Of the many reasons why we want to quit our addictions and focus on recovery are all the ways in which we’re restricted and limited by our addictions over the years. When we’re working to heal ourselves from our addictions and mental health issues, we want to be able to feel at peace within ourselves. We want to be able to be free to focus on our health and well-being. Upon looking back at all of our struggles with addiction, we realize just how restricted we’ve been. Our addictions have hurt us in many ways, one of which being how much they limit us.
One of the major ways in which we’re restricted by our addictions is in how we feel about ourselves. When grappling with addiction, we tend to have a very narrow perception of ourselves. We see ourselves as addicts and little more. We develop negative limiting beliefs about ourselves. Our life story becomes confined to the traumatic stories surrounding our addictions and to all of the problems, issues and challenges we’ve faced over the years pertaining to our addictions. We forget all of the other wonderful things about ourselves. We forget our positive attributes, our accomplishments, our gifts, talents and strengths. We forget that we have a unique and special purpose to fulfill in our lives. We forget everything we love about ourselves and about life. Our addictions cause us to completely disconnect from the truth of who we are. We become alienated from our inner selves and disconnected from our spirits. As a result, we feel lost, empty, hopeless and alone. Our addictions limit and restrict our self-perception to this very narrow view of ourselves and can therefore exacerbate our mental health issues and our addictive patterns.
Another way in which our addictions restrict us is in our relationships with other people. Once they see us as addicts, they find it hard to view us any other way. They too forget the truth of who we are. They make assumptions about us and our ability to get well. They might assume that once we’re addicted, we always will be, and that there’s no hope for our recovery. How we’re perceived by others, and therefore the world, can become quite limited in this way. We’re viewed not for who we are but based on all of the stereotypes and stigmas surrounding addiction. We’re profiled, rejected, shunned and even criminalized because of our illnesses.
We’re not given the same chances other people might be. We might get passed up for job opportunities or promotions because of our addiction history. We might be discriminated against, in the workplace or in public situations. People assume the worst about us, that we’re bad people, that we can’t hold a job, that we’re doomed to a life of crime and poverty. People deny us their compassion and understanding because of the very narrow, very limited assumptions they make about addicts.
Perhaps the most obvious way in which we’re limited by our addictions is in the dependence we develop to the drug or behavior we’re addicted to. We can become so dependent that nothing else in our life matters. It’s as if our entire world revolves around this drug and how we’ll be able to score our next high. We prioritize our drug of choice over our work, our responsibilities and obligations, and our families. We feel sad and remorseful about the choices we make, but we feel unable to stop ourselves. We feel so dependent upon our addiction, so tied to it, so attached and so needy, that we feel we can’t live without it. We pass up opportunities to get ahead in our careers. We sacrifice our passions, our hobbies and our interests. We stop doing all of the things that bring us fulfillment, satisfaction and joy. When we’re in this place, it’s as if nothing else exists. We stop answering the phone and checking email. We stop going to work. We neglect our partners, friends, even our children. We give the vast majority of our time, energy and money to prioritizing getting high. When we can’t afford to score, we’ll do just about anything to get our hands on some. We’ll stoop to low levels of personal shame and disgrace just to make sure we can get high, temporarily forgetting our dignity and self-respect. Then we’re filled with regret. We’re embarrassed and disappointed in ourselves. Needless to say, this can greatly worsen our mental health issues, and we turn to our drugs of choice for solace, comfort and emotional relief, thereby worsening our addictive cycles as well.
In healing from our addictions, it can help us to give thought to all of the ways in which we’ve been limited by our addictions. Our desire to be free from these limitations and restrictions can serve as motivation to get the help we need and to work towards recovery. When we make the choice that we want to be healed and at peace within ourselves, and in harmony with the other people in our lives, we decide we no longer want to be limited in any way. We remember our great potential. We remember all of the dreams we had for ourselves, and we will no longer allow ourselves to be held back, by our addictions or anything else.
The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and the feelings of hopelessness and disconnection that come with it. We’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.