The prospect of sobering up is daunting because drug addiction often makes people forget how to be sober. That isn’t just an exaggeration – it’s based on scientific fact.
When the brain undergoes consistent and prolonged drug use, it gets damaged. And that brain damage extends beyond problems with cognition and problem solving, but goes deeper into severe damage to the brain’s reward system, and a corruption of the fundamentals of pleasure and happiness.
That means sobering up doesn’t just mean seeing things clearly again, and being a normal person again. It means relearning what happiness is, and it means finding out how to pursue that happiness all over again, this time without drugs.
Sobering up is a tall task, so much so that it often drives people right back into the hands of addiction, sending them to struggle with their demons once again.
Successful recovery depends on yourself and those around you. Your loved ones and friends are tasked with supporting you, while you’re tasked with never giving up. Relapses happen – but if they kept someone from quitting, then there would almost never be a way to get better and stay sober. And given how many people quit drinking, smoking, and even heroin, that’s clearly not the case.
For many, the problem with sobering up isn’t even staying sober. It’s getting sober to begin with. Drug addiction can destroy your life, tearing into your relationships and career and leaving you alone, without a future and disassociated from every accomplishment in your life. Not only is that depressing, but for many it’s soul-crushing.
Drugs provide comfort, and pleasure. They help numb the pain. For a little while, they distract you from it. Getting sober means facing the full brunt of it – and because emotions tend to pent up and brew, the pain of sobriety can be immense. However, it’s necessary.
The only way to really stop the pain is to make things right, and get better. The only way to get better is to stop using. And the only way to stop using forever, is to learn to live with sobriety, and even learn to like it – and eventually, fall in love with it. There’s no telling how long it’ll take, but there are many reasons why right now – during the holiday season – is an amazing time to start.
Reconcile With Your Family
It doesn’t have to be your biological family, but everyone needs a circle of people to trust and love beyond everything else. We rely on these relationships, not out of any material or reciprocal connection, but simply because being with the people we can trust most helps us fend off loneliness and be better people ourselves. When left alone and isolated, it’s easy to become doubtful and depressed. But in a group, we can reflect, discuss, fend off each other’s fears and support each other’s dreams.
This is especially true for family, which is meant to always be there for you. But if you did something in the past to push your family away, then now is the time to reconcile and ask for a chance at forgiveness. By promising to fight your addiction for as long as it’ll take you to finally be free from it, you might be able to start the journey to regaining the trust of the people you love, and the holidays can be the right time to get on that path towards a new and better relationship with them.
It won’t be easy, but sobering up and reconciling can have its beginnings right now. Oftentimes, the people you cared about most never stopped thinking about you, and miss the person you once were. While that person will never exist again in the same way, you can come to them as a new person, someone who’s determined to change their life for others, and for themselves, both to survive and to relearn what it means to live at all.
Prepare For The New Year
Another reason the holidays are the perfect opportunity to sobering up is because they’re the end of one year, and the prelude to a new year. The new year is a time for new beginnings, and a time to commit to new promises. And it can be your time to set things straight and stay sober.
Some people have given up on the idea of making resolutions for the new year, and there are even suggestions that announcing something elicits a similar response in the brain to doing it, which removes some of the motivation behind doing it.
Instead of seeing this as just a way to improve your own life, think about the lives you’ll affect by sobering up. Think about your family, your friends. Think about what you could pursue and due if given the chance to get away from addiction. Don’t cloud your mind with the fears and worries of what you’ll have to face once sobriety hits – focus on the good, and the rest will follow.
Get Help Sobering Up
There are countless reasons to be sobering up. They can include deeply personal and romantic reasons, or it can be because sobering up is the only way to keep on living.
The list goes on forever. But regardless of what you might find in your list, one thing is for certain. You must get help first. A Los Angeles IOP treatment center can help break the addiction.
It’s possible to stay sober without treatment, but the thing is that you don’t have to. Far too many people decide they don’t need addiction treatment, or worse yet, they decide that their problem isn’t serious enough to warrant the fuss.
But the earlier you get help, the better. Drug treatment isn’t magic, but it’ll provide you with a safe place to talk about your struggles, and help professionals set you straight on a path you can follow.
Through single therapy, group therapy, partial hospitalization, outpatient care and many other programs that involve getting you back on your feet and ready to tackle the world with full sobriety, know that there is a way back to normalcy from any case of addiction.