Preconceived notions, assumptions, and what you thought your reality was going to be will all change once you commit to joining a recovery program and I want you to be prepared for that.

Specifically, this is for those with family members who are entering recovery. There’s an excellent chance that you might not get back the person you used to love, you’ll get someone brand new who has a whole new set of ideals and desires, so you need to be prepared for that.

Recovery is a process, and it’s a life long process. Once you enter into a phase of “I want to change my life,” you have to keep deciding that you’re going to continue down that path every single day, sometimes every hour of the day, and for some people committing every hour of their life to heal, is just too damned hard.

For a lot of folks, any excuse is enough of an excuse for them to give up and to be honest with you, I think it’s because a lot of people just aren’t ready to do the work. They don’t necessarily have the life skills needed and they think – wrongly but understandably – that if they mess up once, then they’re going to keep messing up forever.

Recovery is a two-start decision process. There’s the decision to stop using drugs and alcohol, and then there’s the decision to keep, not using these substances to cope.

Then there’s another decision, which is to decide how to learn how to build healthy coping mechanisms, and then another decision, and another.

For a lot of people who are thinking about recovery, there is a lot of undealt with trauma that came with drug abuse, or vice versa. Sometimes traumatic experiences are the reasons for addiction, and we’re not always prepared for the wave of emotion that is going to come with no longer choosing to block out those feelings.

Picture yourself standing on the edge of the shore. Now picture a giant wave coming and swallowing you whole. That’s what sobriety can feel like after a long stint in an addiction phase.

It can feel too overwhelming to control, we either want to cry, scream, or break things, or all three, and things like “breathe and calm down,” don’t really help when your brain is overloaded with emotion.

So, now that I’ve explained that, here are some solutions that will help make recovery easier for a lot of folks.

Keep a journal. A journal will remind you why you are fighting for your life, and show you your progress so that you can keep going on days when you feel depleted. You can always look back and see how far you’ve come. I know it sounds like hard work but if it were easy you wouldn’t be doing it.

Start knitting. A man in one recovery program I know of started a knitting group and they donate all their creations to charity so that the men can continue to buy and knit together. They use this time to bond and relax while giving their hands something to do.

Painting, drawing, and dancing are all really great ways to express yourself while getting out some of the emotions that you know you’re holding onto, but may not be ready to share with English words yet.

Dancing is especially healthy because when done for extended periods of time it can become a form of exercise that helps build up lost muscle.

Singing is another great way to use your voice, without necessarily using your voice, scream work is also super healthy in a controlled environment. Each of these techniques seem really simple but once you dig through the dark to use these techniques to help you, you’ll find that they become both more difficult but helpful towards you processing your emotional side.

Take your time and be patient with yourself. Healing takes time, addiction didn’t build inside of you overnight, and it won’t leave you overnight. But once you learn and start deciding every single day to use your healthier coping mechanisms to heal, once you find in yourself a routine that makes the uncomfortable feel less claustrophobic, things start to fall into place.

Remember that for recovery to work, you have to focus every single day on making sure that you stay moving in the direction you want to go and when you feel yourself starting to slide backwards, reach out to your recovery team.

Your recovery team will include your sponsor if you decide to go that route, and close friends and family members you feel safe sharing your story with. It can be one or the other, you need a village to help keep you clean and sober and you need to get comfortable with asking for help when you feel yourself start to fall. Once people see that you’re asking for help to keep moving forward, they will come forth to help you and those that don’t are showing you that they aren’t prepared for you to be your clean and healthy self. That’s okay.

You’ll know and you’ll learn quickly, who is there to support your journey into healing and who’s only there to see you suffer. You can let go of those wanting to see you suffer, they serve you no good and offer you no support.

You can do this and again if you need support or help, reach out and I’ll do what I can to assist you in finding the help you need.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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