There is a fascinating phenomenon I often observe in clients at the AToN Center as they progress in their drug and alcohol treatment in California. Often our residents have been using drugs or drinking for such a long period of time that they have forgotten what it feels like to do activities when sober. Accompanying intoxication or high becomes incorporated into all of life’s activities. Going to the movies, dinner, sleeping, socializing, and working all become intertwined with the effects of drugs. However, being in treatment starts to show them how sobriety feels again.
For example, anxiety and fear can arise that they won’t sleep with out using. Often there is initial difficulty sleeping as the chemicals are leaving the system. However, after a few days or weeks with practicing good sleeping habits, residents often notice that for the first time in years they go to sleep without using and are surprised to wake up feeling refreshed. Residents sometimes also believe that they can only be social when drinking.
However, residents at AToN often find themselves laughing hysterically at a game or activity with other residents and realize they are having fun while being completely sober. Though your habit may be to continue to use and drink thinking it is managing your lifestyle, try imagining a day filled with enjoyment and fun while you are sober. It can happen!
Chad K. Cox, PsyD
AToN Center 888-535-1516