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The iconic American author and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” This relates to a fear that many people have when they enter a recovery program. They become worried that they are both going to lose their identity and are going to gain an identity that solely relates to their recovery. Neither has to be true. With the right program, it becomes quite easy to find one’s identity outside of recovery.

The Importance of Identity in Recovery

Many people worry that they are going to lose their identity when they choose to enter a program of recovery. However, these same people often forget that their identity has already been disrupted and corrupted by their addiction. So, it is better to think of recovery as regaining one’s identity from addiction rather than losing an identity that was already very much lost.

However, it is also important to gain some new identity in recovery. A big part of recovery is the elimination of ego, and ego is often a big part of people’s identity before entering treatment. Once this ego is “smashed,” a new “recovery identity” can begin to form.

This is an identity that values one’s recovery above all else. It is also an identity that can relate to others in recovery.

The Importance of ‘Identifying’ in Recovery

It is often said in recovery that one should “identify” with others rather than “compare and contrast” with them. This is important because it helps to show people in recovery that they are not alone. Yes, the details of people’s stories may differ wildly, but the feelings and the emotional states are almost always identical. These are the feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, and worthlessness that come with active addiction.

Many people who have dealt with active addiction feel like they are not worth redemption. However, once one can identify with others in recovery, they can then see that they are no better or worse than anyone else out there, and they have every right to live a “happy, joyous, and free” life. Part of this life is finding one’s identity in many different areas.

Finding Your Identity Outside of Recovery

It is important to strike a healthy identity balance in recovery. This means that recovery should always come first, but it does not need to be “worn on one’s sleeve” at all times.

One’s identity outside of recovery can look very much like one’s identity before recovery, minus the toxic aspects of addiction. For example, if someone was into mountain climbing or skateboarding before recovery, there is no reason why that part of their identity can’t come back. It will most likely come back stronger than ever because it will not be held hostage by addiction.

Also, many people find ways to integrate their recovery into other avenues of their identity in a healthy way. For example, that same person who may be into mountain climbing may start a sober mountain climbing society. Speaking of mountain climbing, Colorado is also a great place to both mountain climb and find one’s identity outside of recovery.

Finding Your Identity Outside of Recovery in Colorado

Colorado has some of the best treatment facilities and treatment specialists in the country. It also has some of the best recovery communities in the country (vibrant 12-Step communities, for example).

Colorado is also a great place to find one’s identity outside of recovery because it strikes the perfect balance between urban living and natural landscapes. One can find their identity in nature by engaging with the Rocky Mountains and all that they have to offer such as hiking, skiing, or rock climbing. Also, one can find their identity in city hubs like Denver or Boulder where some of the most exciting art, music, and sporting communities are.

Here at The Redpoint Center, we also know that it takes time to find one’s identity in recovery, which is why we offer different levels of care. For example, if someone still needs time to establish their identity, we have some of the best sober living facilities out there that can help them integrate into life as they continue to find themselves.

The Importance of Comprehensive Care at The Redpoint Center

Recovery is all about finding oneself. When that happens, one rediscovers who they really are, and who they are meant to be.

Emerson also famously wrote, “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” That is where one’s identity truly lies: on the inside. Addiction and mental illness try to keep it locked away. Here at The Redpoint Center, we are here to help those healthy identities reemerge.

Many people fear that their recovery will become their main and only identity. This does not need to be the case (unless one chooses it to be). A healthy recovery means striking a balance between one’s identity inside and outside of the treatment program of their choosing. If you feel like you or a loved one may be struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or both, we can help get you on the right road to a successful long-term recovery. For more information on how sobriety opens us up to be the person that we always wanted to be, please reach out the The Redpoint Center today at (303) 710-8496.

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The Redpoint Center
1831 Lefthand Cir, Suite H
Longmont, CO 80501

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