How Do Veterans Find Meaning and Create a New Life in Recovery?

posted in Recovery, Veterans

Life in addiction is all about drugs or alcohol and how to find more of the substances. It may be difficult to know how to begin but, to help people stay sober, there are things they can do. Veterans are able to find meaning and create a new life in recovery with some advice on how to focus on the positive aspects and not the negative challenges they face.

Repairing Working Relationships

At work, it can be hard to let people know about addiction and ask forgiveness. It is possible that job performance has suffered and colleagues had to pick up the slack. Spending time focused on work can give a renewed sense of worth and a way to fill the time. To repair the damage is not as easy as asking people to forgive. It may mean turning to them several times over the course of a period of time to ask them how to move forward in recovery.

Sense of Community

Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and others have meetings where community members can share difficult feelings with one another. They can share their challenges with fighting cravings. There may be risks and difficulties in sharing (vulnerability) but it is okay to be vulnerable, especially with others who have been through something similar. Sharing with others is not just about opening up, it is also about sharing time in building lasting relationships with them and keeping them at the center of their world.

Finding Meaning in Activities

Hobbies and activities can give purposeful meaning to a person’s life. The idea of having fun in recovery may seem foreign to some extent. Maybe it is a new journey to discover fun like playing volleyball instead of smoking marijuana and watching movies all night on the weekends. There are new ways to explore the world than just using substances. The ultimate decision on whether to use substances is up to an individual. Even if triggers and emotional issues seem to be at the forefront of their lives, they can still find hope and meaning in doing things with friends or loved ones.

New Life, New Job

Finding a job after recovery is daunting. For veterans, it may include returning to their civilian job and working with colleagues and superiors who know where they were and what they were doing. Even if this is intimidating, they should not discriminate against veterans for going back to work after rehab. In recovery, their job should be safe and secure. Employers are not permitted to ask whether a job applicant used substances or has substance use disorder if they are a new employee. Individuals have the right to medical leave for substance use if they have been working for their employer a certain amount of time. Veteran employers are also working on dealing with more veterans who need support for work after being in rehab.

Repairing Personal Relationships

Meaning comes from the community. When you have romantic relationships or partnerships and friendships to repair, it helps to consider those loved ones. It is important to remember substance use disorders result in a loss of trust. To repair the relationship, people have to repair the trust. It takes time and varies from person to person but it can happen with honest, open communication.

Meaningful Goals

One of the hardest things for people to do is to create meaningful goals for their relationships and friendships, along with themselves. Creating an aftercare list and program will help develop meaningful goals and desires for the long journey of recovery. Whether it is going back to school or dealing with relatives and focusing on how to get healthier, these are all good objectives. They need clear goals with a clear path to achieve them. Without a clear path to achieve the goals, it will be hard to create meaningful support for the journey. Write things down and reflect on what it would mean to achieve those things. It is going to help in the long run to have a plan rather than to just try and take a stab at it.

Remember the Mission

The mission is always recovery. Focus on that and don’t let other things distract from this goal. If it does not meet this end goal, it is not going to be healthy long-term. The long-range planning it takes to get there is difficult to see at first. Take it one step at a time. One day at a time. Day by day, little by little, the picture starts to emerge of what life will look like in recovery.

The mission is never impossible as long as people share support, build community, and seek growth opportunities. The mission is clear: to stay clean and sober. The pathway is not always clear. It reveals itself a little more every day, a bit of itself declaring how it wants to unfold as it begins to become a new journey unto itself. Stay the course and don’t get distracted too much by life. It will be worth it to follow the path of recovery if you trust the process. Trust the mission you are on to create a new life and the rest will fall into place.

Forge is a place to come and recover your life from addiction. We help you reimagine what is possible and create the life you’ve been dreaming of.

Call us today: 1-888-224-7312