Finding a Social Identity outside of Addiction

Finding a Social Identity outside of AddictionHuman beings are social creatures. We have a deep and abiding need to be a part of a community. We most often form our personal identities within the context of the group to which we belong. This sense of who we are forms the following:

  • Our sense of personal fashion or style
  • Our taste in music, film and other art
  • Our political and religious views
  • Our personal morals, rules, values and standards
  • Our choice of romantic partners
  • Our habits, pastimes, hobbies and entertainment choices
  • Our taste in food

From the time we are born until we die we learn and follow patterns. Occasionally we make massive and radical changes to those patterns, as we attempt to define ourselves on our own terms. Teens often go through a time of rejecting the patterns and values of their parents in order to discover themselves as independent adults. Personal and social patterns are powerful for both good and ill. When we are a part of responsible, healthy community, we can become responsible, healthy people. When we fall in with dysfunctional, destructive or irresponsible communities, things don’t go so well for us.

Addiction and the Forming of Identity

Addiction affects a person’s sense of identity. It changes how individuals see themselves personally, and it changes how they see themselves socially. Many people who end up addicted to drugs or alcohol tend to distance themselves from people in their life who do not engage in addiction-related behaviors. They trade family and lifelong friends for new connections with other substance users. Their addictive behavior becomes more than one aspect of life. It comes to define them completely. When they hit rock bottom and are forced to recognize their problem, they will need to confront their altered sense of identity to find lasting freedom from their addiction.

Successful Addiction Recovery and Finding a New Social Identity

The most effective addiction recovery programs treat the addict’s body, soul and spirit. They address all aspects of the disease including any and all co-occurring psychological concerns such as the following:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Self-esteem deficiencies
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Process addictions to activities such as gambling, sex, shopping, lying or self-injury

Through intensive personal and group counseling and education the best recovery programs help the recovering addict develop healthy new skills for identifying destructive thought patterns and coping with addiction triggers. Developing healthy self-esteem is an important part of that process, and it often requires the formation of a new sense of self. Instead of seeing themselves as failed, flawed and hopeless addicts, they can become empowered and confident former addicts. Through the support of their loved ones and fellow patients recovering addicts build a strong social identity that is not defined by their failure but by their strength.

Find Personal Addiction Recovery Help Today

Call our toll-free helpline any time of night or day for personal, professional and free advice and answers about addiction, identity and the recovery process. Our counselors will connect you with the best recovery program for your specific needs and will help you take the first steps toward freedom from this terrible disorder. Don’t be defined by a disease. You are much more than your addiction. Start the process of rebuilding your life, your relationships and your personal identity. Call today.