Love and drugs can both be highly addictive, which is why getting sober can feel like a break-up. No matter how good or bad the relationship was, it is always extremely emotional to deal with a break-up. Deep down you probably know in your heart that breaking up is the right thing to do, but your heart and your brain often disagree about love and relationships. You can be completely miserable in a relationship, but the thought of losing that person can still be horrifying and painful. Many times, you will find those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol describing their relationship with drugs and alcohol in ways that sound exactly like describing a romantic relationship. That is just one of the many ways addiction itself is like being in a relationship, which means getting sober is going to feel extremely similar to a break-up.
Here are just a few of the ways how getting sober isn’t just like a break-up, but it actually is a break-up:
Dealing with the Loss of the Relationship
Getting sober requires getting rid of whatever substance you are abusing, whether it is alcohol or drugs. It means making changes in your life so that you will not be as tempted to use that substance anymore. It may feel like you are losing something (alcohol, or in some cases drugs), but really you are gaining something. In an unhealthy relationship, you stop seeing the toxic person you were in a relationship with, but in this instance, you are in a toxic relationship with drugs or alcohol.
You aren’t losing anything though. It is true you “lose” your partner, but you aren’t really losing anything, you are gaining freedom and the chance to raise your self-confidence and self-esteem. In reality, you are gaining so much.
Managing Withdrawal: The Emotional & Physical Kind
When you go through a break-up, you may feel like you are in an unbearable amount of pain. The loss is only one of those feelings that contribute to your pain. One thing you may also be going through is withdrawal. When you are in a relationship that ends, you will go through a similar withdrawal from no longer having that person in your life.
You probably used to spend a lot of time together, whether it was in person at home or going out, or even over text messaging and social media. If something great happened in your day, you had the urge to reach out to that person. Alternatively, if you had a lousy day, you also had the urge to reach out to your partner, whether for advice or just the opportunity to have someone listen to you and your problems.
It’s hard getting over the mindset to reach out to your partner whenever something remarkable happens in your day, just like with substance abuse. When you cut out alcohol or drugs, you will go through both physical and emotional withdrawal. You will think about it when you have a lousy day or when you are hanging out with friends and want to use it “recreationally” and just “for fun.”
Just like in a relationship with a person, you have to get used to the idea of life without that other thing, but over time it does get easier. To make this withdrawal, and the cravings and urges to use substance abuse easier, it helps to seek professional assistance from trained medical professionals to aid in your newfound sobriety and avoid the pitfalls of relapse. Once you make it through the withdrawal and treatment process, you will find new hobbies and sober friends who will be supportive and beneficial to your sober life. It’s never going to be easy to go to the same places you used to go with your partner or where you used substances. To try to make your recovery easier, explore new places or engage in new activities that you’ve never done before.
Shame & Guilt: Playing Into Relapse
Everyone experiences shame and guilt at some point, and many times when going through conflict, you are going to do things you aren’t proud of. Did you message him way too many times because you were worried he was slipping away? Did you insult her because you were hurt and wanted to lash out? Whatever it was, you probably said or did something you are ashamed of and wish you could take back. You can’t take it back, and you know that. That is why shame can be so painful. This is the same with substance abuse. Have you said things or done things you shouldn’t have while abusing drugs or alcohol and wish you could take back? The only thing you can do is go through treatment and get better.
There is no need to feel shame because of your past. You can’t change the past, but you can change your future. Everyone makes mistakes, and when you are going through treatment on your path to recovery, I guarantee you will make mistakes. Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and you are amazing for trying to better yourself. Don’t set unrealistic expectations and standards that require no wiggle-room for change. Be open-minded, and you will accomplish amazing things. Focus on recovery and not on shame.
Break-Up with Drugs for Good with the Help of Odyssey Recovery
Your mind may tell you that you don’t need to quit using. Don’t listen. That’s the disease of addiction talking to you. Make the decision to change your life today and get help for drug & alcohol addiction at Odyssey Recovery.