When I made the decision to stop using drugs, I had no idea what to expect. I had the detoxification part finished and I was getting out of rehab, but I didn’t have any idea what normal people did on a day-to-day basis. What did everybody do with their idle time? How would my relationships change? What would I do when life stressed me out?
Drugs had become such a part of my regular life that I didn't know how I was going to live without them. My counselor told me to take it one day at a time so that’s what I did.
First, I had to get into a routine. I went from the daily structure of buying, selling, and chasing drugs to having the structure of rehab. After rehab, structuring my new life was also needed. I began by going to the gym every morning. Working out gave me a positive start to every day and it became a very important part of my recovery. Structuring my life was working well so the next thing I did was get a job. Having to be at work every day kept me busy and motivated.
All of the programs that I attended told me to stay single for the first year of my sobriety. This was not an option for me because I was already married. Statistically, the odds were against me but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I had to get to know my wife all over again once I was sober and she had to learn to trust me. We started from scratch and attended counseling. We took our time and ended up happier than we had ever been.
I took life in small pieces because I would get overwhelmed if I looked at the whole picture. This was the only way I could manage. Each day that I got through made the next one easier. Soon, working and fitness took the place of using and selling. I stayed away from anybody who used and made new friends who didn’t.
My advice to anyone getting clean is to stay busy. A drug addict can’t handle idle time in the beginning. For me it was the gym, counseling, and work. Acceptance and rehab are only the start. Life after recovery can be hard but it can be done.