Struggles With Sobriety
It’s common for those who struggle with an addiction to have instability in their lives. They might have a hard time finding housing, securing a job, or staying in a relationship. Getting their basic needs met – home, income for food and clothing, and love – is hard.
Often, if a child gets used to not having his or her basic needs met, he or she may learn to live with very little later in life. That person may develop the pattern of denying his or her own needs. And this can contribute to homelessness, poverty, and disease.
It’s very common to see those who are struggling with an addiction to be living without their basic needs met. And this pattern of instability can continue throughout adulthood. Of course, this isn’t necessarily the fault of the person, but many factors can play a role. Contributing factors could be mental illness, history of abuse or neglect, or growing up with alcoholism in the family.
Meeting Your Own Needs
In fact, you might remember the sociologist Abraham Maslow who wrote about the hierarchy of our needs. He explained that you need to get your most basic needs met first before you can go on to meeting other emotional, psychological, and even spiritual needs.
For example, you need to be sure you have eaten before you can begin to process the sadness you feel about your past. Certainly, addiction treatment will include much attention to healing emotional and psychological needs. However, your safety, physical well being, nourishment and shelter need to be addressed first.
Nonetheless, if you’re trying to stay sober now and you recognize that you don’t have stability, working on creating that in your life will make a significant difference. Make that your top priority.
First assess what you don’t have – home, income, clothing. If you are not living in a stable environment, especially if there are others who use or drink where you currently live, then finding housing will likely be your first priority.
Another point to keep in mind is that safety and feeling safe is just as important as stability. It’s very common to have had the feelings of anxiety, fear, and even terror when you were a child. And if this were the case, it’s common for struggling addicts to know this anxiety and fear as a way of life.
If you recognize that chaos and instability is a way of life for you, imagine what it would be like if it were the other way around. If you had stability and safety in your life, your energy doesn’t have to go toward constantly trying to survive.
Instead, you can tend to your emotional and psychological needs. You can perhaps even explore what you’d like to do with your life. And you can perhaps also dive into what activities, people, and places make you happy.
Making Your Own Choices
Although someone might have struggled with instability all their life doesn’t mean that they are doomed to experience the rest of their lives that way. In fact, you can make a choice to have stability in your life. You can commit to it as well as commit to safety. Although you might be used to instability, you might recall experiences you’ve had when you felt safe.
Try to recall your feelings at that time. Did you feel secure? Loved? Grounded? Protected? Out of harm’s way? Did you have any anxiety at that time? Imagine feeling this way all the time. It’s possible.
If you have all your basic needs met, such as a stable home, money for food and clothing, and love and affection, there’s a chance you might still feel unsafe. You might continue to experience those feelings of danger despite being physically safe. If this is the case, you may want to explore your thoughts and emotions that might be leading to a feeling of danger.
Certainly, working with a therapist or drug counselor can facilitate this process.
Feeling safe is essential for mental, emotional and physical well being. It’s not until you feel this in your life that you can begin to focus on other things.
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