If you were to attend a social event in or around Los Angeles, you would see that there are a variety of people in attendance. Of course, attend any event anywhere, and you’ll notice the various personalities and styles of people. However, a large city like Los Angeles, and even surrounding cities like Westlake Village, will have a range of colorful personalities.
There are men and women who are eccentric and even peculiar. There might be others who are conservative and who keep their souls and hearts reeled in, and who don’t give away their feelings so easily. Still, there are others who are passionate intellectuals who wear their glasses as a sign of their education. And then, Los Angeles is also filled with yogis who fit the trendy spiritual groove and who carry yoga mats on their shoulders. All sorts of people fill the rooms of social events happening within and around the city.
Having a Sense of Self
However, for recovering addicts, having a firm sense of self can be difficult. Knowing who you are can get washed away in an addiction, especially with years of drinking and/or drugging. Knowing what you like, what you don’t like, what motivates you, what your desires and dreams are can go down the drain with many years of addiction.
Furthermore, some recovering addicts never had a sense of self to begin with. An individual might have reached for alcohol to be “seen”, to hide behind another version of themselves, to fit into a group when underneath they felt the pain of self-rejection, or to feel loved and accepted by others. Not having a sense of self could have started the whole destructive journey of addiction.
Treatment Should Include Opportunities for Self-Discovery
For this reason, drug addiction treatment should include opportunities for self-discovery. It should involve inward seeking practices such as journaling, meditation, yoga, exercise, and creative expression. Other forms of discovering who you are can be learning what your body needs to stay healthy, making choices that help create a safe foundation for yourself, and choosing friends who are supportive.
Of course, becoming who you are is a slow process. There’s no question that participating in drug addiction treatment is a form of self-love. In fact, going through drug withdrawal and making room for what is healthy in your life is the beginning of self-discovery.
Then, to further restore your relationship with yourself, continue to participate in inward searching practices. In this way, you can come to know who you are, your unique responses to life, your feelings, thoughts, and ideas. Getting to know yourself is a necessary part of getting sober. Doing so can facilitate finally making choices that are no longer self-destructive, but instead life-affirming and self-loving. In fact, any recovering addict should know that every human being has a psychological need to discover a sense of self. When that fails to happen it can cause dysfunction and disease later in life.
Healthy Relationship with Yourself
Erik Erikson is a developmental psychologist who described the entire life span as a series eight stages, each of which are difficult life conflicts. Successfully moving through those conflicts will aid in an individual’s psychological and developmental growth. He described one of these stages – adolescence – as the need to find one’s unique identity, reach for one’s independence, uncover one’s uniqueness, and discover the role one will play in life. If an individual doesn’t achieve this task, he or she will need to accomplish this task later in life.
To make things worse, Western culture strongly emphasizes seeking the acceptance of yourself from external sources. It is difficult to discover yourself in the face of the myriad of images the media presents. In order to look good tonight you need to buy this dress, the commercials tell us. In order to feel good you need to wear this cologne, say the ads. However, finding yourself won’t come from wearing or doing anything externally based, and it certainly won’t come from drinking or taking in any sort of drugs. Instead, becoming more and more who you are requires developing a healthy relationship with yourself.
Drug addiction treatment can include opportunities for self-discovery, and if for some reason it doesn’t, be sure to return to loving yourself and let that facilitate the re-discovery of who you are.