Sobriety can be scary. You have just done a 180° turn in your life – and now you are being let loose from your controlled environment and thrown out into the real world. Yikes! It is a good thing that you have an arsenal of tools and skills in your invisible backpack, ready to use whenever you need them as you live sober.

Believe it or not, you are prepared, my friend. But, just in case, here is an idea of what you will need to travel, free of road blocks, on the independence highway.

Daily Living Skills

Daily living skills are the skills you need for being independent in life. Perhaps you previously neglected your daily responsibilities. Or maybe you are just used to others taking care of these tasks for you. Whatever your reasoning, it doesn’t matter. The important key is to make sure that you are now able to successfully find your independence as you venture out on your own. Because let’s face it, it is never easy to grow and be responsible if you must rely on someone else.

Here are some of the most important daily living skills that you will need to acquire to excel in life:

  • Job or education responsibility
  • Communication skills
  • Time Management skills
  • Budgeting and money management
  • Nutrition and wellness

It is important to have these tools and know-how in your possession before you can remove yourself from being dependent on someone else. Take the time to learn all you can from those around you and then put your new knowledge to work.

Finding Employment

How can you be responsible and independent without having employment? No matter what you think, you simply cannot. Finding and maintaining employment can provide you with a sense of responsibility. It can also teach you money management and time management skills. And, of course, it will enhance your communication skills. In fact, it can put your daily living skills training into practice.

So how do you go about finding employment? Here are a few tips that can help you secure a job and be one step closer to gaining your independence.

  • Create a resume that reflects all your skills.
  • If your treatment facility offers job assistance or skills training, utilize it. They can assist you with everything from writing your resume, practicing for the interview, and linking you with possible jobs.
  • Look for jobs that may not necessarily challenge you, but will allow you to get your feet wet. You are not in the same place that you were before your addiction and treatment. Therefore, take small steps when getting back into the workforce. An easy or simple job that will grant you the opportunity to make a little money and gain responsibility without jeopardizing your recovery due to stress and challenges is what you are looking for. You must re-build yourself.

Don’t allow yourself to get frustrated with this process. Nothing is permanent.

Developing a Support Team

While you may want to be independent and think that you don’t need to rely on anyone, don’t let that allow you to isolate yourself. You may be out of treatment, but you are still in recovery – and that means having a support system is a necessity.

This team of supporters are like your own personal cheerleaders, confidants, and helpers. They are there when you get stuck, you feel like you are losing your way, or when you are confronted with temptation. It is super important that you are 100% honest with your support team or it will not work. In addition, you also must have confidence in their ability to have your back when you are feeling weak.

Don’t allow yourself to feel less independent because you have a support system to rely on. They are not there to drag you down, but to lift you up. Think of them as open hands holding a butterfly just before it takes off. And, yes, you are the beautiful (or handsome) butterfly.

Learning to Rely on Yourself 

Addicts tend to have low self-esteem and low self-confidence. And it’s understandable – your self is the one who let you down before and got you entangled in a mixed-up life full of drugs, alcohol, or some other vice. You led your own self down the wrong path. Therefore, learning to love yourself again and re-build the trust after this so-called betrayal can be extremely hard.

Give yourself a clean start. Let go of all you have been through and move forward with the confidence that you deserve this chance. Empowerment in treatment and therapy is a great tool to have. You are trustworthy and you are worthy – you just need to learn to believe it.

If you still have trouble trusting yourself and you believe in a Higher Power, then focus on that Higher Power as your rock and foundation. Find strength and confidence in that power. This is especially helpful if you are finding it difficult to find your own strength.

Benefits of Independence

Despite being very freeing, there are many other benefits to independence. Here are a few of the greatest benefits:

    • Independence increases confidence and self-esteem. If you can take care of yourself, then you will feel like you can take on the world.
    • Independence can bring happiness and joy, especially if you are feeling fulfilled.
    • Having financial security is comforting and can relieve stress. Being independent and managing your own money can lead you to having this security.
    • Any guilt you may have about being dependent or being a burden to others will dissipate.
    • When you can take care of yourself, then you can begin helping others with their needs. You can begin to let others rely on you.

Independence is something that can take a lot of hard work to achieve, but it can have such a positive impact on your life once you do. Learning life skills, being financially responsible, and discovering that you can trust yourself again will send you on a path to a new, successful life. Don’t ever give up.