Young adults and adolescents today face enormous pressures of perfectionism. Social norms and cultural expectations are outlined through thousands of media advertisements each day. In the beginning stages of developing their sense of self, young people are inundated with messages of who they should be, how they should look, and what they should do. Those expectations are repeated in their school and social lives. Bullying, social exclusion, and feelings of isolation can increase the risk for developing drug addiction or alcoholism.
Succumbing to social pressure to fit in through drinking or experimenting with drugs can lead to a series of actions and behaviors which are damaging to a young person’s life. Through the process of recovery, young adults learn to be unconcerned with what others think of them. By living each day clean and sober based on spiritual principle, they redeem who they are. However, principals of schools, coaches, friends, and family may not be quick to offer redemption.
Repairing Reputation and Credibility
Adolescent addicts in recovery can begin to regain their credibility with friends and family by taking ownership of their past transgressions. Actively acknowledging mistakes includes taking accountability and responsibility. Friends and family might intellectually understand the problems that were faced. Emotionally, however, they will be more likely to trust again when the explanation is accompanied by an addict’s direct admission, honesty, and amends.
Identifying the gains that are made by a recovering adolescent addict will also help to rebuild his credibility. These gains can be as seemingly insignificant as making it through a day or week without drugs or alcohol, or as major as getting and keeping regular employment. Recovery programs will teach their participants to set simple goals that they can achieve to build their own self-esteem. Achieving these goals will be good evidence to others that recovery is on track.
Almost every adolescent in recovery will experience bouts of self-doubt, shame, and guilt over their past addictions. If they are not able to shed these negative thoughts, they will have equal trouble convincing their family and friends to give them credibility for their recovery efforts. Recovering addicts and alcoholics should acknowledge their situations but should not get mired in the past. Recovery is about moving forward with a new lifestyle that rejects old ways of thinking that would otherwise erode a person’s credibility.
Sustain Recovery Services in southern California works with adolescents and young adults who are recovering from drug addiction and alcoholism, struggling to rebuild their lives. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information on our comprehensive extended care services.