Figuring Out Your Identity in Recovery Takes Patience: Try These Tips to Get Started

Figuring Out Your Identity in Recovery Takes Patience: Try These Tips to Get Started

One of the things people take for granted who are not in recovery from addiction is that they may know who they are and their purpose with clarity and vision. When addiction takes over a person’s life, they lose who they are in the midst of the addiction and are not able to figure out who they were before it happened or who they were supposed to be in the midst. All they know is today will be the day they start to figure out their identity in recovery. Start with some of these tips if you or a loved one are struggling with this new identity.

Complexity of Identity

Substance use becomes part of a person’s identity. It may, in fact, consume their identity. One characteristic of addiction is thinking with rigidity instead of fluidity. A fixation on feeding addiction begins with thinking of oneself as just being addicted to drugs or alcohol. Everything else gets excluded. Making addiction the focus of a person’s identity can be part of the challenge in recovery. Most everyone wants to know who they are and what their purpose is right now. Stories get told about the past and present. It is easy to build a sense of self and not want anything to disturb it. If addiction is a major part of a person’s identity, they may have trouble letting go. For years this may go on, but eventually when addiction is gone and the person is in recovery, that is the time to form a new way of thinking and being in the world.

Think Broadly

It is easy to be narrow-minded for awhile. Only some things matter early on in recovery: mostly, staying sober. Going to meetings, staying clean, not using drugs or alcohol. The brain can get caught up with just those facts of life for some months early on. Eventually, the brain and body will start to recover and desire a new pathway. Identities are complex and carry lots of stories, but overall it is helpful to recognize how a person wants to be. By starting with a broad lens, it is easier to think of unique things that can become part of a person’s life. Start by trying new things like arts, crafts, carpentry, athletics, teaching, or other things that may help figure out how to navigate all the challenges ahead and also learn how to have fun.

Nurture and Love

What can help a person with an addiction is to nurture and love all parts of themselves, no matter what? Whatever a person wants to do, they should spend time doing it. Whether it is painting, writing, running, or something else, it helps to dive into it and devote energy to the calling of it. Addiction may always be there lingering, but eventually, a person will see themselves in terms of more positive attributes. Most people’s identities change over time. It is a good idea to nurture change and explore all the ways a person can grow. This is the only way to start moving forward with forging a new identity in recovery. 

Finding the wherewithal to navigate recovery while forging a new identity can be exhausting. We are here to help you understand how to cope with all that life throws at you in rehab, then recovery. It feels like a lot but you will grow and become who you are meant to be without substances once you give yourself a chance to heal. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 888-981-4295