‘Lighting that flame inside of me’: Why Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Requires Rediscovering the Joy in Life
By Constance Ray
Photo credit: Pixabay
Anyone who has ever suffered from depression will tell you that there were times they felt completely alone in the world — as though they had no one to turn to, no one who could possibly understand them, no real support system to lean on. This is often true for people battling addiction as well. Too often, they feel as though they can’t reach out for help because there simply won’t be anyone willing to take their hand and help them find the way to a happier, healthier path.
But one of the many things we discovered during our conversations with people in addiction recovery is that that’s simply not the case. No matter what you’re going through, there will always be someone out there to help you.
Just take these inspiring tales from three people in recovery we spoke with — their stories of finding the help they needed will inspire anyone going through a difficult time, be it addiction, depression, or just one of life’s many rough patches.
Along with finding sobriety, Joui said he took away skills from his addiction treatment that not only keep him from turning to drugs or alcohol, but also keep him positive when times get tough.
“I learned a lot of coping skills [in rehab], from seeking safe environments and anger resolution,” he shared. “That gave me a better outlook on the way I present myself as a person and how I should go about things in a different way instead of automatically jumping the gun by getting angry about something.”
He also learned that there were always people there to lend him a kind word or shoulder to cry on. He said his peers were instrumental in showing him the light:
“I met a lot of good friends here — some people that I’ll never forget, and some people that I’m going to carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Like Joui, Kyle also went through his share of lonely periods. But seeking treatment helped him lower his guard and boost his confidence. It also made him realize that he’s not alone.
“When I came here, I never really had actual good friends,” he confessed. “There are people [in recovery] that have taught me what real friendships are, even though I’ve only known them for 30 or 40 days. Now I know what real friendships are.”
Rehabilitation even helped Kyle develop a sense of purpose: he learned there are a lot of wonderful ways he could help others who had walked the same path.
“As someone who struggled with addiction, I can certainly relate to being in a dark place, looking for a way out. Also, as someone who works helping those suffering, I can attest to the power of an outreached hand and the words ‘no shame.’” – David Coté, Recovery Advocate
“Eventually I went from being an angry person who used to isolate himself in his room to being downstairs in the yard and helping people,” he said. “I was helping new people who wanted to leave, and explaining my own story and telling them what I’ve been through.”
Change is hard for anyone, but it’s even more difficult when you’re trying to transition from a place of darkness to one of light. That’s especially true for people battling addiction.
“I often feel that when detoxing off any substance, you’re going through an emotional roller coaster,” Kenny surmised.
But he said that entering heroin addiction treatment, along with the peers he met there, helped him build the toolbox he needs to stay both sober and happy. His advice is valuable to people going through all kinds of hardships, not just addiction.
“The main thing to do is to find certain things that take your mind off of the outside world,” he explained.
“I am working on finding my own personal happiness and lighting that flame inside of me, and I feel like once I find that happiness and it’s secure, then sobriety will be the least of what I’m worried about.”
Joui, Kyle, and Kenny’s insights are obviously full of wonderful advice for people working to overcome their addiction — but much of what they say we can all take a lot away from, especially if we’re feeling depressed. Despite what our minds — or our drugs of choice — may try to convince us, we are never alone, and there is never any shame in reaching out for help. We just may find what we need, and put ourselves on the path to the fulfilling life we all deserve.
As Joui concluded, “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall … someone’s always going to pick you up.”