The topic of addiction recovery and freedom aren’t often discussed. Many even think of recovery in terms of loss of freedom — the person in early recovery complains that they can’t go to nightclubs for a night on the town, can’t have that glass of wine that makes good meals even better, can’t go to tailgate parties, can’t attend that weekly women’s night out on Thursday, etc. Yes, in the beginning certain activities are best avoided if they put recovery at risk, but this is in the beginning.
As recovery grows, the recovering person’s world expands, then, looking back, addiction is seen as the lack of freedom it had always been. The addict in the middle of addiction holds on to the false idea that liberty is found in a mood-altering substance. In reality, the addict makes her world smaller and smaller, controlled more and more by the drug. The addict loses old friends who don’t like the drinking/drug using lifestyle. The addict doesn’t go to places anymore that would highlight their addiction. The addict gives up hobbies that were once pleasurable as addiction takes more time and effort. The addicts world gradually shrinks, and any idea of freedom exists only in make-believe fueled by an artificial stimulant, and then even that fantasy fades. The addict eventually loses all sense of freedom and struggles each day to reach a state of “normal” that becomes more elusive as time goes by.
Addiction recovery and freedom are synonymous. Once recovery’s established, the person’s world opens to many new possibilities. Go back to school — get a new job — enrich relationships — revisit old recreational interests and discover new ones — go where you want to go without fear — enjoy clarity of mind –experience life in all it’s realness, fullness and uniqueness. In early recovery this all sounds like flowery talk, but the addict who reaches true recovery doesn’t think so — all of this becomes a way of life, and true freedom is experienced on a daily basis. The addict who finds this freedom in recovery is grateful and humble, and, given the opportunity, usually wants to help others to find this same transformation — not through promotion, but through attraction. Witnessing someone make the journey through addiction recovery and freedom is inspiring.