When trapped in addiction, our goal tends to be singular. We know that we have to get sober. After obtaining that enormous feat, we often find that we are faced with a myriad of choices for our future. The freedom to choose our own life course can be exhilarating, but also overwhelming. Without guidance, or a clear vision of where we are headed after gaining our sobriety, it can be tempting to slide back down into our old habits.
If you have participated in a recovery program, your counselors and peers can be a great source of advice as to which further steps can be explored toward filling your life after recover with further achievements, peace, and prosperity. It can also be beneficial to utilize self-assessment tools, such as career fit planners or personality tests when deciding on your future life course.
The following are just a few more ideas of the paths that you can consider while plotting out your plan for making the most of your new life after recovery.
Explore the Education Life After Recovery
There is a concept in psychology known as the Johari Window. An idea within this concept is that there are things that we know about ourselves, and things that we do not know about ourselves.
The difficulty with dealing with what we do not know, is that we are often unaware that such possibilities even exist, especially in life after recovery. One of the most efficient ways to increase our knowledge of our own selves – and decrease our own blind spots – is through pursuing higher education.
For some, the primary benefit of pursuing ongoing education after recovery lies in gaining opportunities for self-development. For those who are lacking their high school diploma, doing the hard work necessary to gain that milestone as an adult can provide an enormous boost to self-esteem. Similarly, there are instances when simply taking one class in an interesting college topic can provide the inspiration needed to make an entire shift in self perspective.
Improving career options is a staple of why people will gain their education. It is nearly a law of society that a higher level degree means a higher level of pay, particularly when compared amongst those within a same occupation. Take time to research into what it is that you can see yourself doing over the next several years, and then follow that up with some research into what it takes to get that position.
It has been said that, “if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life.” Gaining a degree or certificate provides a solid pathway toward doing what it is that you love, and getting paid for it.
Enhance Your Social Circle
As we evolve as individuals, we tend to attract – and be attracted to – different types of friendships. While we are in addiction, our social circle often consists of others who are not pursuing a better life for themselves. Now that you are on a journey of self-improvement in this new life after recovery, it is important that you surround yourself with the support of others who are on a similar path.
There is a famous phrase, of unknown origin, which states, “If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.” The wisdom behind such a concept is that humans tend to learn and grow best when in the presence of others who are more skilled or knowledgeable about a topic. The enduring nature of this concept has given rise to the existence of senseis; teachers; and mentors throughout the centuries.
Finding others who share your passions in life – but who are a little further along on the journey than yourself – is a great way to ensure that your pathway toward self-improvement stays clear.
Creating a new social network can be a happy side effect of embarking upon new educational pursuits. In addition to being provided with teachers who are skilled in the topics we seek, we are automatically surrounded by others who are sharing a part of our vision, goals, and passions. A common theme brings fellow students to this place of learning, and that commonality can be the starting point for positive friendships.
This phenomenon of friendships based on shared interests occurs whether we are 8, or 80, years old, so don’t allow your number of years on the planet cause you to be wary of testing out those waters.
Give Back to the Community
Whether we like to consider it, or not, our time in addiction was selfish time. This is not to say that we are selfish people, but rather that our focus was on our own situation during that period of life. After taking adequate self-care steps on our own journey of successful recovery, we become more free to focus on the needs of those around us.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, reaching a point in our lives where we have the energy to devote toward the public good is a critical step toward our reaching our full potential as an individual. Once our basic needs – such as for food, shelter, and safety – have been met, our task is to form meaningful relationships. After our meaningful relationships are established, we discover that our personal experiences of inner acceptance, peace, and hope can be implemented toward helping others.
Giving back can take many forms, dependent upon your unique passions and personality bends. Some may find fulfillment in doing volunteer work, such as for a church or a homeless shelter. Others will find a way to give back while still receiving a paycheck, due to having selected a public service career path.
Still others will find that their best method of contributing to the betterment of humankind is through spending quality time with certain members of the family, such as with their children. The key is to find the ways that you are able to give energy out, while simultaneously receiving self-affirming satisfaction from engaging in the service.