Congratulations on the decision you have made to take your life back from your addiction! You have learned that you can control your addiction, and decided that it will no longer control you.
Due to the nature of addiction, an addict needs to constantly work on his recovery to prevent relapse. Most recovering addicts have discovered aspects of themselves that they need to explore further, change, or enhance—aspects of their personality that may have predisposed them to the addiction, or strengths they can work to cultivate. This is one of the most crucial parts of the recovery process.
As you now know, the only way to truly acquire sobriety is to create a life for yourself that does not require addictive behaviours to keep you happy and comfortable. Exploring these aspects of yourself will help you to continue developing a fulfilling life, and counselling will provide guidance along your journey. You do not need to remain in counselling forever, but you do need to dedicate enough time to it to allow you to work on these issues and feel comfortable with the results. You must also remain 100 percent abstinent. As the famous saying from AA goes, “One drink is too many and a thousand is not enough.”
The idea of abstinence for the rest of your life can be overwhelming though, especially since your addictive behaviours used to be the only way you were able to cope with certain aspects of living. That is why the concept of one day at a time, or even one hour at a time, is so important. You also need to develop coping skills that will help you deal with the difficult situations that will arise during your recovery, learning to rely on other ways of managing stressful situations.
In addition to working through the various issues that you have been struggling with, you will also need to learn relapse prevention techniques. Understanding your triggers and learning how to deal with them, as well as learning about appropriate support people, is crucial for successful recovery.
Because of the many challenges that are all an implicit part of recovery, it is important that you seek a therapist with expertise in the field of addiction. Addiction is very different from any other mental health or medical condition, and the possibility of going back to your old ways is too great a risk to take. With experienced, professional help, you can be successful in your recovery and lead a rewarding life, one day at a time.