October 1, 2018
Addiction impacts nearly every aspect of your life. In many cases, hobbies, work, friends and even family all come second to substance use. If you or someone you know struggles with addiction, you’re probably well-acquainted with how much this illness costs in terms of time, money and energy.
Beginning the recovery process can be daunting, especially if you think about it in terms of obstacles and roadblocks. What if you shifted your focus and thought about recovery in terms of all that you could gain? What if you asked yourself the question, “What would happen if I removed addiction from the equation and had time for the things I used to care about?”
Beginning recovery could allow you to refocus your priorities.
It can be easy to lose sight of what’s important while you’re actively using or drinking. For many, this includes letting relationships with friends and family members fall by the wayside. If you’ve drifted from — or pushed away — people you love because of your substance use disorder, recovery provides a unique opportunity to reconnect and re-establish trust. In cases where trust is broken significantly, this might take time. However, the process of making amends with people you value can be enormously healing in and of itself. Stick to it and be patient. The wait is always worth recovering the support of people you love or, at the very least, gaining the closure that you tried everything you could to make things better.
Addiction recovery is an opportunity to find renewed meaning and purpose in life. One of the best ways to find renewed meaning in life after addiction is to explore activities and subjects you’re curious about. Interested in hiking? Lace up your sneakers and check out the nearest trail. Always wanted to learn to paint? Sign up for a painting class. Intrigued by modern art? Spend a day at a museum. The key is not to limit yourself and to keep experimenting until you find something that you truly enjoy.
Recovery isn’t something you can accomplish alone. Friends, family members, co-workers and even strangers can have a life-changing impact on how and when you make the decision to get sober. Once you’ve participated in treatment and have begun the journey to a better life, you then can help others who are in recovery too.
After treatment, you can be supportive of someone else and use your experiences to empower others. Whether you help out at a food pantry, share your story with people close to you or reach out to a crew member who is struggling, using your time to help others can help you stay committed to recovery and make a difference in the lives of others. You can even become an IAFF trained peer and help your fellow IAFF members by encouraging open communication and serving as a bridge to helpful resources.
If you or someone you love struggles with a substance use disorder, help and healing are available. It all begins with professional care. Created by fire fighters, for fire fighters, the IAFF Center of Excellence is specifically designed to address the needs of IAFF members with addiction, mental health and co-occurring disorders. If you’re ready to take the first step towards a better life, reach out to a representative today for more information.