Those who struggle with addiction might have lost their sense of self. Therefore, it is essential to establish a sense of identity during your recovery. This process takes time and plenty of inner work, but once you feel grounded in who you are, you can find the motivation to maintain sobriety.
Finding Your Values
The most crucial part of building the foundation of your identity is knowing what your values are. Values are words or ideas that you live by that define your moral compass. They help you understand your life’s purpose. Values can be anything, including:
There are plenty of other words and values to choose from. You might not be sure which ones resonate with you. Think about what you tend to care about the most. An example could be something you find yourself upset about the most or something you know makes you feel happy. Something else — or in this case, someone else — to look at is who you admire. There might be a famous person who has qualities that are important to you. Maybe you have a family member that you look up to. Think about why you like this person so much. What about them aligns with your values?
Reconnecting With the Bigger Picture
Another aspect of your identity is your purpose. People who are experiencing addiction might feel lost. They may be using substances to pass the time. They don’t have the motivation to keep living their life as-is. Instead, they use substances to deal with either emptiness, regret from the past, or fear about the future. Taking the time to learn about your values can prepare you for the next step.
Your values can give you an idea of what you feel passionate about. Your passions can help you define your life’s purpose or mission. What could you be doing in your life that can give it meaning? What is something you can do with your life that will provide you with a sense of joy? Knowing your purpose or what you hope to do with your life can give you a starting point for goal setting.
You don’t need to have all of the answers for your purpose or what motivates you right away. This process will likely take time, especially if you feel disconnected from yourself. It’s okay to start small. If your value is family, you might begin by addressing your relationship with them. You can set goals to make amends with family members or work to improve your family situation. If your value is faith, check in to see what plans you could implement to feel more connected to that value, such as attending church more often or reconnecting with a spiritual superior.
Setting Goals for Recovery
Goal setting can help you fulfill your purpose one step at a time. These goals don’t have to be enormous and may prove better if they are smaller at first. If you have a good idea about what motivates you or how you’d like to reconnect with your values, you can start setting goals that align with them. What is something you wish you could accomplish? You might want to be healthy again, or you might like to learn a new skill. What are the steps that you need to take to get there?
When setting goals, it’s important to make sure that they are achievable, relevant, and have a timeline. If they aren’t realistically possible, you might set yourself up for failure, which can be discouraging. If they aren’t relevant to what you actually want out of life, you might lose motivation before completing your goal. The goal might get put aside entirely if you don’t have a timeline.
Taking Care of Your Body
Another way to reconnect with your identity is reclaiming your body. You don’t need to become a fitness guru; however, taking care of your body can help you feel more connected with yourself. This self-care includes maintaining your personal hygiene, filling your body with water and nutrients, physical exercise, and getting enough sleep. Your body, mind, and self are interconnected. However, by treating your body disrespectfully, you’re also treating yourself in the same fashion. Self-care is a form of self-love, and the best way to connect with your identity is to love and nurture it.
Addiction can hurt the body in many ways, so it’s essential to focus on taking care of your body in the early stages of recovery. Every part of you is healing. Concentrating on that care can help you feel connected with yourself. You’ll learn ways to take care of yourself during treatment, which is critical to continue in recovery.
Learning Boundary Setting
It’s common for people struggling with addiction not to have the healthiest relationships. Codependency is very common, especially in couples who both have addictions. They might also have what many call “relationship addiction.” There’s a chance that maintaining boundaries wasn’t taught growing up or that you were exposed to abusive and toxic relationships in the past.
Boundaries among romantic partners, friends, and family are crucial for recovery. Respecting yourself, your needs, and your comfort level in a relationship is vital for maintaining your sense of identity outside of your relationships. Codependent relationships don’t include an individual identity, which is one of the significant contributors to their toxicity. A person’s entire identity revolves around that relationship. There’s nothing separate from it. Learning boundaries and setting them can help you regain a sense of identity outside of your relationships.
Those who struggle with addiction often struggle with feeling a sense of identity. An individual’s entire identity becomes wrapped around their addiction. Once a person finishes treatment, they need to begin rebuilding themselves. This can be a long process and doesn’t happen right away. It’s important not to feel discouraged, and a person shouldn’t feel ashamed for having lost their self of self. Treatment and addiction recovery allows you to find yourself again. Get started today by following the tips above. Getting grounded in your identity is a powerful part of recovery.
At Villa Oasis San Diego, we focus on nurturing the self and reconnecting with ourselves again. If you would like to learn more about the steps you can take to find yourself and truly start living your life, call us today at (323) 739-8673. We are here to help.