If you’ve decided to pursue recovery from a substance use disorder, you’ve undoubtedly thought about what you want your life to become. Once you’ve broken free from addiction, how will you realize your other hopes and dreams?
Perhaps you want to go back to school. Maybe you’d like to develop new relationships. You might even want to try to run a marathon! Whether or not these pursuits lead to a dramatically different life, simply engaging in the act of personal reinvention can be highly fulfilling.
However, reinventing yourself during and after active recovery requires a dedicated approach and a particular mindset. Here are a few things to consider when you begin the process of reinventing — or rediscovering — yourself.
Learn how to envision your new self.
It can be fun to dream about the life you want. We’ve all pictured ourselves living rich, full lives surrounded by luxury and beautiful friends. Our desire to live the exact sort of life depicted in car commercials is what makes car commercials so effective in the first place. Nevertheless, imagining an alternate version of yourself will only help you reach your goals if you take the right approach.
It’s important to visualize yourself and the life you want realistically. It’s tempting to draw a detailed picture of exactly what you want your life to become. However, the life you live will always be different from the life you imagine. The reinvention process is less about making your life precisely what you think it should be and more about uncovering a fuller picture of your life as it unfolds.
Begin your reinvention by asking yourself the following questions:
- What do I want to achieve with my life?
- How do I want to spend the next 5 years?
- What are my biggest regrets?
- What are my highest achievements?
- What fills me with pride?
Once you’ve answered the above questions honestly, you’ll have a better idea of how to reinvent yourself.
Find your passions.
Perhaps you’ve lived your life by the standards set by your parents, teachers and friends. Maybe you set aside your dreams after starting a family. It’s not unusual for personal responsibilities to overshadow ambitions. If this is the case, you might not have thought much about your own passions, interests or personal goals.
Passions are what make life fulfilling. If you haven’t been living your passions, you might have lost touch with what makes you feel inspired. What do you most enjoy doing in your free time? What activities do you find so immersive that you lose track of time when you perform them? Once you rediscover the interests you find the most rewarding, you can begin to integrate them into your new life.
Assess your skills.
A skills assessment is an especially important step if your road to reinvention includes a career change.
What are your talents? If you’re great at cooking, drawing or DIY projects, you should identify the qualities that cause you to excel at these activities. This will help you navigate the road to reinvention more easily and effectively.
While your talents can help you discover the career path you want to pursue, your personal strengths will give you insight into the particular role you will play within your chosen industry. For example, if you’re interested in drawing as a hobby, you might wish to investigate a career in design. However, if you have a knack for sales as well, advertising could be a great fit.
Organize your thoughts in a journal.
Writing a journal is an excellent way to examine your thoughts and emotions. However, it’s equally important to go back and read your journals to better understand your journey and your history of managing your impulses and actions. While you might think you have an accurate memory of the events in your past, going back and reading your contemporaneous impressions might give you surprising insights.
Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself much of a writer. Your journals aren’t meant for publication; they’re meant for your growth. The quality of the writing doesn’t have to rival the works of Ernest Hemingway. Give yourself permission to let your imagination run wild, or just jot down the events of the day and how they affected you. You’ll be surprised by how much you learn about yourself.
Speak with a therapist or counselor.
The ability to talk in a safe environment can be tremendously helpful, particularly if your journey of self-discovery becomes challenging. Support from a trained specialist can help you develop clear and specific goals and resolve difficult practical issues. Talking out a problem with an empathetic listener can help you solve it, particularly if that problem makes you uncertain or anxious.
Reinventing Yourself With The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we are committed to giving you the tools and support you need to discover a healthier, happier and more fulfilling lifestyle. If you have an issue with substance misuse, we will help you along the path to recovery. If you think inpatient recovery could be right for you, start your journey by learning more about The Raleigh House admissions process.
When you’re ready to uncover your best life, we’re here to help.