Addiction recovery is a very personal journey. No two recovery journeys will look the same. As someone begins their journey towards sobriety, they must find their means of expression, coping mechanisms, and goals to define their identity outside of drugs or alcohol. Group therapy is vital in building a community, but each person is there for their own individual reason. As a result, someone must continuously be open to trying new therapies to further their own recovery, as well as further define their own identity in their sobriety, and their lives in the “real world.”
Recovery is Personal and Non-Linear
Recovery from drugs or alcohol is a personal journey that each person will address within themselves. People’s goals and reasons for getting sober will differ, and so will the strategies they use to cope with their urges and stressors in daily life. There is no “one way” to recover from an addiction, and there is no timeframe that someone can use to gauge their success. Instead, each person will find their pride and success in their own time. This puts a lot of agency in the hands of those in recovery. This empowerment helps them experiment with their own kinds of healing. It can also encourage each person to learn from each other and opens the gate for someone to try new therapeutic practices and coping strategies in their own lives. Each person can take recovery at their own pace and continuously try therapies most pertinent to them. This ensures that someone is experiencing a treatment that works for them. It also guarantees that the person in recovery is an integral part of their own success.
There are many therapies available for each person to try in their own recovery path. The ones that stick with each person can indicate their own search for their identity through recovery. Things like art therapy, media therapy, or meditation can help someone cope with their daily life stressors in the moment. They can also be the tools that someone needs to begin to find and express their new identities in sobriety.
Art therapy can take many forms and isn’t limited to using paints or pencils on canvas, although that certainly can be one aspect of art therapy. It can include sculpting clay or painting on a variety of different mediums to establish meaning. It is malleable enough for each person to find an outlet that works for them. Art therapy is a way for each person to express many of their emotions when words may seem inadequate. Instead, they want to give their feelings, difficulties, and goals a more physical, tangible form. This is a way for someone to create their own success in a literal and figurative way. This can help someone begin to separate themselves from their own negative emotions and give shape to their daily struggles in a way that makes sense to them individually.
Media Therapy uses other art forms with intention, such as television programs, movies, or even video games as outlets for character study and emotional expression. Someone can find ways to use media therapy as an outlet for their anxiety. For example, horror movies are commonly used to give form to anxieties and gain agency over them. Others may use the characters in media to better understand the people around them and how they can begin to process their own emotions. Using video games with this intention can help someone live vicariously through another character and explore their mental state while expressing themselves in a secure medium.
Meditation is a calming strategy that someone can use to detach themselves and process their own emotional state. This practice is especially useful during IOPs, as newly sober people find themselves flung into the “real world.” After a structured rehab facility, recovering addicts face constant exposure to the seemingly break-neck speeds and stressors that come with each and every day. Meditation can be a way to address anxiety, depression safely, or other urges that occur on a regular basis. Additionally, it allows them to calmly detach from stress in a relaxing, controlled atmosphere, ultimately giving them a better sense of control over their daily lives.
These are just a couple of the different options available to someone in recovery. Each person in recovery has the agency to experiment with various therapeutic practices and explore their own identities in sobriety. Having the agency and constant access to new ideas can help keep someone motivated and inspired to continue on their own recovery path. Retaining that motivation can be the key to prolonged, proud sobriety.
There are numerous techniques that each person can employ on their own path to recovery. Working alongside supports and professionals can help each person realize their own passions and goals for their sober future. We personalize the continuum of care, from sober living to intensive outpatient programs, in order to best fit an individual’s needs and identities in recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol and are ready to take the first step towards your own, individualized future, Lighthouse is here to help.