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  • Let's Talk: Identity and Recovery

    Community Builder
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    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 9:59 am

    Let's Talk: Identity and Recovery

    Tue May 31, 2022 11:28 am

    Identity and Recovery!


    The word identity is thrown about a lot. How we are perceived by others, how we present ourselves and how we want to be seen can often be at the forefront of our mind. There are so many factors that shape our identities and it is in a constant state of flux.

    Addiction and recovery both heavily influence our identities. The way substance use is viewed within society can have a massive effect on people. Some may find it difficult to break away from the stigmatising language, and may begin to see themselves through that same negative lens. This is why for many, recovery offers a chance to create a new identity that reflects the version of themselves that they are working towards.

    It can feel overwhelming, thinking about how to create a new identity. The easiest place to start is by reflecting on a few simple questions

    How do I see myself?

    How do I want to be seen?

    How have addiction and recovery influenced how I see myself?

    There won’t be an immediate answer, but by giving yourself time to reflect on those questions you can start to form an idea of the identity you would like to build for yourself as you move through recovery. Everyone has elements of themselves that they are proud of and want to be recognised for. It’s these elements that you can draw on to recreate your identity during recovery.

    It’s also important to remind yourself that you are not solely defined by your substance use. It is an aspect of you, which has had power over you but is not you. You are able to create an identity beyond substance use.

    So how do you see your identity?

    How do you think your recovery journey has influenced how you see yourself?

    I’d love to hear from others in the forum about how they are tackling this in their own recovery journeys!

    @Azura @PnorkelPW @ScorpionPW @MoodyM00 @Katiee @jaded462 @HappyDays @cryptocat @Josh1111 @WildeReformed @Betterme1 @Lea12
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    Re: Let's Talk: Identity and Recovery

    Thu Jun 02, 2022 12:03 am

    @Lhiver I really love this idea, it's really tapping into this idea of what do we value, and are the things we are doing moving us towards or away from our values? I think of myself as a supportive friend, but sometimes I forget to reach out to the people I love or bail on commitments because I feel overwhelmed or tired.

    When we consistently act against our values we start to see ourselves in a negative light. In my example, I start to see myself as a bad friend and as I start to tell myself that story it becomes more and more true and I feel worse and worse about myself. It's good to remind ourselves of what's important to us so we can more clearly see if we're living in a way that compliments our values and moves us towards a self concept that we're proud of.
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    Re: Let's Talk: Identity and Recovery

    Thu Jun 09, 2022 9:53 pm

    My past will remind me not define me………………this really resonated with me when I first heard it in early recovery.

    For so long in addiction I didn’t want to be the person I was. I was living out of alignment with my values and the longer it went on the more it affected my self esteem. I was lying, manipulating and everything had an ulterior motive. I was selfish, negative, treating people the way they didn’t deserve to be treated and I just didn’t like the way I was. The longer this went on the more I drank and used because it helped to block it all out……..and sent me further into depression.

    Constantly being focused on the negative I just saw myself as a f&%$ up. I had tried so many times to stop using and drinking but failed every time so I had labelled myself a failure. So many of my goals went unfulfilled or were tried but never achieved and I saw myself as a failure. I knew I was capable of so much more but didn’t feel like I was making any progress which added to the feeling of failure.

    I thought because I’d tried to change so many times but was unable to maintain it that I was destined to live life as a failure.

    In recovery I began to get an understanding of myself. I began to see that there was actually a lot of good in my life and that it had always been there. I began to see that I had achieved quite a bit. I began to see that I was a good person and started living in alignment with my values. I began to believe in myself.

    I remember reading something once and it goes along these lines………….there are many different versions of you. Everyone you meet has a different version of who you are in their minds. Some people are in your life forever, some for a minute. Your mum, dad, brother, sister, teacher, cousin, coach, whoever…………they’ll all have different understandings and ideas about who you are based on the interactions they’ve had with you. The only one that actually matters at the end of the day is the version you have of yourself………..that’s the version I’ve come to love and accept over time.

    These days I look back at my past and the lessons I’ve learned from it. I have done some crappy things in my time. I have treated people badly. I have done things I wish I hadn’t………….but all these things have taught me something. They’ve taught me who I don’t want to be and helped me to be the person I am today…………and I’m proud of that person. I’m proud of the adversity I’ve overcome. I’m proud that I’m in recovery. I’m not ashamed that I am an alcoholic and an addict because I think I’m a much better person as a result of that. I think I have a greater understanding of myself and others as a result of that.

    I’m proud of my identity these days. My past will remind me………not define me.
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