When an individual faces a drug or alcohol dependency, they are likely struggling with their mental health as well, for there is a definite tie between the two. The same goes for those who are mentally ill, their likelihood of abusing drugs or alcohol is much higher than those in a different head space. Regardless of the reasons one decides to turn to and find themselves reliant on drugs or alcohol, they likely carry a feeling of guilt, shame, or disappointment for the path they went down. Whether you have overcome your addiction, are in the process of recovery, or are still actively facing it head-on, there is an important message to keep in mind: your addiction does not define you. Yes, addiction is a part of your life and not one you should necessarily disregard, but it is not a way to classify yourself. You are not your mistakes. You are not your past. Technically, you are not even who you were yesterday; you are how you are living in this moment. Who you are is what you take away from the situations you have been in, and how you use this knowledge to better yourself today and in your future. For those beginning their path to sobriety, you have to decide who you want to be, and how you will achieve this. Since you are not your addiction, you have the world in your hands to become whatever you’d like, built upon who you already are. Whether you are a mother, a son, a baseball player, or a teacher, you are a human being that is worth more than being labeled for your addiction. Removing this label from your life starts today. With every new day comes the opportunity to start fresh, and implicate these lessons learned from your experiences.
With fighting addiction, dwelling on your past is one of the worst things you can do for yourself and the progress you are making. This will only hold you back from living to your fullest potential, with dark thoughts and reminders of the decisions you made. If you define yourself by a specific action, you have committed or a time frame in your life you are giving others the opportunity to do so as well. When we define ourselves by a specific factor, we lose sight of all the other qualities we possess. If you are recovering from your addiction, this should be the most monumental, and exciting time of your life! Focus on how far you have come and how much more you have ahead of you, rather than overthinking what cannot be changed. If you are currently dealing with addiction, seek treatment. Through treatment, you will be reminded of the potential you have and encouraged and supported as you go through this transition. After all, in order to stop being defined by your addiction the most relevant factor is putting abusing drugs or alcohol behind you. Remember who you are, who you were before your addiction, the relationships you value, the hobbies you enjoy and what you are passionate about. You are worth living a life free of this addiction, for you are loved, appreciated, and 100% capable of putting this struggle behind you.
Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer of Landmark Recovery drug and alcohol recovery center and has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years now with a new emphasis on recovery. Before his ventures into healthcare, Matthew graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. After Duke Matthew went on to work for Boston Consulting Group before he realized where his true passion lies within Recovery. His vision is to save a million lives in 100 years with a unique approach to recovery that creates a supportive environment through trust, treatment, and intervention.