Substance use can be filled with chaos and uncertainty, not unlike the world we live in. We become accustomed to living in constant stress and turmoil. Whether it is at work, in our relationships with our friends, our family, our partners, or even in our day-to-day life, we become accustomed to a life of chaos. How can we find peace again?
Substance use is strange because when we are in it, we cannot see how much it is impacting us. As we start to lose control within addiction, our behaviors create more and more turmoil in our lives. We might unwittingly create drama and stress to distract from our problems, even to distract ourselves from seeing the consequences of our substance use.
Obviously, the behaviors that occur with substance use create more turmoil on their own. Our jobs, families, friends, and health and safety can be affected by our behaviors. As a result, our lives can feel like they are in constant turmoil… because they are. There is no peace in chaos.
How Stress Impacts Us
When we experience stress, our bodies function differently. We breathe faster, and our heart pounds. This results in increased blood pressure. When this happens chronically, we can develop high blood pressure or become at higher risk of having a heart attack. There are other physical issues, too, such as muscle tension, headaches, insomnia, heartburn and more.
Those are just the effects of long-term stress on our bodies. Under stress, our brain responds with the basic fight-or-flight instinct. Within this process, the brain produces more of a hormone called cortisol. Too much cortisol long-term affects the brain’s ability to function properly. There are other side effects in our brains of too much cortisol, as well. Additionally, when there is chronic stress, we become more prone to depression.
All of these potential physiological side effects of long-term stress are our body’s way of trying to tell us that the chaos is too much, we cannot handle this level of stress. If the substances themselves don’t cost us our lives, the effects of the long-term stress will. Enough is enough.
When We’ve Had Enough
When we are mentally and physically exhausted from substance use, the behaviors, the deceit, and all of the other things that have impacted us and those around us, hopefully, we will have the strength to surrender our chaos. When we’ve had enough, we will reach out for the one thing we haven’t tried: treatment for our substance use.
While we may have had to wear ourselves down mentally and physically and concede to change our lives, this decision is more like the storm before the calm. In seeking peace, we actually show strength and power. Making the decision to seek recovery after such long-term chaos takes courage, the courage to change our story.
Changing Our Narrative
In order to find peace, we have to be willing to change our narrative. This requires a lot of effort and sacrifice on our part. We have to be willing to stop using our substances. We have to be willing to do the work in therapy to learn how we can silence the storms in our lives. It takes a lot of effort to change the way we think and react to situations and to be able to create peace in ourselves and in our lives.
Peace comes when we accept ourselves. While we are actively using substances, we are escaping ourselves and/or our pain. Within treatment, we learn that we can accept who we are and that we can change the things we do.
Discovering the power that we have to both accept ourselves and change our lives creates a dynamic that allows us to choose how we react to every situation. We learn that we can set boundaries with others and be our own advocates to help shape our world every day. In finding these powers, we also find that we have the power to create peace in our lives.
Once we have found our peace and our recovery journey puts us back into our day-to-day life, we will still need to actively choose to have peace in our lives. Different situations will come up in our personal life or in the world around us that will create stress for us. With the tools that we gain in treatment, though, we will be able to access our inner peace at any time. We can also use the skills we learn to help manage stress and react less emotionally. These skills will help us to maintain peace in our lives.
How can we find peace again? We need to decide that enough is enough. We need to actively choose to give up the turmoil and chaos. We can do this when we find self-acceptance and are willing to do the work to change our narrative. Finding and maintaining peace after substance use may be difficult, but it is also worth it. We can find our peace in our recovery.
Finding peace is within your power. You can find peace and healing at AToN Center. Call (888) 535-1516 today to begin your own personal search for peace. We can show you how to find self-acceptance, and give you all of the tools to change your narrative. Find your peace at AToN Center.