once they are abstaining. While it is natural to want to make up for lost time, when you overschedule and overburden yourself, you will inevitably lose your balance – and that way leads to relapse. In your desire to please everyone, you may end up pleasing no one. Some tips:
- Learn to prioritize – do those things that are necessary to your continued sobriety FIRST.
- Learn to say “NO” to other people for things that you either don’t want to do, don’t believe you’re capable of doing right now, or you feel may somehow interfere with your recovery efforts.
- ALWAYS take some time for yourself every day, even if it is only for a few minutes at a time. Use this time to regain your balance, meditate, reflect, and calm down.
There are always going to be difficulties and challenges during recovery, and at one time or another during the process, YOU will probably be all of these people and more. A successful recovery doesn’t always mean avoiding these challenges – sometimes, the right answer is found in the way you deal with life as it comes. Any time you are feeling overwhelmed, over-stressed, or unsure about what to do next, you can always talk to your sponsor or your counselors to get guidance about how you can cope in healthy, self-affirming ways.