In our current day of age, everybody wants to be accepted and look “cool” to a certain extent. For some, maybe cool isn’t the word we’re trying to use, but I mean let’s face the facts here- nobody wants to eat lunch all alone. To be liked and even just be acknowledged is really what most of us crave at the end of the day. For most, I believe we can agree that it usually feels good to be praised and to be held in some form or high regard. Don’t we all want respect and dignity? To have somebody be proud of us and know we are looked upon with purpose is a very comforting feeling. We all strive for comfort in some way or another.
So we take on new tasks and jump into the most random of situations. We go on adventures and journeys, all the while picking up new fangled experiences and fresh observations. We search for the things we like and learn and grow in tremendous depth. Yet sometimes we tend to go overboard and get caught up in the moment of something. Not to worry, for this happens to everybody throughout their lifespan. After all, we are all only human and making mistakes is part of the human condition. How else would we learn if we weren’t embarrassing ourselves on a regular basis? Then there’s the separation of doing something on our own accord, or doing something out of societal pressures we face regularly. A common fear for most is disappointing somebody whose opinion matters to us or to even disapprove of something we might be fond of. Breaking it down though, we all have different likes and dislikes. That’s why they have chocolate and vanilla, and sometimes even strawberry for the adventurous fellow. Setting boundaries can be a tough thing for anybody, especially setting those terms and saying no in sobriety.
A large portion of addicts and alcoholics enter recovery and have poor self-esteem. For myself, I didn’t even have a clue who I actually was until I delved into sobriety. So naturally, we enter the rooms of Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous and we leech onto somebody who will guide us and show us that we are not alone. In my case, it seems like getting clean really changed my surroundings dramatically. All of the sudden, I was venturing to new locations and had picked up a crew of friends who were trying to live a similar lifestyle. Needless to say, although we are never alone in the program, it can be a lonely time for some in the beginning. The last thing I wanted to do was saying no in sobriety and become an outcast from the people I needed the most at this new and confusing time in my life. Seeking their approval felt like a necessity to continue staying sober. This also meant doing things that my heart wasn’t in as well as being put in many situations that were bumpy to say the least. When push comes to shove, staying authentic is a much more admirable characteristic. Being able to say “No” in a particular state of affairs and standing your ground is a strength that must be practiced. This strength will save the addict or alcoholics life time and time again. Remember, staying true to one’s self and doing what’s right for the star player is the key here.
Drawing the Line
In recovery and early sobriety, establishing this new foundation of sorts is crucial. Just like the rest of life, finding ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time happens more frequently than we’d like it to of course. Life rarely follows the final draft we have written out in our craniums. Not to worry though, because this is where taking action comes into play and we have to draw a line in the sand with our feet. Saying no in sobriety to somebody can be nerve racking because nobody really likes to be told no. Such is life though. It really can be summed up in the equation of life being 10% of things that happen to you, and the other 90% is how we choose to deal with whatever scenario we happen to be in. Life, of course, isn’t fair, but then again, what is fair? Fair isn’t about everybody having the same thing and dealing with the same problems. Fair is more about getting what you need to get by. As human beings, especially as addicts and alcoholics, we always want more. We tend to want to push life to its limits and then question why it decided to bite back. Most of us are required to start listening to our guts and become intuitive in a sense. Often times we are professionals at rationalizing our actions and thought processes. Making excuses becomes more than just a habit and before you know it, we start justifying relapses. The whole point of this recovery thing is to stay clean and not go back to the miserable existence we lived before hand right?
In the end, we’re trying to stand up for ourselves and create a better life. If we allow people to walk all over us and take advantage, then we might as well have not gotten clean. The drugs and booze walked all over us for years. Learning to be assertive and speak your mind is a quality asset to have. It’s better to have been completely honest and embarrass yourself than to create a web of fibs that ultimately draws to your demise. Some situations are just not that simple to walk away from, and once you get stuck- it’s just going to get uglier. With the substances gone, we decide where our lives are going. Choose your battles wisely and control your destiny.
Being trapped in active addiction is a life consisting of bad choices and finding yourself repeatedly in the wrong place at the wrong time. It gets old while being uncomfortable almost becomes the norm. Sometimes it takes some simple changes and it’s amazing how different of a life can be conjured up. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 1-844-489-0836 or visit www.firststepsrecovery.com. We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.