Saying Goodbye to Drugs and Alcohol

It’s Okay to Feel Sad When You Leave Addiction Behind

Have you ever had to say goodbye to a best friend? It feels a little like this to someone choosing to leave drugs and alcohol behind. If you look online, you can find letters by individuals in early recovery written to their drink or drug of choice. They are heartbreaking. Quitting, once you’ve gotten into a pattern of substance abuse or dependence, can be an extraordinarily difficult experience, physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Emotionally, early recovery brings a jumble of reactions. It’s okay to feel sad when you leave addiction behind.

By the time an alcohol or drug abuser decides to quit, he’s developed an intimate relationship with his substance of choice. Take Nate, for instance. Though he didn’t see it clearly before, alcohol and drugs had seemed very much like his best friend, his quiet confidant, and at times, his savior. Once sober, a range of emotions crept in. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Frustration. Fear. Drugs or alcohol had been there to buffer his social phobia. The pills helped Nate sleep. Alcohol offered him the liquid courage to ask Melissa to dance at happy hour, and it calmed his nerves enough so he could get through his mother’s funeral. How was he going to manage without drugs and alcohol? Who would he be without them?

Like others in early recovery, Nate wrestled with many emotions, but steadily, throughout the first several months of sobriety, he noted a profound, underlying sadness. Something was clearly missing. It was hard to focus. He felt lost. Newly sober, when he experienced emotional triggers or physical cravings to get high, he longed for his old friend. The sense of loss was profound. It felt almost impossible to self-regulate his emotional response, let alone manage a difficult situation.

Leaving addiction behind can leave you profoundly sad. You just broke up your most intimate, private relationship, so it makes sense that you will feel a loss. As it is with other life transitions, so it is with early addiction recovery – time heals. But, in early recovery, you are ill-equipped to manage on your own. If you could handle life on life’s terms, you wouldn’t have become dependent on drugs and alcohol. So how do you cope? Addictiontreatment offers those in early sobriety a host of real, effective tools to walk through those triggers and cravings, to heal, and move on. You can manage your emotions. You can walk through relationships and responsibilities. You can live free of dependence on mood-altering substances and let go of the complications,the mess, that substance abuse brought along with it.

If you’ve struggled with alcohol or drugs, or if you know someone who has, consider seeking drug or alcohol treatment. You don’t have to do this alone. Call Wasatch Crest. In our supportive, comfortable environment, our compassionate, trained staff help people walk through the emotional, physical, and psychological transition from addiction to wellness. Call (800) 385-3507 and speak with an intake counselor. Recovery and wellness are possible. Treatment is available and effective. Call today.


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