The 20’s: They are the years where you really start to figure out who you are. I mean, all of life is about figuring out who you are but in your 20’s you really start to get an idea of who that person is, but more importantly, there seems to be less of a need to have other people approve. The 20′s are all about change. They are the time during your life when you can take big life risks but you can still bounce back from them, should something go haywire.
Being 20-30 Years Old Has Changed
Your 20′s are equated to having no strings attached to anything. You probably don’t have kids, you probably aren’t married yet, you don’t have a mortgage, none of it. So you really have a lot of freedom to go out and experience your dreams. This is the opportunity to do absolutely anything you set your mind to before you settle down, if that is your ultimate goal anyway, to settle down.
This kind of freedom of being an independent adult equipped with the idea that you can still bounce back because you are young is part of the reason it can be extremely difficult to get sober in your 20′s. Getting sober doesn’t have to be difficult at all, but for the sake of taking a look at age and its factor in whether or not you are sober, just play along with me. In the mind of an addict in their 20′s it seems as if they have already wasted much of their youth but that they still have so much time ahead of them. This time ahead of them can be crippling when it comes to finding recovery because it may seem like an impossible feat to ever manage to stay sober for the next, what, 40, 50, even 60 years. Hence why recovery pushes the whole one day at a time thing.
And yet, the 20s are old enough to know better as well. You are old enough to realize how bad it can get because it did get really bad. And you are also old enough to realize that losing another 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years, probably wouldn’t be worth it in the long run. Unfortunately, the disease of addiction doesn’t play along with the rules of worth it or not worth it. It is fueled by malady and obsession instead.
The Downsides to Getting Sober in Your 20s:
- The idea that you didn’t get to have as much fun as you think you wanted to.
- The pessimism that you can’t stay sober for the rest of your life.
- That other people got to do more than you.
- That because you are so young that it means you can go back out for a little while, or stay out a while longer.
- The idea of “one last time” fueled by a tad bit of what is leftover from your teens; the invincibility, know it all, but now I’m old enough to do what I want thing.
- I didn’t hit a real bottom, in comparison to others
Honestly, these thoughts can be a real obstacle to sobriety. These thoughts are kind of reservations that need to be gotten rid of. They are normal to have, but they are also something that needs to be tossed out of your mind. Because like I said, the disease doesn’t play by the rules. It knows your voice, your reasoning, and your way of thinking and it will use whatever loophole it can to get you back out, supposedly having a good time.
Sober in Your 20s? You are going to have to deal with things like this:
“I spilled more than you drank.” or the infamous “I wish I had gotten sober when I was your age.” or the “You have your whole life ahead of you.”
Despite your best intentions, there can be some discouraging talk from the very group your seeking help from. This is simply misplaced cynicism, don’t let it dissuade you. While this isn’t really a downside just remember that the reason people say these things are probably because they really do wish that they had managed to get the opportunity to live their life again starting in their 20′s.
We get one shot at this, and every day, week, month, or even year lost, we will never get back. Lucky for you in your 20′s you get to have over half your life building and not destroying. So the idea that you didn’t get to go hard enough or long enough is a fantasy. Trust me, it only gets worse. Those first 30 seconds of peace you felt the first time you got high or drunk will most likely never happen again. It will all be downhill from here.
The Upside to Getting Sober in Your 20s:
Getting sober in your 20s is jam-packed with possibility. It really is like you didn’t miss a beat. You got the chance to see what harrowing effects addiction and alcoholism can have on your life but you have now put that behind you and learned from it. Now you have the majority of your life to do great things. You really do get the opportunity to live two lives in one without ever really, truly, LOSING anything. Because getting sober in your 20s is quite young, in comparison to say getting sober in your 40s or 50s, you still can achieve and have everything you want in life. You still can pretty much live, moving forward as if you never even had the past you did. But don’t allow that to make you forget your past either. Being an addict, a recovered one, in your 20s can give you the ability to be more mature, worldly, independent, passionate, and purposeful. It can give meaning in your life where there may have been none. You still are the future that is coming! And how awesome is that? Really I guess what I am saying is that getting sober in your 20s is totally worth it.
Many addicts in their 20s think that may have missed out on something if they get sober at a young age. But let me tell you this, if you continue using, the only thing you’re going to miss out on is life. Just ask anyone who got sober at a bit of an older age than you. I mean the idea that you didn’t get to go out and drink at bars, or live that kind of bachelorette/bachelor, party lifestyle because you were sent to rehab in your 20s doesn’t mean you missed anything. It means you were given an opportunity many people don’t get until much later or until it is too late at all. Don’t let the idea in your head that you haven’t experienced a bottom because you are young or anything of the sort stops you from getting sober. Because when you are using the only thing that you aren’t experiencing is the amazing life you could be living by getting sober in your 20s.
The world is your oyster, just gotta get sober.
(I’m not saying this isn’t true for any other age-this is just characteristic for 20-year-olds.)