Getting sober is just the beginning, and as I am constantly reminded by people around me, addiction is merely part of the problem. We are the problem: our efforts to fix what ails us by filling our minds and bodies with drugs and alcohol is merely the vehicle we use.
What concerns me is what we do when the alcohol and drugs are gone and the only thing we can see is the steps of recovery looming overhead. Unfortunately, our minds are prone to drive us elsewhere because the desire to hide is still there, aching for its dopamine fix, often driving us to alternative addictions like sex, food, shopping, you name it. The problem with this is, those things then become the new drug of choice. The guy or the girl becomes the new “fix,” the burger and shake, yet another, and the bevy of new “stuff” another.
Adolescents in recovery aren’t immune to this, in fact, the idea of “hooking” up with the first hot guy or gal seems to be the raison d’être for staying sober, or in some cases, getting loaded. The social commentary on Facebook is rife with sexual innuendo and hyperbolic swagger. We see relapse after relapse associated with losing him, her, or it. Because the reality is, that loss reflects the loss of yet another drug, forcing reality to come crashing down upon the fragile minds of a newcomer. Couple that with the developing, often irrational mind of an adolescent and we have a cauldron of feelings ready to explode.
So, when the feelings you’ve been running from come banging at your door, do something different: face them head on. Remember: those steps, while arduous at times, are the most freeing steps one can take. No one says sobriety is easy, just simple.