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Sober Living in Los Angeles: Slowly Becoming Who You Are

Posted on 03. Apr, 2014 by in Sober Living

Go to a social event in LA and you’ll see all sorts of people. There are men and women who are eccentric and even peculiar; they’re dressed more than casually, with colors splashed together and a colorful personality that matches. There are others who are conservative and who keep their souls and hearts reeled in, and who don’t give away their feelings so easily. Still, there are others, those who are passionate intellectuals who wear their glasses as a sign of their university degrees. And there are other personality types, like the yogis who fit the trendy spiritual groove. All sorts of people fill the rooms of social events happening across the city.

Yet, one of the contributors of alcoholism is the lack of a real connection with who you are, a firm foundation of a core self. Either that connection is entirely missing or there are parts of you that have been neglected or rejected. The absence of this sense of self can lead to either needing to protect yourself and hide behind drinking or drug use, or it can lead to trying to find it through the substance of your choice. It’s common to feel more confident, stronger, more at ease with yourself when you have a drink in your hand. It’s sometimes easier to feel at least some connection with yourself when you’re high.

There is in fact a psychological need to discover a sense of self. When that fails to happen it can cause dysfunction and disease later in life. To make things worse, Western culture strongly emphasizes seeking the acceptance of yourself from external sources. It is difficult to discover yourself in the face of the myriad of images the media presents. In order to look good tonight you need to buy this dress tonight, the commercials tell us. In order to feel good you need to wear this cologne, say the ads. However, finding yourself won’t come from wearing or doing anything externally based. And it certainly won’t come from drinking or taking in any sort of drugs. Instead, becoming more and more who you are is a necessary stage in psychological development, according to Erik Erickson, and that requires developing a healthy relationship with yourself.

Erik Erikson is a developmental psychologist who described the entire life span as a series eight stages, each of which are difficult conflicts an individual needs to move through. The successful transition through each stage facilitates the success of future stages in life. This is important to point out – the successful move through a conflict at one stage will facilitate the successful move through later stages.

During adolescence, the teenager is faced with the challenge of finding their unique identity among experiences of role confusion, peer pressure, and family tradition. This is the time in life when a teen is reaching for their independence, uncovering their uniqueness, and discovering the role he or she will play in life. However, doing this in the midst of other confused teenagers, family conflicts, and the lingering need to hang onto childhood is the daunting task of adolescence. Some teens will be able to successfully identify what makes them uniquely who they are, while others will not find this until later in life and may experience emotional and psychological difficulty as a result.

When an individual doesn’t have a firm sense of self, he or she might reach for alcohol to be “seen”, to hide behind another version of themselves, to fit into a group when underneath they might feel the pain of self-rejection, or to feel loved and accepted by others.

Of course, becoming who you are is a slow process. And it is a journey of self-love. Beginning the path of sobriety is a form of self-love as well as inward seeking practices such as journaling, meditation, yoga, exercise, and creative expression. Other forms of discovering who you are is learning what your body needs to stay healthy, making choices that help create a safe foundation for yourself, and choosing friends who are supportive. Yet, most importantly, if you’re on the path of discovering who you are, looking outside of yourself can become a major obstacle. Restoring your relationship with yourself will require your attention inward. In this way, you can come to know who you are, your unique responses to life, your feelings, thoughts, and ideas.

Getting to know yourself is a necessary part of sober living. Doing so can facilitate finally making choices that are no longer self-destructive, but instead life-affirming and self-loving. Find the right sober living in Los Angeles is the first step to becoming your true self. Read more about the sober living process here.
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