Can Recovering Addicts Ever Be Normal?

There is an unfortunate idea floating around in the non-recovery community that addiction is a sign of weakness. For an addict who is feeling out of control, the ability to ask for help can be hindered by this inappropriate and inaccurate judgment. Can recovering addicts ever be normal? The real question is, can addicts ever be allowed to feel normal in their own skin. If you enjoy having friends over for food and wine on the weekend, a friend in recovery will need something else to drink. Can you provide this so your addicted friend can make a healthier choice, then turn over control of the beverage to your friend?

Judgment is Corrosive

Part of detox is coming to grips with just how out of control your life has been. Part of recovery is learning to function effectively around the addictive substance without partaking in the addictive substance. When your spiritual, emotional, or physical reserves are low, this participation will be more of a risk. For those who are working in recovery, there are often family factors that carry

  • shame
  • judgment
  • abuse

If your dad hit you when he was drunk and you fear you have a drinking problem, you may avoid your own spouse and children. You may go the other direction and hide your drinking to prove to the world that you are not your dad. Neither of these are healthy responses.

Be Ready to Open Up

Part of finding your new normal as you move into recovery is mixing with new folks. Your old social group may not understand your new choices. If you’re in a 12-step program, your sponsor may be able to help you build a new community. Take care as you move into your new social structure. If you grew up in a home that included a sad combination of addiction and religious oppression, a church community similar to the one you grew up in may not be helpful for you. However, you may be able to find acceptance in a more secular setting or a church that is more progressive than your childhood experience.

If the church is off the table for you, consider taking a class with like-minded folks. Maybe you need to learn to eat healthier to rebuild your body. Sign up for a cooking class or join an online group that is dedicated to healthy foods. You may need to learn to better manage stress. Sign up for tai chi, yoga, or other workout class with a coach that has a strong focus on wellness.

Legal Considerations

For a time, you may be limited as to what activities you can engage in outside of work. If you’re facing legal challenges that limit your activities and behaviors outside of work, counseling, and treatment, now is the time to start tracking your current behaviors and how they align with your future goals. For example, you may have a family that you are estranged from. While your mobility is limited, now is the time to reach out to your family. This reaching out may include writing pen and ink letters.

Your online access may be limited or monitored if you are in an in-patient or residential treatment program. Work with your counselors and parole officers about how to start reaching out. In addition to counseling and following the rules as necessary to finish your parole and get back into the world, look for classes you can take now to build skills for your future. This may include stress management, emotional regulation, or parenting classes. Getting through detox and treatment will take a lot of your emotional and physical energy. Rebuilding your emotional, mental and physical health will take time and new skills. Your new normal will take time to adjust to. Give yourself that time. Ready to get started? Call us today at 614-705-0611.