What have been the greatest challenges being a young person in long-term recovery?
For me, getting sober at a young age made me think I did not use “enough” to be qualified as an addict. These thoughts kept me from getting the help I needed earlier. Once I realized that my bottom was whenever I decided to stop digging and was able to focus on the emotional bottom I also reached, I was able to ask for help. Also, being surrounded by peers who are actively engaging in drugs and/or alcohol, whether socially or addictively, made it difficult to seek help. I had to make the conscious decision to put myself first and put effort into curating a community of like-minded people.
What have been some of the benefits of being a young person in long-term recovery?
I have found that the benefits of being in recovery far surpass the difficulties. I have a greater sense of who I am as an individual and have been able to get in touch with suppressed emotions and feelings. Through Intensive Outpatient Therapy (IOP), Outpatient Therapy (OP), individual therapy, and family therapy, I have learned skills that I am now able to implement in my daily life with ease. These skills have come from DBT and CBT therapy practices and have helped me regulate difficult emotions, calm anxieties, and cope with negative feelings. I have also been able to find a purpose in using my painful story for good in others’ lives and have found a new level of relatability to other young people.
What have you discovered to be fun activities to do sober?
Getting sober, I thought my social life would be over and any chance of having fun would be taken away from me. Over time, I have learned that there are so many opportunities to have fun while maintaining my sobriety. Hobbies that I have found include hiking, painting, and exercising. Taking care of all aspects of my health – physical, mental, and spiritual – have remained a top priority for me.