Living Life to the Fullest- What Does it Really Mean?
One of the things you’ll hear often from people who have recovered from addiction is that, while they were still “using” they believed they were living their life to the fullest. Drugs and alcohol change the way our brain functions, leading us to perceive the world around us differently. For many people, just feeling something different than the normal is an enjoyable experience, and before long everything else: pursuing a career, spending time with friends and family, maintaining physical health— become chores that only act as roadblocks between the “fun” times.
When this is a contributing factor to an individual’s addiction, it is important to remember that the relief they find in substance abuse is not happiness, it’s an escape. Something in the way they interact with the world is not living up to expectations, and drug use is a means to leave it behind for a few moments and numb oneself. A major aspect of recovery involves helping people find enjoyment and fulfillment in their day-to-day lives without the use of harmful substances.
Below, we go over a few of the ways you can live to the fullest that are simply not possible when trapped in the addiction cycle.
1. You Are Present in Every Moment
When inebriated or high, you have an excuse not to focus on anything for too long. It creates a haze that allows one to separate themselves from life and forget everything. An escape like this is always tempting when life gets stressful, but makes you miss so much more.
A common side effect of drugs and alcohol is memory loss. When you are addicted to a substance and using them to enhance an experience, what you’re really doing is creating a haze that distorts your perception. Soon, the only parts of life you can remember clearly are the tedious ones, which leads you to consume mind altering substances more and more often in a continuous quest to escape the mundane.
It’s time to create memories that you can actually remember—spend time with friends, travel to new places, or start a new hobby. Before long you’ll have more pleasant memories to fall back on during the hard times, and dealing with the mundane will seem like less of a chore.
2. No More Withdrawals
The more you consume a harmful substance, the more your body grows dependent on it. As the substance wears off the body starts to suffer physical side effects, and soon the urge to consume more grows as the user can think about nothing but alleviating the pain. You may find yourself getting drunk or high even when you don’t feel like it just to avoid the hangover.
Withdrawal can result in long-term and even lethal side effects, and there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to receive another dose before the symptoms hit. It’s time to live life on your own terms. After undergoing detox, you once again have the ability to live comfortably without depending on a harmful substance.
3. Get to Know People on a Deeper Level
Inebriation lowers are defenses, causing people to speak more than they may have otherwise. We often see this as people “opening up,” but if you are revealing personal information because your mind has been altered, is it really coming from a place of trust and understanding?
Talking to someone who is drunk or high when you aren’t is like speaking to someone who isn’t really there. Their ability to think rationally is distorted, and many people respond by either leaving or taking the substance themselves.
The best conversations happen when both parties are in their right mind. It may be harder discussing personal matters like this, but when someone finally feels comfortable enough to open up it creates a trusted bond far stronger than anything that comes from a shared high.
4. Learn to Love Yourself
Victims of addiction are not known for having high self-esteem. Trapped in the cycle, continued substance abuse serves as a means to disconnect from life’s problems and personal shortcomings, but no one can equate this escape to self-acceptance. Life comes with many pressures and we don’t always hit the goals we hoped for, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more for you to accomplish.
A major part of the recovery process is learning more about what makes you happy and coming up with realistic goals to live a more fulfilled, enriching life. This is not something you have to go through alone. Others have made this journey and can help you as you figure it what it really means to live life to the fullest.