Loss is, unfortunately, part of life. Recovery from drug and alcohol never means immunity from the difficult and oftentimes painful part of life. What recovery does guarantee is a lifestyle, along with a set of tools, which empower men to make it through adversity without returning to active addiction. These are some of the kinds of loss men may face in recovery.
- Loss of identity: Addiction, for many men, becomes part of a false sense of identity. Though addiction is harmful and life threatening, it serves a purpose. The purpose of an addiction is different for each man. Through treatment and therapy he will identify the purpose addiction served in his life, make peace with it, let it go, and find new ways to fulfill that purpose. Still, the loss of identity found in active addiction can be significant as men start the journey of finding who they are in sobriety.
- Loss of relationship: Relationships in addiction come in different forms. Men have more of an intimate relationship with their drug of choice than they might have had with their parents, peers, or significant others. Whether they felt close to the drug or the using, they feel a loss when that relationship ends. Additionally, there might be multiple relationships from their active addiction which they have to say goodbye to.
- Loss of lifestyle: At its worst, addiction is not a lifestyle to miss. Alone, unhealthy, sick, and scared, shouldn’t be desired. Sometimes, for some men, it is, because of the purpose that lifestyle served. ‘High functioning addiction’ is a myth, however, it can take the form of various lifestyles which promote or enable substance abuse. Certain music or party scenes, certain sports scenes, certain hobbies- all different kinds of lifestyles might come with an element of substance abuse. Walking away from a lifestyle which played a role in a man’s life for many years is a considerable loss for him.
- Loss of peers: Loss of lifestyle with addiction can also include loss of peers. Friends of addiction are not often friends of sobriety because those friends are also struggling. Losing friendships is sad for men in recovery, especially when a man gets help and a friend continues to suffer. Tragically, a man will lose many peers of recovery and addiction in life, not just relationship. Addiction is a progressive and fatal issue. Thousands upon thousands of men die from addiction every year. It is likely that one man in recovery will likely know many who will die as a result of addiction.
- Loss of family members: Family members can become ill or suddenly pass in recovery. Coping with the loss of a beloved family member is challenging for men in recovery. Life doesn’t always take family members away in death. Addiction is known to deeply wound the relationship between a man and his family. Recovery is always possible, for the entire family. Some family members may decide to completely distance themselves from a man due to his addiction, despite his recovery.
- Loss of significant others: Just as family members may decide to sever ties, significant others may feel the same need. Many men face breakups, divorces, separations, or even custody battles in their recovery. Though these trials and tribulations are triggering, men make it through sustaining their recovery.
Sometimes through loss, we make our greatest gains. Through feeling powerless, we become empowered. While men can experience loss in recovery, they gain some of life’s most invaluable possessions: dignity, esteem, and life itself. The loss of a chapter of a man’s life will always hold more meaning than if he were to lose his life entirely to overdose. Recovery holds great growth, possibilities and potential- a hope for a better man, a better future, and a better life. Like a snake shedding skin, men drop the layers of their addicted life which cannot serve their new lives of recovery. For men in recovery loss is rarely an ending, but a beautiful and necessary beginning.
You can find freedom from addiction by creating sustainable change. Men at Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon, are transforming their minds and bodies to live a life without limitations, free from addiction. For information on our treatment programs, call us today: (503) 850-2474