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Recovery & Sober Living: A Guide to Understanding Why?

By : C.P.M

I have had parents ask me why their child would prefer Sober Living instead of staying at home.  Parents can say things like, “ Home is safer “, “ We are here for them” , “ We have always been there  for them”, but the truth is, once the individual has or is currently attending Residential Treatment or Intensive Outpatient Program’s ( I.O.P) for Substance Abuse, sometimes they just want some type of independence, they need to get away. The individual seeks to find other individuals that understand what Addiction is because Addiction is not just about the need to use the Drug. Now, us as parents at this point think we know what addiction is, but not through their eyes. We have no Idea what our child or loved one has been through.  Most of the time we just want to make it about ourselves and what we have been through & even though we have struggled and suffered in our own way, it in no way compares to what they are going through. Yes, we in our active Addiction have done things that are horrible to our Parents, our children, our close friends, basically anyone close to us, but that doesn’t mean we are this evil persona society want to make you believe we are. When we find Sobriety, we also encounter the one thing we have been avoiding the whole time, Feelings. We now have to face the fact that we have hurt ourselves & our loved ones in many ways. That’s something we as parents or as a husband or wife sometimes don’t understand, so it starts creating conflicts at home with the individual. The most important thing to keep in mind while your loved one is getting help for addiction is to keep an open mind set, 90% of the time the Parent or loved does not get any help, so, the mind set does not change for you. You are still carrying that anger, that sadness, that distrust, and you have all the right too feel this way, but there are ways of dealing with this too, so you don’t affect your loved ones Recovery. We have to learn that damage was done to both parties, the addict and the loved one. Don’t make the situation about yourself and most importantly, don’t be selfish.

parenting in Recovery & Sober Living

You see, once we choose to use Drugs for whatever the reason may have been, we become addicts, but once we get help, we enter a Stage called Recovery, and we will be in Recovery for not just for a couple of months or years, but for The Rest of our Lives. Now Sit back for a moment and think what that is like? We can’t attend parties where there is alcohol until we feel comfortable around it, why? Because for us in Recovery Alcohol is a trigger, even if Alcohol was not our Drug of Choice, if we start drinking in early recovery, it leads to relapse every time. We choose to break connections with people that are toxic for us (sometimes that can even be family), society looks and talks about these individuals and we know it, so sometimes the individual seeks to isolate themselves. Do you know what is like to walk into a Family Reunion or a Party and feel pointed out? Hear friends & Family talk about what we did in the past, Oh, and here is the worst one, the friendly reminder that never fails “Are you still getting High?”. That friendly reminder that usually comes from a family member or close friend that’s asking you this while they themselves are either Buzzed or Drunk.  Because to them Drinking is not an issue, and they can express themselves better when alcohol is in their system.

brain in recovery not wired the same

Sometimes it may take years for the individual in recovery to except what he or she has done and stop suffering over those action. Not only what we have done, but what we have seen and experienced in our active addiction. It may take months or years for us to except who we really are, because most of us in Active Recovery are still discovering “WHO WE ARE”. Some of us have never even learned to sleep in a bed, that’s why in early recovery some individuals prefer a couch or a sofa or even the floor, yet alone cook, do laundry, fold clothes, work for a living, fill out a resume, hang a picture on the wall, do an oil change etc. But once we start to learn what is like, we learn to embrace this, and want to be more independent. Because no one is judging us. Everyone is supporting each other, and we are learning what is like to live a normal life. Sober Living offers these types of life skills and support. Now I know there are  going to be people out there that may say, “ I used drugs when I was younger, and I was able to stop without help” and that’s true there are people like that, but that doesn’t mean everyone is like that. We as human beings are not wired the same, and most importantly Drugs back in day are not the same as what’s on streets now. Some of these Drugs are leading people to permanent illness & Psychosis. Basically, what I’m trying to say is to keep an open mind. Just like your loved one got Help for Addiction, if you think you need help to Recover from the damage that was done to you, please seek help, and respect the choice your loved one has made, Support them. Its not easy to talk about what we did in our Active Addiction, yet alone accept the feelings of guilt that are now drowning us. Most of the time this is what leads us to Relapse, and every relapse is worse than the last one.

We also choose to share things with other individuals who are not our parents or loved ones because we feel safe, we are not being judged or talked about, and we find out we are not the only ones that have suffered like I did. That’s our safe place and everyone is entitled to have one. And throughout my years in Recovery I have discovered that parents, husband, & wife’s have a struggle accepting their loved one is talking to some else about their feelings instead of them. We as individuals must learn to except these actions and not take it out on them. Again, I reiterate the importance of also getting help if you have been hurt by your loved ones active Addiction.

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