You took your last drink, drug or pull on the slot machine. Congratulations. Everyone is happy for you and proud of you. New friends in the 12-step meeting say you are the most important person in the room. You receive phone numbers, coins and hugs.
But why do you feel so sad and empty?
Life After Treatment
Life after treatment can be hard. The parade is over, the ticker-tape is being swept up, and there you are, lonely and afraid on the street. Your addiction, for a time, was your best friend. It promised you everlasting companionship—at least until it turned your life into a living hell.
This was supposed to be the greatest decision you ever made–this recovery thing–right? It feels awful, and if you don’t get some relief, it won’t last very long.
Group support? It goes against the way you did your addiction. Isolation, secrecy—that’s how you kept up the facade for so long. Why would you want to tell a bunch of strangers your story?
This is where that leap of faith comes in. What you know for sure is that everything you have tried up until this moment has not worked. You tell yourself this is the last time, and you really mean it. But there you go again, in another cycle of hope, self-loathing and desperation.
It Gets Better: Be Courageous
The people you meet in recovery are right there with you. There is a saying about coming around long enough and hearing your own story. No, they are not in your head; they have just been there themselves. Your story is not original, even though you think you invented it.
Wouldn’t it be great if we agreed to recover from addiction, filled in a workbook, sent it in and had it returned with a stamp on it? Cured! No, it doesn’t work that way. The power of the group is what sets you free.
After the first session or meeting, you are no longer the new person. You are now helping the next new person, and that helps you.
The bravest thing you ever do will be the thing that scares you the most, and we are here to keep you safe.
Bonnie J. Baker, MS, LPC, CAADC
Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor