Those of us who no longer rely on alcohol and drugs to make us ‘feel ok’ know how important it is to keep our eyes on the ball. The consequences of complacency for people in recovery from addiction don’t bear thinking about and we know that staying ahead of the game is essential if relapse is to be avoided.

I don’t know if I am typical, but when I was drinking or using drugs, the things that other people used to derive pleasure from seemed to escape me completely. Obviously, once the progression of addiction has reached the point where one’s entire existence is based on the acquisition and ingestion of mind altering substances, it is understandable that nothing else matters. However, I cannot remember any time in my life when ‘the simple things’ had any impact on me whatsoever. Perhaps this is synonymous with the ‘addictive personality’ – I don’t know, I will leave that one to the psychologists. It does possibly suggest that we do not all experience the same levels of pleasure to a given stimulus and that those with ‘addictive personalities’ are wired for particularly low levels.

Living life without one chemical or another coursing through my veins now enables me to appreciate the things that I either did not see at all, or was too busy wrapped up in my own little world to be concerned with. These ‘simple things’ like the dawn chorus, sunsets, a walk in the park or a smile from a baby are free but worth their weight in gold.

One of the benefits of this new-found appreciation of the simple things in life is it seems to have a therapeutic effect in helping me to get whatever problems I have at the time into perspective. There is something very reassuring in knowing that the sun will rise, the birds will sing and the weather will change etc.

Having evolved from the zombie-like creature whose only purpose in life was to meet the needs of the ‘governor’ (addiction), I am now free to marvel at the things that have always been there. In truth, living life without the psychological compulsion to obtain (at any cost), the chemicals my body demanded just to function at basic levels, is nothing short of re-birth. A bit flowery I know, but for those of you who have also experienced the chaos, fear, despair and darkness of the living nightmare – it will strike a chord.

It is all too easy for us - the lucky ones – who have broken free from the shackles of addiction to take things for granted. To get bogged down in the hum drum of boring routine and forget where we have come from and who we are is not only foolhardy, it is down right dangerous.

So take some time in your new life to explore the simple things that might have escaped you in your old life. It won't cost you a penny and the payoff is worth a king's ransom.

Author's Bio: 

Ray Baker is the founder of Drug Rehab which hosts the National Addiction Treatment & Rehabilitation Directory.

Helping those with drug and alcohol problems in the UK, to help themselves.