Is Living a Normal Life after Treatment Possible?
I’ve always found life after treatment to be an interesting subject to dissect. People who seek help in the form of treatment come from all walks of life. There are different situations in many different areas, such as age, marital status, children or no children, a person’s residence, financial stability, etc. The decisions a person makes on what to do after treatment will depend on their situation, but I believe every person with a desire to achieve the goal of living drug-free will need to make some tough decisions that will often include some sacrifices.
The first big issue for me was going back home. I love where I’m from; I have my parents there, I had a house bought and mostly paid for, I had my friends, and I had a familiarity and comfort that I was very reluctant to leave behind. I also knew from experience, that living at my house in the city I grew up in was not helping me to stay clean. I’m a prideful person, and for years I refused to believe it couldn’t be done by going back home. I’m not saying it can’t be done—I just know it wasn’t working for me. I kept going home, and sometimes I would do well for a while, but I eventually reverted to drugs every time.
There was a pattern developing, and while there always seemed to be a different factor that played into it—unhappy at work, broken relationships, too much free time, getting complacent, etc.—there was one constant factor…I was at home. As much as I love my home and the people there, I knew deep down that a change of environment was going to give me the best chance of staying clean. And since I had made a commitment to do whatever it took to give myself the best chance possible, I made the decision to cut ties and start afresh. New job, new city, new friends. All of it. It was what I needed and, so far, all arrows have pointed towards that being the best decision for me.
The next big decision I had to make was what to do about work. I knew what I was doing didn’t make me happy anymore. I had justified it for years because I could make a comfortable living; I was good at it, and it was all I thought I knew. I had tried different jobs, but they all related to the same occupation that made me cringe every day I got up for work. Yet, I kept going back after every treatment. Just like with going home. I could do well for a while, but eventually, I kept reverting to drugs. One day, in my last treatment, I began thinking about what else I could do as a career and it dawned on me that I did have a ton of experience in another area— addiction. What better way to find fulfillment at work than to help others get through the same struggles that had been plaguing me for years? The thought grew on me, and that’s the decision I ended up making. And again, all arrows point to that being the best decision for me.
Making those two decisions (subjects I wrestled with for years while continuing along my path with drugs) has so far brought about more peace and stability than I could have ever imagined the day before I entered treatment. These decisions were scary to make, took big commitments and involved major change but when I look at it, isn’t that what I was going for in the first place when entering treatment? Leaving drugs behind is no small change for an addict. Drugs affect all aspects of an addict’s life in some form or another. If I really wanted to follow through with my commitment to make the biggest change of all—living a drug-free life—I finally realized that making some other big changes and making some sacrifices was necessary.
Again, all arrows are pointing to me being exactly where I need to be and doing exactly what I need to be doing.