Entering recovery is both an exciting and scary experience. That is, it can be that way for many people \u2013 sometimes even at the same time. Most newly-sober individuals would probably admit to being relieved and\/or grateful to be away from addiction. However, that doesn\u2019t mean they always relish the prospect of this totally new way of living. Which is it? Are you happy just to be here, or do you believe there is much more to life in recovery than mere existence in a sober state? By the time you\u2019re done reading this, you may have changed your mind, if not completely, at least a little. To learn more, contact Promises Behavioral Health at . Getting a Do-Over Consider the fact that addiction wasn\u2019t your finest moment. Let\u2019s be even blunter. It was likely some of the worst times you\u2019ve ever had. Not only did you seriously jeopardize your relationships, your job, your health, and your place in the community, you may very well have suffered nearly irreparable harm in one or several aspects of your life. Certainly, the opportunity to have a fresh start in life is appealing to you. This more than qualifies as both happy to be here and a beginning of more to life in recovery than mere existence. Not everyone who\u2019s now sober subscribes to the belief that they can start fresh. It takes some time to get our minds around that concept. First, we have to forgive ourselves for all the bad things we\u2019ve said and done that have brought harm or pain to those we care about, those we barely know, and to ourselves. Forgiveness is a bitter pill to swallow. It is the kind of necessary medicine that we somehow are so reluctant to take, even though we know we\u2019ll be better off for the experience. Why are we so often unwilling to absolve ourselves of our past addictive behavior? Is it that we believe we need to be continually punished for our transgressions, our wrongdoings, or our sins? What does this accomplish in the long run except making us more miserable in our sober life and keeping us from fully realizing goals and dreams that we might otherwise have? Let\u2019s just center in on this one point right now: We all deserve and can make good use of a do-over. But this isn\u2019t just an idle exercise. We can\u2019t just say, OK, I forgive myself. Now bring life on. No, we are going to have to work and work very hard to achieve what we want in life. There are no hand-outs here. We will reap the rewards commensurate with the time and effort we put into achieving them. Maybe this frightens off some people who are looking for a quick change. Presto-chango and all is both forgiven and forgotten and it\u2019s on to whatever we see on the near horizon. Guess what? Recovery doesn\u2019t work like that. If we\u2019re only concerned about our own well-being, we\u2019re not going to be very happy in life. We will need to get out of our self-centeredness and start to do something that can benefit others if we really want to appreciate the full rewards of this fresh start in life. There\u2019s another aspect to the do-over that bears mentioning and that is that once we\u2019ve forgiven ourselves and commit to living a new life with healthier behaviors, we still need to make amends for the mistakes and hurts that we\u2019ve brought about in the past. So, beyond working for this new life in sobriety, we also need to do what we can to make amends for the past. Discovering New Talents Chained for so long to the vicious addiction cycle, many people new to recovery may cling to the outmoded belief that they\u2019re good for nothing, that they\u2019re doomed to failure, even that they don\u2019t deserve to be a success at anything. With such a negative attitude, it would be near impossible to find any motivation to trying something new, possibly even discovering new talents. Truth be told, many people are happy enough just to be sober and don\u2019t bother to step outside their narrow comfort zone to explore new things, to challenge themselves by learning a new skill, traveling, widening their circle of friends, changing jobs, going back to school, picking up a hobby. This way of living in sobriety isn\u2019t wrong. It\u2019s just short-sighted. Benefits of Discovering New Talents If you want to stay moored in the same spot on a placid lake and never venture into the interesting coves and channels just off to the right or the left, that\u2019s certainly your choice. You won\u2019t be jeopardizing your sobriety, necessarily, but you are likely to merely sit stagnant in your little boat if you do. On the other hand, what could be the harm in checking out some area that you may find a little bit interesting? Maybe you once thought you\u2019d like to explore the Mayan ruins in Mexico or go deep-sea diving or learn a new language. What is to stop you from pursuing such experiences now? You aren\u2019t too old or tired or incapable of learning anything new. The only real barrier is in your head. But you can change this narrow mindset and open up your life to the possibility of experiences that are completely new. It remains your choice, of course, but a life worth living is worth living well. This includes tapping into and discovering the many talents that you didn\u2019t know you had \u2013 and then enjoying them to the fullest. That you can do all this in recovery is far more rewarding than just settling for being sober. There is so much more that life in recovery offers. Are you up for the challenge? Living in Integrity While much of your past life may have been an obsessive search for a drug or drugs of choice, now that you\u2019re in recovery you have an entirely different perspective on daily living. For one thing, you\u2019re now clean and sober. This alone constitutes a tremendous improvement over the way things were. But it doesn\u2019t end here. Being clean and sober also allows you to see more clearly where your values went askew or even disappeared entirely under the influence of alcohol and drugs. You know you don\u2019t want to live that way anymore. That\u2019s one of the changes you committed to making when you went through rehab and entered recovery. Living the kind of life that you hope to create for yourself in sobriety means that you now have the opportunity \u2013 and the gift \u2013 of being able to live in integrity. What does this mean in a practical sense? To live in integrity means that you act in accordance with your beliefs and values, that you say and do what you mean. If you\u2019ve embraced sobriety, this new life requires that you do your best to live up to certain stated commitments. Granted, there will be times when to do so will require painful effort and cause you to make some difficult choices, things that never concerned you when you were deep into addiction. Sometimes the decisions will not be readily apparent, requiring the advice and support from others. Other times, you may not be quite up to the task, but you won\u2019t give up if you are living in integrity. Yes, you may make mistakes or fall short of certain goals at times. This doesn\u2019t take anything away from living in integrity. In fact, when you live with integrity, what you will find is that you are even more committed to achieving what you set out to do, even if that means repeated effort until you do succeed. Consider living in integrity as being true to you. When you know what you want is good and right for you and commit fully to achieving it, no matter how long it takes or how much effort is required, you are being true to what you believe at your core. You are living in integrity, which is so much more meaningful than just being happy to be sober. Can You Say Joy? Happiness may be elusive and mean something different to each individual. However, when you are in recovery and want more out of life than mere existence, what you\u2019re really striving for is joy. Let\u2019s be clear that joy doesn\u2019t mean you\u2019ll never experience disappointment or get upset or have a bad day. Joy in recovery is more in line with an overall sense of contentment and peace and deeply held love and appreciation of life. It\u2019s also tied to gratefulness for each and every minute you have in recovery, especially knowing that it could just as easily been otherwise. Once you were literally lost. Now you have found your path in recovery. One way to experience joy is to approach each day with the curiosity and wonder of a small child. Find delight and joy in the little things. In fact, all that\u2019s necessary is to look with open eyes around in order to see that life offers incredible opportunities. Reach out and accept these gifts. Embrace life. Feel the joy. There are undoubtedly many more reasons why there is more to life in recovery than just being happy to be here. These few thought-starters should be enough to make you realize that life is very precious, indeed. Every action you take, every word you speak, every thought you have counts. Make the most of it. Contact Promises Behavioral Health Today If you need substance abuse, mental health, or anxiety treatment, our treatment center can help. Our treatment methods include: \tCognitive-behavioral therapy \tDialectical behavior therapy \tYoga therapy \tMeditation therapy \tArt therapy To learn more about life after addiction, contact Promises Behavioral Health at .