Addiction Recovery and Society: The Challenges Involved

Addiction recovery is not easy. What makes it even more difficult is how pervasive and socially accepted a lot of substances/drugs are. Think about alcohol. It is literally everywhere – from movies to tv shows, from the neighbourhood liquor stores to bars and restaurants.

Those who are recovering from addiction are at a higher risk of getting negatively influenced by social gatherings that almost always include drugs (even if only alcohol). Add peer pressure to the mix and difficulty with saying “no” and you are using again.

The Social Acceptance Around Substance Use

Much of what we call “fun” in our society is actually rituals of drug use in the name of entertainment. Once we see how pervasive self-numbing is in our society, there is no going back to fooling ourselves about substance use.

one man pouring wine into another's glass making his addiction recovery difficult

A lot of alcohol use is also seen as a symbol of sophistication and knowing how to live. Consuming a bottle of wine between two people during dinner might seem like not a big deal until one or both people begin to drink more.

The Comparison Trap in Addiction Recovery

Needing to numb ourselves in order to have fun says so much about how we live our day-to-day lives. For as long as we are not enjoying our lives, we are going to crave anything that alleviates our suffering. And this craving can quickly become an addiction.

Another difficulty in recovering in today’s modern society is comparing yourself with those “who can drink/use with no negative impact on their lives.” Even though a lot of people can enjoy drinking without it becoming an addiction, this still doesn’t make their habit a truly healthy one.

The comparison trap and the subsequent shame you might feel for “not being able to drink,” often make it difficult to continue with one’s recovery. It is easy to feel like an outsider when you are sober in a culture drowning in liquor.

Tips and Tricks for Addiction Recovery

  • Remember why you are not drinking/using and stick with what motivates you to stay healthy. Stay inspired about having a truly healthy life.
  • Have at least one friend or friend group made completely up of health-conscious people. There is power in numbers.
  • Learn and keep practicing saying “No, thank you.”
  • Commit to working with a professional and keep deepening your self-awareness.
  • Keep your eyes on the prize by having role models. Find a few people whose lifestyle you really admire and learn more about them. Let them motivate you.
  • Find activities that are fun without the need for alcohol/substances. Fun for fun’s sake.
  • Commit to something you can keep learning about whether it’s an instrument, martial art, or learning to cook, etc. This enjoyable activity can keep you inspired, social, and engaged.
  • Get into books. Reading is a great low-cost activity that can be as enjoyable as it can be stimulating. Books are also very accessible and you can even read alone at home when there is nothing else you feel like doing.
  • Begin to notice how much drinking is glorified in our culture, especially in tv shows and movies, and how harmful this is for young people.
two men sitting and laughing in coffee shop on an addiction recovery journey

How We Can Help

At Sunshine Coast Health Centre, we understand the challenges associated with substance use and recovery. Our programs help those struggling with addiction, mental health, trauma, and PTSD. To continue helping clients once they’ve completed treatment with us, we have an extensive amount of alumni services readily available. Our Alumni Coordinator plans meetups and dinners throughout the year and across Canada to stay connected with all alumni. To learn more about the services we offer, please visit our website or contact us today.

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