There is a Zen saying – “Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.”
Sobriety is much the same way. After you become sober, the problems are still there, but your coping mechanism isn’t. The troubles just trouble you more than they did when you were messed up. Your safe cocoon that you spun around yourself is gone. You realize that you got stuck in your own web of lies and avoidances. You realize that you were cramped by that cocoon, not comforted.
But those daily things are still there, those annoyances. You’ve spent years not learning how to deal with them in a healthy way. You are at least a decade behind the curve. Even though chronologically you are an adult, you are a child when it comes to dealing with life.
It sucks. It’s hard. It makes you want to start using again. Dependency groups seem to focus on the disease, not on how to live life. They seem to glorify the illness of addiction, rather than teach new and healthy ways of dealing with usual and unusual stresses.
Sometimes just getting out of bed is a stressor. Sometimes coming home is one too. Sometimes the people you used to hang out with when you used were the only friends you had – and they still use.
So how do create this new life, this life without using? Plenty of people just trade one addiction for another. A lot of ex-drinkers become smokers. I remember one year I gave up smoking pot for Lent, and ended up drinking every day instead. I know a guy whose parents were recovering alcoholics. He loudly proclaimed that drinking was evil, but then every Tuesday when they would go to AA meetings, he would get stoned at home.
Addiction is addiction is addiction.
It isn’t about being a recovering former user. It isn’t about counting the number of days you’ve been without your intoxicant of choice. It is about every day forward and what you do now.
Back to chopping wood and carrying water.
Sometimes the only way to learn is to just do it, painful though it is. Nobody can tell you how to best live your life. They can tell you how they did it, how they got over the hump. They can offer suggestions. But for you, you just have to do it, step by fumbling step.