When we’re actively abusing substances, we surround ourselves with people that perpetuate the lifestyle we’re leading. We begin spending more time with other people who like to drink or use drugs, and it becomes harder to spend time with our loved ones who perhaps don’t partake in these activities. Over time, we become distant from the people we’d build natural connections with in favor for ones that promote the addiction – but it’s important to note that because addiction is a brain disease, it’s incredibly hard to not do these things because the brain has become chemically structured this way.

A 2015 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that there’s a distinct pathway into addiction recovery – and it’s directly related to social identities. After interviewing 21 people in a treatment center for substance use disorders (SUDs), it was clear that self-identity played a major role in recovery; those who’d previously spent time with others who abused substances found themselves re-establishing their identity with friends, family members and community activities that didn’t involve substance abuse as their perceptions of themselves changed over time. For others, “new” or “aspirational” identities emerged – and even those who’d battled addiction but didn’t surround themselves much with other people would create an identity that they could work towards.

Last year, Exploring Your Mind, a website that publishes relevant information on psychology, neuroscience, relationships and more, explained that as human beings, we crave a need to fit in. We build up a self-identity to explore how we identify with a certain group, especially as values, attitudes and beliefs can reinforce how we consider ourselves compared to others. In recovery, this self-identity changes as we come to identify ourselves as “those in recovery” compared to “addicts” – and this major perception shift is a catalyst for positive changes in our lives.

If you’re ready to begin taking great strides towards your health and wellbeing, speak with a professional from Alta Loma today. Mental illness should be taken seriously and, if not treated early on, more severe conditions can arise. The best way to promote happiness and health is to seek help – and to begin using effective interventions for treating the problematic symptoms a person is experiencing. Don’t wait any longer to seek the help you need. Please call Alta Loma today – and you’ll be surrounded by a healthcare team who truly cares about your recovery. 866-457-3843.