My spiral into the world of drug use started with the idea that they were, in fact, the best thing that had ever happened to me.
The introverted person I was so fond of took a 180-degree turn. I became a social phenomenon when I went out, meeting people left right and center. As such, I embraced my new found confidence.
I almost immediately realized how much people appreciated me in my state of constant partying. In the beginning, I was the silent one sitting in the corner of the classroom. Every now and then I would run into friends from my past and they would always express their delight at the new me. The different social circles I frequented (yes, there were multiple) quickly became the ones to call me to ask what I was doing for the evening.
In the end, I flew too close to the sun, and my wax wings melted. I started to get greedy, always use more to hit the same high point as the last time without realizing that I would never get there. To make matters worse, drugs became a warm blanket that shielded me from my sober self, like a scared child from the dark. At that point I knew it had become more than a habit; it had become an addiction. Understanding that I had a problem was the first crucial step, and to this day, kicking the addiction was the best decision I’ve ever made.
The time I spent in drug addiction rehabilitation was valuable on many different levels. My acceptance of my addiction allowed me to leave it behind. Through doing that, I also learned to forgive and love myself without pretending to be someone else. Instead of faking it, I actively decided to be that someone else. Working on my self-esteem was an incredibly difficult task, and it was a long time before I felt confident and secure without using.
Today, I am proud and happy to share with you 5 of the best things I learned during rehab that changed the way I feel and think about myself.
1. I Practiced Kindness Towards Others, And Towards Myself
Opening up in group therapy was tough at first. Once I got into it and started sharing with others, I understood the value of kindness. Aside from creating a good impression of myself, I constantly got this feeling as though I was seriously contributing valuable information to the lives of other people. That felt really nice. Before long, people started acting kindly to me as well and when I finally stopped being like a scared dog in the corner hiding from everyone, I got to know the people who had experienced similar events to mine. Some were even more traumatic, but one thing was consistent: they were all amazing people. In the end, I learned that by being kind to others, you’re being kind to yourself.
2. I Surrounded Myself With Positive People, In Positive Places
Real life has a tendency to work opposite magnets, while still attracting something. Negative thinking and people attract other negative thoughts and company. Some prefer to accept our experiences as part of destiny or fate, as in a sequence of events that we cannot control. I learned that you can control your life to an extent. You can choose to place yourself in environments that allow you to strive instead of being drowned in negativity.
3. I Realized That I Needed To Take Better Care Of Myself
I barely cared about my physical appearance before rehab. On top of that, my mental health wasn’t of much importance to me either. The icing on the cake was that my weight issues made me want to ignore my entire existence, in a way. I suffered from depression on the inside even though flashing a smile came easy. Pretending to be happy was simple, especially when my drug and alcohol highs temporarily allowed me to forget my issues.
Here’s the irony behind all those memories: at the beginning of the program, I learned that taking care of my hygiene, eating properly, and creating a daily routine helped me feel better. I was healthier, and due to that; I was happier.
4. I Started Thinking Positively About Myself
The general idea is that rehab is all about change and forgiveness. In terms of forgiveness, I needed to accept that others had hurt me. Most of all, I needed to accept myself. In order to achieve happiness, I needed to embrace my past, my mistakes, my imperfections, and find satisfaction in the spaces in between. In time, I could look in the mirror and see that there was a good person looking back at me, not some failure who would never amount to anything.
Self-acceptance wasn’t so bad after I took in a better opinion of myself. I pretty much practiced that old saying about repeating a lie until it becomes true. I had been lying to myself my whole life and in rehab is where I finally started telling myself the truth.
5. I Learned That My Home Reflects Who I Am
One of the most valuable lessons that were taught to me in rehab was that my home would be a mirror image of who I am as a person. I never really cared about keeping my living area tidy because it was a type of chaos I was already used to. Even though it was a mess, I always knew where things were.
I forced myself to become more organized and to clean up more often. Not to make a good impression on guests, but because my belongings are an extension of who I am. I worked for those things and I put effort into getting what I had. By not taking care of my possessions, I was wasting away their value, and therefore wasting myself away.
Rehab taught me many things that I’m eager to share with the world because they make me proud of who I have become. Instead of writing everything out in this one article, I wanted to start off by saying how much my program impacted my self-esteem. When you think about it, it’s a pretty essential step to recovery. You need confidence in yourself in order to say no to the substances that had you in a rut. Once my goals were set and I was on the right path, I quickly realized how much I had progressed.
How have your rehab experiences shaped you as a person? Please share your stories below.