Dealing With the Past When New to Addiction Recovery

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on May 26, 2020.

If you are recovering from a life of addiction, you may feel like those moments of pain and turmoil that were a part of your past are best left forgotten. However, your past is your history, and fully coming to terms with its events can help you move forward in your addiction recovery and enjoy a future full of promise.

The Importance of Confronting a Painful Past

Most individuals facing recovery share one very common characteristic — a painful past. Perhaps you've made choices you're ashamed of or have experienced a traumatic event. Now that you are sober, your past is staring you in the face.

Most experts agree on five stages of recovery — pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. The first four steps involve getting yourself in a place where you can admit you have a problem and then taking that leap toward rehabilitation. The last phase, maintenance, is often overlooked, but it is one of the most critical stages of recovery. It's where you solidify what you learned during treatment so that you can live a truly sober lifestyle. One of these vital tools is dealing with your past.

Tips for Dealing With the Past in Addiction Recovery

If you are new to addiction recovery, here are some tips on dealing with your past so that you can truly break free.

Identify Issues That Need to Be Addressed

During the later stages of your recovery, personal honesty is crucial. Examine your past and note some of the issues likely to come up post-rehab that you feel need to be addressed. They could include:

  • Loved ones who feel hurt or betrayed
  • Legal issues caused by your addiction
  • Problems caused by your use at work

Understand Triggers That May Have Led to Your Addiction

While addiction can initially start because of curiosity or experimentation, often, it's rooted in something in your past that triggered your continued abuse. Sometimes drugs or alcohol are used to self-medicate and find relief from a physical ailment or chronic pain. Other times, there's an underlying psychological issue, such as anxiety or depression. Substances are often used to mask these concerns and bring relief. Past trauma can also contribute to addiction. Even something as simple as unresolved stress can trigger a substance addiction.

Understanding the root cause of your substance abuse will help you discover healthy coping mechanisms in the future.

Reach out to Loved Ones and Make Amends

Of all the issues from your past that need to be addressed, making up with loved ones requires the most emotional investment. It won't always be easy, and there may be people who are unwilling to forgive. However, by taking this brave step, you may be able to regain the trust and love of the people who matter most to you.

Contact Diamond House Detox and Break Free From Your Past

The first step to moving forward and breaking free from your painful past is addiction recovery. At Diamond House Detox, we create highly individualized treatment programs based on your unique needs. Contact us today to learn about our safe and effective recovery options so that you can have a bright new tomorrow.

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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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