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Why some Feel Awkward in Early Addiction Recovery

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When I first got clean I was always sitting at my house, alone. I was watching TV shows—mostly intense horror—that my therapist said were still “getting me off.” I wasn’t aware that a different TV genre could do that, but there is true science behind it, whether I believe her or not at the time… awkward, right?

I was battling anxiety and the fear of being alone, but every single time I went out I started getting more anxious than when I was alone; which was already pretty bad. I felt socially awkward. And I probably looked a little bit awkward too?

I couldn’t tell if I was socially awkward because of getting clean or if I had done drugs because I was socially awkward? Both of these scenarios don’t make any sense. Was I like this during my addiction? I didn’t feel that way, but that’s the power of the drugs. It was probably way worse. Too bad…

On another note, people constantly surrounded me in my addiction, and the noise felt like an incandescent home. It was always lighting up the dim wit I had inside from the suppressing drugs. The feeling people gave me when I was using was almost as saturating as the using itself. They, the people who abused me, were a drug all in themselves, and now I was having withdrawals from the situations I was in. This was not just the drugs, it was a social withdrawal. Like I always love to say on Substance For You, “Misery loves company.”

It was quite the adjustment going from lights, camera, and action to watching this on movies on television instead. I used to be living what most movie stars were, as horrible as my addiction was. I don’t know if it’s worth it to even say that, anymore. Is that even a good thing? I thought I was living the dream, but now you could argue it; I was wrong. I was dead wrong.

Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed.com

The adjustment I had to get back to a normalized society and having a normal get-together versus an actual “night out” were both torment. It didn’t matter what the occasion was because my mental health didn’t wait for me to say, “Can I have a night off?” It was always a no, you didn’t in addiction did you?

But now I know that I could earn this, I knew I could.

Small get-togethers were mini-drawn out anxiety driven nights filled with, “uh's” and dirty twitches no one got. It felt like everyone was laughing at me, and I was always told that I was yelling and screaming at others. I didn’t know my own strength in any aspect of the meaning. I came off as vile but I was the one tearing myself apart the most. I felt a great deal of hatred towards myself. It was simply inevitable that I would come off as, “Scary,” most said.

When I was in a big crowd all I know is that there’s no one who cares enough to save me… from myself. I couldn’t get anyone’s attention and I felt like I wasn’t the life of the party, anymore. It took a lot to control myself from bursting out and hitting someone or something from the emotions dancing in my head.

Why did I always feel the incessant need for attention? My guess? It was probably because the previous drug use made me feel like I needed to be the party, still. I felt lost either way. It’s misery readjusting yourself to what most call “normal” situations, and most don’t get it. Some have told me, “Man up you can just, do it!” And this is the farthest thing from the truth when you’ve been cultured to a complete opposite lifestyle just months or weeks ago. It sure as heck takes time, but anything worth having, is worth fighting for.

I strive to say that extra hello today because I don’t know who’s having an “awkward” day and needs to be brought out of their funk.

My funk lasted for nearly 18 months until my mental health took a toll towards my physical health. Then I got the proper treatment for that as well.

And although I manage to stay clean, everything must be addressed in a proper setting. All of the humanly mechanisms must be working in proper sync to be an optimal health for my right body. It takes lots of years to get back to “where you want to be,” but the only truth is that you are trying, trying, trying! Just keep trying and never lose hope, it gets better.

Life is a battle of ups and life is a battle of downs.

One day you could be having a great day and your family is enthused with your efforts. The next day a friend could be pissed at you and you will have lost that feeling of greatness, but only for a short time. Like most say, “It’s not forever” and this is true, life isn’t all or nothing like a lot want to make it out to be in addictions. We do really win some and lose some. No matter the struggle there are ways to deal with them clean and sober. Fixating on a moment of happiness is a task I like to try, but most call this “zoning out.” I try to remember that not all boredom is bad when it’s truly meant to rest your mind. Other times I prove the focus to go to great efforts of motivations and productivity. Life is meant to be a whirlwind like that!

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The most dynamic part of your body and diverse mechanism needs momentary breaks to fulfill the longest journey… the day. They say that if you are sleep deprived your mind will have little mini R.E.M. sleeps which is a form of literally “spacing out” or what is an unhealthy approach to “blacking out.” So stay focused until you feel you need the break, break for a quick lapse, rehydrate, and finish things one at a time as you can. We must learn our bodily limits as we cannot self-medicate them anymore, they are a new thing to recovering addicts.

It’s okay to have an off day and live in a grey area. In fact, most specialists would suggest there is such thing as a grey zone but many are too afraid to admit it when they hear the slightest words of anything addiction.

It’s funny how one word can change it all, isn’t it? Life is meant to be a battle between too much and too little, there is a purpose for all things moderation, but we wouldn’t get anywhere if we won all the time. We just need to know that THIS scenario is okay, that the grey zone can be met (except you must stay clean!), and most specifically it’s okay to be alone sometimes, as long as you’re clean.

I know life is tough being clean and not knowing when the next person to drop by is, because you don’t know if you have any sober friends left. It gets rough. I went through this, and just talked to my mom about it the other day again. It’s funny because she is the one that brought it up because it’s a non-issue for me now, further into my recovery as I write this! Funny how that works!

If you continue to put yourself out there—awkward or not—while doing the right thing then good things will come in return. Friends will see the love around your life in a true way, a loving way, and a real way. The ones who are meant to be in your life will find you—as my friends and loved ones found me. I never thought I’d be friends with some of the people I am, but that’s the best part of life, I just didn’t expect it. It’s true, it’s you, it’s right, and I’m grateful for it.

I’m humble for where I am today, and I know the struggles were bad and I still get awkward to this day. But this awkward works for me and don’t let it stop you if it’s working for you, too! Because awkward turns into YOUR normal as we are all 100% unique in ourselves and that’s the best part of humanity. So, embrace it, be you, be true, and stay drug free!

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  • Fernando on

    It’s great to read someone who has had the same feelings I’m experiencing these days. Being in recovery is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, socially and personally, and emphathizing gives me the energy which I’m lacking so much.
    What you’re doing here is giving hope, so thank you so much for this post!

  • MIchelle on

    Thanks for your honesty! Early recovery is an intense adjustment and it takes time. The first ten years I bounced from living in the drama and learning to live in the grey. It’sgreat to hear others like yourself share the hope that life gets better one day at a time. Hold out for those promises!


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