Staying sober is inarguably the hardest part of early recovery and the biggest challenge of day to day life in recovery in general. Living under the influence of drug and alcohol addiction means living under the conviction that mind altering substances are the solution to all of life’s problems. Aside from our attachment, we become chemically dependent upon drugs and alcohol, inhibiting our ability to function without them. All of our life, both internal and external, has come to rely upon the involvement of drugs and alcohol. Living life sober takes a lot of commitment, change, and confidence, which aren’t easy to come by when we’re having overwhelming cravings. Staying sober is a struggle, but we live by a certain motto to get by: we just take life one moment at a time and make the choice not to pick up a drink or a drug every single moment.
Connecting With Others
Isolation is one of the most common causes of relapse for men in early recovery and it fuels the negative feedback loop of addiction in the brain. Connecting with others can be hard to do. Being vulnerable with another person shard for anyone to do, not just men in early recovery. It is easy for us to hide from others and convince ourselves we aren’t a part of our recovery community. Allowing ourselves to authentically connect is a struggle, but reaps innumerable rewards.
Our addictive mind isn’t much interested in responsibility. In whatever way it can, addiction likes to see all the world as something to blame, as some reason or excuse to pick up a drink or a drug, instead of take responsibility for addiction. Responsibilities can be stressful, whether they are life responsibilities like bills or personal responsibilities like emotions. Stress sets off the brain’s many systems. When addiction has programmed our brains, reprogramming our brain means fighting against the temptation to seek pleasure as a response to stress. Part of taking responsibility in early recovery is taking responsibility for how we manage our stress.
Honesty isn’t something we come by easy as men who have lived with active addiction. We avoided honesty for as long as possible before admitting that we couldn’t manage our addiction any longer, that our lives were out of our control, and that we couldn’t stop using on our own. Honesty is what will keep us sober moving forward. It is what we need to stay accountable to our recovery, our friends, and our family. Wherever we can be honest, we will be honest, and we’ll find that we struggle a lot less when we’re honest about our struggles.