Addiction is both a physical and psychological condition. More often than not, addressing the physical aspects of your addiction is far more straightforward than contending with the psychological components. That is why overcoming the obsession of using drugs and/or alcohol is largely a psychological and emotional process. When you are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, your life revolves around them. You are either in the process of obtaining, using, or craving your drug of choice. When you enter treatment, you may no longer be obtaining or using those substances, but you may still crave them. Even if your craving ceases, your thinking is primarily focused around them and how they impact your life.
While it is important to explore those issues, fixating on them is not the answer. That is merely replacing one obsession with another. Instead, you need to vary your focus and expand your thinking. Assuming you have entered treatment and are already devoting significant time and attention to your addiction issues, here are some ways that can combat your obsession with drugs and alcohol while also helping to enrich your life.
1. Revisit old interests.
Before addiction took over your life, you had other interests. Maybe you were an avid reader, an enthusiastic artist, or a determined athlete. The things that held your attention before drugs and alcohol entered your life can become meaningful once again. By revisiting old interests and hobbies, you can reawaken parts of yourself that you thought were lost. The more time and energy you invest in healthy and fulfilling behaviors, the less significant drugs and alcohol will become in your life.
2. Redefine your dreams.
For many people, addiction is triggered by the loss of a dream. Too often we define ourselves by one thing and build our whole lives around that. Consequently, when we lose it, regardless of what it is or why, we are devastated and cannot see beyond our disappointment and grief. This myopic perspective does not serve you well. Instead, you should expand your notion of who you are and what happiness is. Being sober is now your dream, but you should not confine your dreams to just one aspiration. For example, while a specific career path may no longer be an option, you can find new ways to incorporate what you loved about that dream back into your life. You can also develop new professional goals, whether they are related to your old ones or not.
3. Reconnect with others.
As part of your recovery process, you will make amends and try to repair your fractured relationships. That, however, is only one way to reconnect with other people. Today, more than ever, it is easy to find someone you lost touch with, and that individual may not have been directly affected by your addiction. A childhood friend, a distant cousin, or an old co-worker are examples of people we may drift away from for no real reason other than time and distance. Reacquainting ourselves with those who used to mean a great deal to us is a very powerful thing, especially when they have not been affected by your addiction. That “lost” time actually provides you the opportunity to reclaim your old self and reinvent who you are today.
4. Reconsider your options.
Life is full of experiences we have either disliked or not tried at all. This is the time to reconsider the options that are available to you and whether you would like to try any of them. This can be as simple as a new hobby or as major as a new career. This exploration and these new things require significant time, energy, and focus. Each time you cultivate interests, new or old, you are reducing the place of drugs and alcohol in your life.
Of course, in the early days of treatment, your focus will and should be your addiction, its causes, and how to free yourself from its grasp. An effective treatment program, however, will have a multi-tiered approach that addresses your physical, psychological, and emotional needs. Overcoming the obsession of using drugs and alcohol requires you to nurture different facets of yourself, cultivate new interests, and provide yourself with multiple ways to connect with the world around you. Eventually the new and the healthy will crowd out your old and destructive thoughts and behaviors. Your addiction will always be a part of you, but there is so much more to who you are and what your life can be.