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Recovery, Living Beyond Limitations

Updated: Jun 6

When I walked into my first treatment centre the message I received was "You're an Addict"... well um ok. "You're going to be an addict for the rest of your life".... Hmmmm so now what? "And if you don't find a new way of life, your end will be jails, institutions, or death"..... A new way of life? What the hell is that? what does it look like? what if I lose myself? does this mean I have to live a mundane life that consists of a 9-5 job, a husband, 2.5 kids a dog, and a white picket fence? If that's all life has to offer then I don't want it.

A new way of life.... what a scary concept. Stepping into the unknown, which in all honestly I wasn't sure even existed. What I had known the world and life to be was painful. Fast-paced. everyone out for themselves. It was a matter of survival of the fittest... Survival... that's no way of living.

I was born and raised in the city of JHB. I attempted to create an identity that fit into the mold of being the typical "City girl". As much as I tried, and although outwardly I managed the facade, internally I knew this life was not enough. Somehow, without consciously realizing it I sought adventure, connection, exploration, and the only way I knew how to fill those needs was through the lifestyle of addiction.

Substance abuse became my way of exploring, getting away with the scheming and scamming, and finding ways and means to continue using was what I believed to fill that need for adventure... and the connection, well I believed I had found that in my fellow addicts.

The reality is, those feelings were short-lived, and as my addiction progressed, the more I realized that these beliefs I had, were flawed.

Just as I felt trapped in the concrete jungle that is JHB, I began to feel trapped in this lifestyle of chaos stress, guilt, loneliness, and ultimately just hopelessness.

Is this all that life has to offer? Are these my only two options? To live a life where I couldn't be my authentic self. Both made me miserable and real life became pointless. Joy became false, and adventure... well that became a myth.

The truth is recovery is possible. But what does that mean?

Once starting my journey into recovery, I recall looking at the people that were managing this way of life, and honestly, I thought they were just as full of nonsense as the rest of the world. Slowly but surely I started to realize these people were on this journey of discovery that I had longed for, for so many years.

Recovery is a process of healing, physically I got stronger, and mentally, I began to understand what addiction is, I learned to accept how out of control I was, spiritually, and this for me, took a long time. I started feeling less depressed, and hopeless and began to believe that no matter what challenges came my way I was and will be ok.

Addiction is a response to stress and painful life experiences that leads to limited freedom. For me, and so many others, it was an attempt to find an escape from daily struggles. But what we often don't realize is that, although addiction might provide a reprieve from the pain, it does not free us from being limited. Instead of true freedom, addiction brings feelings of being trapped, lonely, and depressed.

I tried new things, some things. Some of those things were difficult, like understanding who I am, who I want to be, and how the hell I would get there.

Other things were the ability to feel a real adrenalin rush, things like sky diving, which I never even thought I had wanted to try, and hiking, which previously made no sense or even appealed to me... Scuba Diving; Abseiling; White water rafting. All these crazy things that I thought were mundane and irrelevant.

I tried playing golf. GOLF!!! seriously who would have ever thought that this would be something I might enjoy?

These were all things that I honestly never considered before. I was never open-minded to the excitement that life has to offer... and my life.

I had no idea who I was or what I enjoyed. What I wanted to become or how I fit into the world. For the longest time, I was resentful about my very existence. I believed I was destined to live this awful life of misery, without meaning. I hated my life and the only thing that did make any sense was the knowledge that the life I was previously living, was one I did not want.

The journey of recovery is ultimately an adventure in discovering the joy and meaning of life beyond the limitations caused by addiction Meanwhile, addiction keeps us limited by trapping us in cycles of stress and pain that we're trying to escape. But the recovery journey is ultimately an adventure in exploring a world beyond these limitations and finding new ways to live life with peace and joy. There's a new sense of freedom that comes from discovering the meaning of life beyond addiction, and it's a great way to show yourself what you're truly capable of achieving.

Painful emotions and experiences can feel overwhelming and so looking for an easier way out is understandable. But unfortunately, addiction only serves to keep us in these cycles of avoidance and limited growth. Instead of viewing pain as negative, you can change your mindset once you begin to see the lessons in those experiences, Challenges, and difficulties are part of life, as uncomfortable as they may be in the moment. It is part of our journey.

Thankfully, there are pathways out of addiction that can help you live a life full of adventure and potential. By exploring different therapies and activities you can gain insight into your inner workings as well as create more healthy coping mechanisms to replace your addictive ones.

This can open up a whole world of possibilities that would otherwise remain closed off due to addiction. So take a chance on yourself and make the journey toward recovery today; you'll be amazed at how much freedom it brings you!

Recovery from Addiction... WOW !! what an exhilarating experience. and what a gift to be allowed to start again.


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