One of the first suggestions that you will receive in your attempt to get sober is that you should avoid people, places and things that remind you of your addiction. This suggestion is usually not very popular with people who are just coming into sobriety because they are afraid of leaving behind old friends and they worry that giving up things that they have enjoyed in the past will mean giving up their entire identity.
Feeling this way is understandable considering that you are embarking on a journey of recovery and this means giving up one of the main facets of your life, drugs, and alcohol. Now that you have decided to do this, you are being told that you have to give up even more, start over completely, and become a totally different person. To many people who are just getting sober this sounds like too tall of an order, but avoiding, or giving up, people, places and things is not as daunting of a task as you think it is.
So what exactly is the reason for this request and what does it look like to actually give up the people you knew, the places you have grown accustom to, and the things that you love?
The first part of people, places and things is often times the sticking point for most newly sober people. People just coming in do not want to give up the friendships that they have and they most certainly do not want to create new friendships. The prospect of having to create new friendships for most people is a frightening proposition and given the fact that their social crutch of drugs and alcohol is no longer there, having to make new friends seems all the more overwhelming. But what is being suggested with giving up old friendships is often taken out of context and all that it simply means is that you no longer stay in contact with your drug dealers or people who you used with. It does not mean that you have to give up everyone from your past, just people who are associated with your drug or alcohol use. While having to do this seems intimidating at first, most people find that after being sober for a little while and have made sober friends, a lot of these said relationships start to fall to the wayside anyway and so there is no real action that is required.
The reason for this is that sober people and people who are using usually do not have much in common and you will find that the longer you stay sober, the less draw you will have to old using relationships, and vice versa.
The next part of people, places and things is a little simpler for people who are getting sober to understand and to acclimate to. Giving up places just means that you no longer hang around the same bar that you used to drink in or perhaps any bars during your early sobriety, you no longer go to the places where you used or got drugs from, and you avoid any places that you know there will be drinking or drugging. This is not a forever thing and in time, once you have a firm grounding in sobriety, you can attend concerts and pretty much go anywhere on the planet you’d like, as long as you have a good reason to be there, but initially you should avoid any places that remind you of drinking or drug usage.
Now giving up things is a little more ambiguous. What exactly does that mean, because technically a thing could fall into any category? Does it mean giving up certain types of music or movies? Does it mean giving up your car because you used to smoke pot in there? Or does it just mean giving up your drug paraphernalia? In actuality, it could mean giving up all of these things or just some of these things, although the car example is a bit extreme. Basically, all this part of the suggestion is asking is that you give up anything that has the chance of causing a relapse. Anything that you may be holding on to as a reservation, and by doing so allow yourself to become truly immersed in recovery.
The point of asking you to give up things from these three aspects of your life is not so that recovery and the people in it can control you, but rather so you can have the best chance possible at recovering. Addiction and alcoholism are lethal illnesses that can confound the mind and cause people to act irrationally and erratically. By letting go of people that you used with, places that you associate with using, and things that have the chance of bringing you back out, you allow yourself the ability to really try to get sober.
So if you are at a point where you are thinking about getting sober but are afraid to give up any of these things, don’t worry and just go with the flow of it. You will find in time that a majority of your concerns, no matter how founded they may now seem, will not be that important. As you stay sober and as your life begins to change, many of these things will work their way out of your life with little to no effort on your part. Just put one foot in front of the other and do your best.
Seeking Treatment for Alcoholism or Addiction
Getting clean and sober from drugs and alcohol is the most important thing that an addict or alcoholic can do in their life. It is also the most anxiety producing and frightening thing that they can do in their life, but it doesn’t need to be. With help from the professionals at Elevations Health, you can find a new life in sobriety with the least amount of resistance possible. So call us today at 1-866-200-3224 and begin your journey to recovery the right way, with Elevation Health.