You probably know exactly where you were and what you were doing when you made the decision to enter into the world of recovery. It likely wasn’t an easy decision. So many addicts sincerely live by the words “One Day at a Time” because they truly can’t fathom an entire lifetime without alcohol or drugs. “What about all the fun times? “Will my life just be completely boring now?” “How will I enjoy myself?” These are common questions for those of us who romanticize substances.
It’s easy to see the “good old days” through rose-colored glasses, especially when your hangover has faded, and the party invitations pile up. You start telling yourself “Maybe I can do this.” Next time those thoughts creep in simply imagine you and alcohol got divorced. The marriage was good in the beginning, right? But you parted ways for a reason. And just like you must grow and change after splitting with a partner, you must grow and change as you part ways with alcohol. Life will look a lot different. You won’t be going the same places, seeing the same people, doing the same activities but that’s okay. You’re on to a better life, even though the path getting their will feel rocky.
Another way to stop romanticizing drugs and alcohol is to play the tape to the end. Sure, that first beer on the patio with your friends is super fun! You’re laughing and listening to music. Okay, but let’s also remember what happens a few hours later. You got into a loud fight with a friend, vomited all over your clothes, blacked out and then couldn’t get out of bed the next day. How easily we forget the latter. It’s just not worth it.
Also, accept your feelings without judgement. In early recovery you most likely will romanticize your active addiction for a while. You don’t have to feel bad for that. It’s common. And there is a sense of loss because yes, there was probably a time you were able to use responsibly. Romanticizing is part of the process. It doesn’t mean you’re failing in recovery or about to relapse. It’s all in how you respond to those feelings. As you do more work the longing for the “good old days” will start to fade. You realize the good day are the ones without drugs and alcohol.