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Finding Your Identity Outside of Recovery

Recovering from substance abuse is a huge transition. The transition to sobriety is not just about eliminating the substance from your life but also about becoming a new you. Recovery is about exploring who you are and what matters to you. To help with this transition, take a moment to ask yourself, “Who do I want to become?” and “What do I want to change in my life?” These questions will give you a head start in finding your identity during recovery.

In this blog post, we will help you explore who you are in this new phase of your life. We will also help you find sober activities and rediscover things you liked before addiction. Additionally, we will explain how The Guest House can help you with this transition through our alumni program.

What Is the Truth About Finding Your Identity?

You have completed treatment and are most likely living a life you feel good about. There is something that is missing, though. Like many people, you may be struggling with finding your identity outside of treatment. Maybe you feel a little lost without being in the midst of others in addiction treatment. Give yourself some grace, because your addiction absorbed a lot of your time. Now that your time is freed up, you have a chance to find your identity and explore what that means to you. It’s important to be intentional with your time because idle time can lead to boredom and relapse.

The truth is that your identity was never lost. Life events obscured it and now it is time to remove those obscurations layer by layer. Your identity may look a little bit different now than it did before treatment. However, that could simply be because you found more freedom in healing.

The good news is that you are in the perfect place to redefine who you want to be. Only you get to decide and no one else can tell who you are you but you. For example, to explore your interests, perhaps you want to take a dance class or challenge yourself to read one book per month. You may want to connect with people who are like-minded and with whom you share common interests. After all, the opposite of addiction is connection; therefore, making connections can help you with finding your identity.

What Do Addiction and Finding Your Identity Have to Do With Each Other?

Before entering treatment, your addiction was your identity. A person’s addiction consumes every thought, action, and feeling. While embroiled in addiction, people are not able to truly focus on themselves in a healthy way. Now, you have many avenues and options you can pursue. You are more than your addiction and have so much more to find out about yourself. Part of sobriety is learning more about yourself and exploring how to find your identity through recovery.

You have not lost your identity due to addiction. Instead, you have gained a new version of yourself free of substance use. As you continue to learn about this new version of yourself, take some time and allow this self to blossom. For example, maybe you have always wanted to take a dance class or participate in a book club. You have the freedom to do whatever it is that you want. It is about being self-aware and exploring what makes you happy in finding your identity.

What Are Three Helpful Tools for Finding Your Identity?

Part of recovery is finding your identity without your substance use. This can be overwhelming to think about. However, with three helpful tools, you may be steered in the direction of your new, upgraded self.

Interests and Hobbies

Exploring things that interest you can be a good place to start when you are trying to find your identity. What type of person are you? Do you enjoy creative pursuits, domestic activities like cooking, outdoor activities, or team sports, or are you a bookworm? You can explore many interests by yourself or alongside others. Delving into new interests and hobbies is just one step in the right direction in finding your identity.


How can journaling help you find your identity? The answer is that if you review the words you’ve written, you will most likely find common themes. According to the journal JIMR Mental Health, research indicates that journaling your thoughts and feelings can lead to decreased anxiety and/or depression. You may surprise yourself at what you learn about yourself just by writing your thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams on paper.


Sometimes, guilt and shame surface when trying to discover a new identity after treatment. One of the most helpful ways to reduce those feelings is to volunteer to give back to society. Giving back can help you rediscover your true self and reduce feelings of guilt and shame.

The Guest House and Finding Your Identity

At The Guest House, we believe in a village of sober support people. This is why we offer an alumni program to help everyone in recovery. No matter where you are on your recovery journey, fostering connection is a key to success in recovery. This program provides you with the benefits of connecting with others even after you complete treatment.

Recognizing that you are ready to help those in early recovery is a beautiful thing. Do not take that for granted. Express your interest in helping others. As you branch out and help others in recovery, it is important to understand your boundaries. Ask yourself if you can conquer different situations without being tempted to utilize addictive substances. Set boundaries to keep yourself safe and remain successful in your journey to lifelong sobriety.

Exploring who you have become without substance use can be overwhelming. Perhaps you have never given yourself praise or acknowledgment for your accomplishments thus far. You deserve to feel proud of yourself. What’s more, you deserve to engage in the process of finding your identity in recovery. After all, you have left behind the version of yourself that used substances to cope. Now is the exciting part where you can transform yourself into anything you want. It is your choice how you spend your time and define your identity. At The Guest House, we value your identity and want to help you find freedom in your future. Give us a call today at (855) 483-7800.