Contributed by: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLCL for Addiction Hope
Addictions arise and develop as a result of many factors that interplay together. Depending on the person and their individual experiences, an addition to drugs can mean a multitude of things, including comfort, distraction, indulgence, escape, and more.
Some people may come to find their identity within their addiction to drugs or alcohol or a false sense of purpose. The behaviors and lifestyle developed an addiction and the surrounding community can bring an artificial sense of meaning.
A Statement of Independence or Rebellion
For some individuals, turning to drugs or alcohol may have been a statement of independence or rebellion. In the autonomy of a family setting, it may have been drugs or alcohol that broke relationships, trust, or a value system upheld within a family unit.
Whatever the reasoning, many individuals may find that their addiction is in fact ways of having a distinguished identity or separating from burdening circumstances or experiences.
Losing the Identity They Had
For some recovering addicts, the thought of recovering can mean losing the identity they once found and acquired in their addiction. This may make some individuals fearful of who they might become in recovery or worried that breaking from addiction will only lead to monotony, both in character and personality.
While this is a valid concern, it is important to understand what is really at stake with drug or alcohol addiction and the aspects of identity that can be truly lost in the battle of addiction. Many addicts might feel “free” or unhindered in the high of an addiction, be it to drugs or alcohol.
However, reality often sets in when one crashes from their high. The truth is that while addiction might offer a temporary escape, it is only leading towards fatal consequences that one cannot ever be freed from.
Learning Who You Really Are
Recovery offers a tremendous opportunity to learn who you really are, to find and build an identity that is not ruled by addiction. While it may be scary to let go of everything you have known to be true in your addiction, it is crucial to find help and recovery to find life, hope and healing.
Facing the pain from your past will be difficult, but by doing so, you will enable a future that allows you to thrive and truly live.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
What are some challenges you have faced finding your individuality in addiction recovery?
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 4th, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com