A New Look at the “California Dream” and What it Means for Your Recovery

California recovery center

California has been the dreamland of many people who hope to gain wealth, stardom, or simply start over. It is equally a state of mind as it is a state: a place for fresh starts, freeways, and fame. Traditionally, the California Dream may bring into mind images of wealth, success, and sunshine. Yet, as many people come here to pursue their dreams and aspirations, they find that accomplishing these goals takes a lot more hard work than moving here and having blind luck. 

Not gaining instant success like the dream may have promised them can cause frustration. They may find themselves getting caught in an undercurrent, lost, trying to reach the life they had idealized. On the other hand, they may have worked hard and achieved their dreams, yet their life isn’t all they had hoped it to be. When people are successful, it does not automatically wipe away their insecurities, worries, and fears. However, much of the media contributes to the belief that you will be successful and happy if you go to California. Negotiating the differences between these fantasies and reality can be dizzying. 

Dangers of Using Substances to Cope with the Pressures of Success

While the Hollywood sign symbolizes dreams and hope, for some, it represents broken dreams. Dealing with intense feelings of extreme success or heartbreaking failure can cause people to look for a quick fix to alleviate their tumultuous situation. For many, they find this relief through drugs and alcohol. After all, the pressure of coming to California to “make it” can be overwhelming, and excessive and repeated use of substances can lead to addiction. 

The nature of the disease of addiction is all-consuming. Those living with a substance use disorder (SUD) may find that working towards or maintaining their own version of the California Dream has been put on hold or is diminishing. Entering into treatment and rediscovering your own California Dream with a new, healthy skill set can set your life back into motion. In this new light of recovery, you can find the motivation, clarity, and fresh start at achieving your goals, dreams, and aspirations. Carrying over the California Dream’s sentiments of hope and new opportunities into your recovery while leaving out the idea of instant success without hard work can help you build the right mindset for long-term recovery. 

History of the California Dream

Although every individual has their unique view and experience of the California Dream, the history of this dreamscape may provide insight and inspiration into the shaping of your new start in recovery. Around 1849, the California Gold Rush resulted in California’s name becoming inextricably linked with the Gold Rush and rapid success in the west. This became known as the “California Dream.” It was perceived as a place of new beginnings, opportunity, and good fortune. It became associated with the belief that hard work and a bit of luck would be rewarded with wealth in California. It gained notability as the “Golden State” and shaped many people’s dreams of coming west for instant wealth and success. 

Irrespective of their size and scope, dreams drive human behavior. Many accomplishments start as dreams, and although hard work is necessary to actualize them, having that desire and aspiration drives innovation and creation. It can also be the starting point of recovery. Whether the California Dream means searching for gold veins guaranteeing riches beyond their wildest imaginations, achieving stardom among the twinkling lights in Hollywood, enjoying life with family by the beach, or gaining a fresh, sober start, allow yourself to dream in the first place. Then, taking actionable steps to achieve it lies at the core of the California Dream and long-term recovery. 

Incorporating These Sentiments Into Your Recovery Journey

In its long history, the California Dream has meant different things to different people. Yet, it is often the artists, writers, and creatives that help us reimagine California and what it can be. You also have the power to shape and imagine what your journey to recovery can be. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, you can reimagine your circumstance, dream up a life you want, and work hard towards achieving it. With this mentality ingrained into the state’s history, it can be a great place to start your recovery journey. 

Addiction treatment aims to restore a patient’s health and well-being and allows them to start a new life apart from substance abuse. Detoxification, therapy, and gaining recovery skills are all a part of this process. Life in recovery can be just as fun with the added benefit of being healthy and having the clarity to pursue the things you want in life. 

The dreamscape of California paints a different picture for everyone. Some people may see visions of fame, success, and wealth, while others may see a chance at a new start and opportunities. However, over-idealizing a place without considering life’s realities can often be a harsh wake-up call to many. Trying to cope with these difficult emotions that arise from the pressures to succeed can lead to unhealthy tendencies such as using alcohol or drugs for relief. However, this relief is only temporary and can ultimately put a damper on one’s initial efforts to achieve their goals and aspirations. Entering into treatment and reimagining your own California Dream with a new, healthy skill set can help set your life back into motion. As a premier substance abuse treatment center in Los Angeles, the Hollywood sign’s historical symbol of dreams and hope represents the message that all of us at Alta Centers represent. Call (888) 202-2583.

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