This article is intended to be used by the general public for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a reference for educational research papers, nor is it a reflection of the services available through our Rehab Program in Thailand.
This is part-one of a two-part series about answering the question, “Who am I?” and finding yourself in sobriety.
One of the most common things that happens for people when they get into recovery is the sense that they have experienced a loss of their own identity. This is because when someone uses drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time, their addiction becomes their identity. For an addict or alcoholic, everything about life is centered around the next fix or the next drink. Their entire existence revolves around nothing more than catching a buzz.
In active addiction, relationships were focused on drinking or using drugs. Pleasure activities centered on getting high or drunk. Even work became a means to an end – the paycheck was just a way to get more drugs or alcohol. It’s no wonder that when people first get sober, they develop this nagging feeling that they don’t know who they are. To make matters worse, they don’t have the first clue about what to do with themselves, how to spend their time, or who to spend it with.
Now that you have gotten into recovery, you may be experiencing a tremendous and profound type of spiritual vacuum that has left you wondering who you are if you aren’t an addict or alcoholic. You may have confused your own identity with the things you did while you were using drugs or drinking alcohol.
We want you to know that you are more than your addiction. Using drugs or alcohol was never your identity – it simply was what you did. Furthermore, you are not the things you did while you were high or drunk. You may have stolen to get drugs. That doesn’t make you a thief. You may have lied when you were drinking. That doesn’t make you a liar. You cannot define who you are by what you did when you were out of your mind on drugs or alcohol.
You have put the past behind you. That was then, and this is now. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes and move on. Now that you are enjoying a life of sobriety, it is important to get to know yourself and develop a healthy, loving relationship with yourself in the present moment.
“Who am I?” This can be a scary question if you don’t have an immediate answer. That’s okay. Be scared for a little while. It won’t kill you. It truly will make you stronger. In all sincerity, it takes a strong person to really delve into this question and look for an honest answer. Many people walking around the world who have never had a drug or alcohol problem have no idea who they are – and, they never find out.
The fact that you are concerned about the fact that you don’t know who you are is good news. It means you feel a nagging sense of emptiness that doesn’t sit well with you. Because you feel this level of discomfort, you will be motivated to do something about it. You will invest the time and put forth the effort and energy required to find an answer to the question, “Who Am I?”
Be sure to check out “Who Am I? Finding Yourself In Sobriety – Part Two.”
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