Addiction brings with it many certainties and comforts. The human psyche is generally predisposed to embrace patterns in life, the predictability of existence and repetitive actions. It’s quite common to think about ‘life change’ as undesirable, challenging and scary. Changes that could only seem to be positive at their face to anyone not having to experience them first hand can feel like your entire life structure is about to be forever altered beyond what you’re comfortable with; starting a new job, moving to a new town, even meeting new people. Even something as small as trying a new food can lead to a feeling of anxiety!

The reality is that we’ve all faced those changes, even the positive ones, and we’ve come out of the other side with ourselves in tact. Even if those changes weren’t completely positive. For instance, if the job wasn’t as glamourous or enjoyable as we hoped, they simply don’t end up being the end of the world. Life continues, the world keeps turning and the sun continues to come up in the morning and bring the stars out when it dips behind the horizon in the evening. Things we enjoy continue to be enjoyable despite the big change, like watching a movie with friends or reading a book before bed.

 

Beating Addiction

Some changes, such as beating addiction, can even bring in more opportunities to create a life that is even more comfortable and desirable than the one you have now. The possibilities that come from having more time and money are the easiest to cite when talking about life without the shackles of addiction. The time spent consuming opens up for rescheduling to include activities maybe you’ve always wanted like spending more time with friends, taking up a new hobby or even just rediscovering hobbies you use to have. The financial changes are immediately noticeable. Suddenly there’s money to do the things that maybe weren’t feasible before like exploring the local restaurants in your town and discovering cool shops you never knew existed.  

This can all happen not at the price of the life you know and don’t want to change, but from the stripping away the addiction from your life. Even if you do nothing more and change nothing more than the addiction itself, that life will still be there. You will still be there. Addiction doesn’t define you or the life you want to keep. It may feel at this point that the fear is paralyzing  you today, but the future you, the one free from the burden of substance use, will look back and wonder why it felt so scary in the first place.

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Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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