One of the questions that addicts ask is whether life really can be better after addiction. Their substance abuse had them rocketing been euphoria and hellish realities, can addiction recovery really lead to a better life?
People who have been there, say that a better life after addiction recovery is real. Let’s look at what some of them have to say:
The successful rock and roll musician of the band Creed went off the rails on prescription drugs, posting paranoid videos on social media and losing much of his vast fortune. He says he was “delusional, hallucinating, completely out of my mind”. He came close to suicide.
Today, he is in recovery, focussing on his health, his family and his spiritual wellbeing. He goes to his 12-step meetings and says of his addiction “I never want to go there again”.
An ex-heroin addict who relapsed several times, Amy says that that her addiction was characterized by feelings of emptiness and confusion. She emphasises that help is needed to get through recovery, and despite a bad relapse, she has now recovered and is living a full life. She captured her experiences in a book entitled ‘A better life: Tips form a Recovering Heroin Addict’. What do you get after addiction recovery? According to Amy, you get just what the title says: ‘A better life’.
An ex-addict who has not divulged his last name, James says that he hated the life he lived during his addiction. “I still think of heroin every day,” he says “but I never think of using it”. James says that he longed to be ‘clean’, but also longed for more heroin. He chose the former route, has been sober for 25 years, and he’s thankful that he’s found a better way to live.
Janice says that using drugs isn’t a lifestyle choice. She admits that she loved getting her fix, but she found herself in a hole so deep, she thought she’d never be able to climb back out of it again. But that’s just what Janice did, and this year, she’s celebrating six years of sobriety. She’s out of that ‘hole’ now, and she means to stay out!
Mike has been clean for two and a half years, but he still goes to his twelve step meetings. “I’m sober today” he says. Mike fears that complacency may lead him to take that one dose that will send him spiralling back into the hell of addiction he escaped from, so he keeps going to the meetings. He keeps reminding himself of what he escaped from, and he wants to remain the person he is now rather than becoming the person he once was.
“I value myself now” says Dave an ex-addict who seems as certain as you can get that life after addiction recovery really is better. He says that life after drugs is his first and his best chance at actually living. He admits that it’s not perfect – but he’s completely sure that it’s a whole lot better. No more feelings of guilt, no more constant worry about using, getting caught and where the next dose would come from. He’s been clean for two and a half years and means to stay that way.
An ex-addict who uses only his initial, M says that the opiates he was addicted to made him feel great – but that his addiction was ugly and selfish. After losing four of his closest friends to the drug, M chose a different route. He’s been sober for ‘several years’ now, and the conviction with which he speaks makes it clear that he’s not going back.
Yes, there is life after addiction recovery: and it really is better!
All of these success stories have a common thread. The user is seduced by substance abuse, but knows that it’s destroying them. Life after addiction recovery hasn’t been easy – life never is – but it’s a whole lot better because it’s honest and ‘real’. The fear of relapse is real, and some of these ex-addicts have already tasted this defeat, but they keep trying, one day at a time. Why? Because it’s worth it!