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Our addictions and mental health issues can cause us to totally lose sight of ourselves, our direction in life, our purpose, and our values. We become disconnected and misaligned. We neglect our health, our safety and our well-being; our work, our obligations, and our families. We forget what’s most important to us. We essentially abandon ourselves, our goals and dreams, our life’s mission. We get off track and lose hope. Recovery is not just about sobriety or abstinence, although they are a huge part of our healing. It’s also about getting back to the life we left behind, a life that was filled with love, joy and fulfillment.

For many of us, we’re not returning to this life, we’re creating it for the first time. We might have been suffering from addiction and mental illness from an early age, before we had the chance to design a life we were truly happy with. We might feel as though our struggles with addiction and mental illness have eradicated anything that was left of our former lives, leaving us without any fragments to pick up and piece back together. For those of us who feel this way, we have to reinvent ourselves and create a life we love from scratch. We have to figure out what our values are, what we want out of life, what we want to accomplish, and how we’ll go about making it happen for ourselves. This process is daunting, overwhelming and scary, especially at first. We feel intimidated by how much work we have to do. We feel intimidated by other people’s success, envious even. It can help us conquer these fears to keep sight of our goals and dreams, to write them down, make vision boards of them, meditate and reflect on them, and set intentions for how we’ll work to manifest them.

For those of us who do feel we had a life we were happy with at one point, the process will involve unearthing the past, something that’s difficult for many of us. We’ll want to stop our patterns of avoidance and denial. We’ll want to stop suppressing our thoughts and feelings in the hopes of forgetting all of our troubling past experiences. We’ll have to work to remember and resurrect our former lives, including the challenging aspects, if we want to move forward and get back to a place of happiness and inner peace. Reclaiming our lives, getting back to a life that we love, that we’re happy about and that we can be proud of, is some of the most important work we’ll do in recovery.

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you get back the life you love. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.