I have not had a drink or a drug for a week. I am cured. How many times have you heard that? How many people actually believe it? For the uneducated, this statement paints a sad but true picture of the general public’s belief about addiction.
It could not be farther from the truth!
Once you complete detox and get a few days clean and sober under your belt, and are feeling better than you have in years, you might think you’re cured.
This type of overconfidence will take you right back out in short order.
Putting down the drink or drug is literally just the first step in recovery. The first week is barely enough time to detox from your substance of choice.
HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT SUBSTANCE ABUSE?
Why do you think you are cured? It didn’t take a mere seven days to fall into substance abuse; it took years of physical, psychological and spiritual detachment from your core values and beliefs.
You are literally starting at the bottom and laying a foundation for the rest of your life.
Overconfidence will be a fast and hard fall into relapse. Thinking you are not as bad as the next person, that you are different, that you are better… is a fallacy. Every person who suffers from substance abuse has followed a well-worn path.
YOU CANNOT DO THIS ALONE
Thinking that you can do recovery on your own is a mistake. Recovery requires a support system of people who have been where you are, are trying to stay clean and sober, and who understand your systems of denial and can call you on your crap.
You need to suit up and show up and follow direction.
You will forever have to be vigilant to catch and stop the slide into relapse. How are you going to know what to do if you declare you are ‘cured’ and do not do the work?
Your overconfident attitude will lead you back to the people, places, and things that are part of your substance use. Bars, clubs, alleys, bad sides of town, seedy motels, dealers, partiers, and isolation will once again become the norm.
DON’T EVER FORGET
Forgetting the negative consequences of your actions and substance use, or thinking that it won’t happen again is laughable. You will find yourself adding to your misery. This is progressive and cumulative. The consequences will keep piling up.
Thinking that you don’t need help re-framing your thoughts, creating healthy habits, learning about the signs of relapse, triggers, risky situations and the coping skills you will need for recovery is going to keep you stuck in the exact same place.
EVERYTHING HAS TO CHANGE
You will indeed not be drunk or under the influence, but you will not have changed. The way you think, feel and act will be undermined by your ignorance. You will be irritable, frustrated and argumentative. And very unhappy.
Playing the ‘just one game’ or believing you can control your substance use could work the first, second, or third time you try. But, it will not be long before you are drinking or using more than before.
The first time you come up against an emotional wall, an argument, frustration, loss, depression, anger, or fear, your go-to coping mechanism will be substances.
During the time you have been using, your body and mind have been conditioned to act a certain way. It is muscle memory, it is automatic. Unless you are educated on what to look for, you will fall for it every single time.
How about the trauma and hurt that you have not dealt with? The anger blame and resentments against other people? How are you going to cope with that? You won’t, you’ll use instead. It’s too painful to process those thoughts and emotions.
Chances are you don’t like yourself very much. Guilt, shame, and self-loathing abound. You need to work through all of this to move forward and practice self-care and self-acceptance. You can’t do that unless you drop the overconfidence and take off the blinders.
DON’T BE A FOOL
You need to become willing to look inside yourself, to listen, to follow direction and to be accountable.
So, you have had 7 days without a substance, now what are you going to do?
You are NOT cured. You are just dry!
This is only the beginning.