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Addiction & Recovery Message Board

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Re: What do u do?
Oct 29, 2004
I think many of us can relate to how you're feeling. For me at least, what you described is one of the main reasons I have relapsed so many times. I couldn't stand how badly I felt while clean. I would think to myself "if this is what being sober feels like, forget it!"
I had around 9 months clean and then relapsed a couple of weeks ago and am now trying to get back on track. It's hard, no way around it. I too struggle with bad depression. I have often felt like I didn't want to go on...after all, I know I can't take opiates forever because they have caused SO many problems in my life, but I'm miserable without them, so what can I do? A damned if you do, damned if you don't feeling. I also have a hard time getting motivated or finding any interest or happiness in life. I often slide right back into thinking about how if i just had my pills....this (whether it be working, watching a movie, hanging out with my friends, cleaning my house, etc. etc.) would be so much better. most of us aren't taking drugs to really get "high" after awhile, we're taking them to function and to feel normal, which is what non-addicts have a hard time understanding.

The GOOD news is that I do believe it gets better. I have known so many people who were just like me, and now have been clean for years and are honestly happy. The main key is to give yourself some time. I've heard it said that it really takes a good year of total sobriety to even begin to be able to feel good and have your brain chemistry start working correctly again. After all, when you take the amount of opiates that we did, our brains essentially stopped producing the natural opiates everyone has in their brains. Hence, the depression and anxiety and everything else.

Here are some things that I have tried that do help, and what other people have told me has helped them.
First...get involved in some support groups. If you don't already go to NA/AA, go. Meet people who are just like you and who can support you. I admit I don't always want to go to a meeting, and don't always fully buy into the program, but I have to say that i have never seen anyone really recover without it. They may stay clean...but they're not happy. Whereas in the program there are tons of people who are really happy and enjoying their lives!

Secondly, going to a doctor is never a bad idea. You may need an anti-depressant, or you may need some counseling. We numbed our feelings for so long that once we're clean, we don't have any idea how to deal with emotions. You know that restless, agitated, can't-stand-to-be-my-own-skin feeling....yup, that's because we're not used to being fully aware of ourselves and our reality!

Third...exercise! I have found that working out, or doing anything physical really really helps. It gets your natural endorphins pumping and I always feel better mentally and physically when I can work out. Exercise is proven to help with depression, anxiety, insomnia, the whole bit.

Fourth...don't isolate. Even if you don't feel like it, make yourself go out with people (non-using, positive people of course!) and be social. Isolating is such a deadly trap.

Finally...get involved in doing something good for others. Even if you just volunteer a couple of hours a month, it is amazing how good it can feel to help someone else. As addicts we tend to really get caught up in ourselves and be so self-centered, even if we don't realize it. It also helps me be grateful for what i have. I get so caught up in what is negative about my life, and what i wish I could change, and then I'll do some volunteer work with people who would kill to be in my position. It helps to realize how blessed I am to have what I have, even though I tried very hard to blow my life apart with drugs!

Hope this helps. Keep checking in here too and posting...

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