Going through the recovery process is a transformative experience. While each person can learn and implement their own, unique skills into their lives to address the various stressors that they may face on a daily basis, recovery also means unlearning a fair number of practices and habits. Overall, it means letting go of the person that someone was, at least in some capacity, in order to pursue a better future for one’s self and their own goals in life. Recovery, and the transformations therein, are intended to give someone the tools they need to begin to establish their new identities in their newfound sobriety, or overall freedom from stressful work-life imbalances or mental illness. However, simply establishing a new identity is a complicated topic, and there are a number of ways that someone can begin to grasp at the idea of forming their new identities or even beginning to establish their unique identities for the first time.
The Importance of Pursuing Your Own Identity
Recovery as a transformative experience that leads to self-actualization requires someone to be both open and honest with themselves about their own interests, passions, and the kind of traits that they want to be associated with in their lives. It is very personal and may involve moving through some vulnerabilities or times of uncertainty. However, it is paramount that each person pursues their own individuality in recovery. Denying one’s self the chance to pursue their own individuality can come at its own cost. Not only does this stand in direct contrast to one’s own self-actualization, but it can also create additional barriers of anxiety, depression, or other unhealthy coping mechanisms as someone tries to synthesize others’ expectations of them and force them into a certain kind of identity. Exploration of one’s identity may mean that there are times where someone has to let go of others’ expectations in order to pursue one’s own goals. While this can be a difficult process, recovery communities should be molding a support system to allow those going through it to feel as if they have a safety net while they work through these difficult transition phases. However, pursuing one’s own identity doesn’t have to all happen at once, and there are various different ways that someone can begin exploring their own identities and passions in life without having to completely overhaul themselves all at one time.
Addressing the Multiple Expressions of Identity
There are a number of ways that someone can begin to explore their own identity in recovery. For some, they can begin with what kind of career path or passions they have and finding a mentor or sponsor that shares that element of their identities with them. This can mean that someone doesn’t have to begin overhauling everything that they are in one motion. Rather, it can mean that someone simply begins to add something of themselves into their daily routine that is there just for them, such as introducing a musical instrument or sport. These elements are things that someone can practice and perform, and can become intricately tied to any person based on a system entirely based on merit. Learning to play the guitar can be something that someone not only picks up solely because of their own personal passions, but also a way of measuring their own personal success and practice as they learn more difficult or varied songs, chords, or progressions. These are things that someone can begin to do on their own, or in a group setting, and make their life adjustments based on their own levels of interest or dedication.
Identity is also more than just what someone does on a daily basis. Instead, someone’s exploration with their own identity can be as simple as choosing the clothes that they want to wear, regardless of the stigma that someone may face. Whether it be clothing portraying images from one’s favorite movie, or a certain style that they had denied themselves due to stigma, finding one’s self comfortable in their clothing can be the first step to finding themselves comfortable in their own skin. Whether it be a pair of basketball shoes that someone had wanted for a while, a hat depicting a favorite sports team that the rest of their family didn’t support, or a sweatshirt with images from The Godfather, clothing can be the first way in which someone begins to overtly express their own identity without feeling like they have to overhaul all of the other aspects of their being at once.
Finding safety and acceptance in one’s self and their own identity can then open up its own possibilities. Instead of someone adopting elements of their identity from those around them, expressing identity in these ways can help someone then find a community for themselves that shares these interests. It is a way for someone to begin the transition from ascribing to a community or norm, to establishing their own community or social circle for their own benefit.
Identity is a powerful thing that can help someone begin to view their own world in a way that not just makes sense to each person but helps inform the communities that someone would benefit from and ways to tackle each individual’s daily issues. The professionals and inclusive, supportive community established by the residents at START UP RECOVERY all help champion the idea of transforming one’s identity into something that you can be proud of. The luxurious atmosphere is designed to help each person feel as comfortable as possible while addressing their own vulnerabilities, mental health issues, or addictions. For more information on the various ways that the programs available at START UP RECOVERY can be curated to fit your needs and search for identity, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique circumstances, trials, and goals in recovery, call us today at (310) 773-3809.