It can take a long time and a lot of heartache to get to the point in your addiction where you decide that you need alcohol and drug treatment. It’s true what they say – wanting to get better is sometimes the first step toward long-term recovery, but the fear that keeps you from seeking treatment can be debilitating.
What is keeping you from seeking alcohol and drug treatment?
Fear of Dope Sickness
Dope sickness is the worst feeling in the world. It’s a terrible stretch of days that you feel will never end and the only thing that will make you feel better and get you through it is more dope. You lose control over your body, and all you can think about is getting high. You’re wondering how you can get it and who you can get it from until you are obsessed to the point that you feel like you are losing your mind. Dope sickness challenges your entire self, physically, emotionally, and mentally.
What to do:
Withdrawal from drugs or alcohol abuse is depicted in the media in the form of horror stories that can make you feel like you won’t be able to handle it. While we aren’t saying it will be easy, with the help of a medically supervised detox, the most difficult withdrawal symptoms will be eased. Detox can be challenging, but everyone is different and you might discover that it’s not as bad as you think.
Fear of Wreckage
After you break through the dope sickness, there is an array of emotional challenges that will follow, including facing the wreckage that your addiction left in your wake. The people that you hurt, the questionable things you said or did when you were high, the emotional baggage that you now carry is so apparent. It’s staring you in the face and it’s not easy to look at. The more you push it off and think, ”I will just get to it later when I’m more ready” the more it just piles up.
What to do:
The silver lining here is the calm after the storm. Think of it this way, you can start again – fresh. Life has handed you a clean slate that you can start over with and build the life you have always wanted.
Fear of Change
In your addiction, you were comfortable. It was familiar and it felt like home. You used so that you could live from day to day and in your mind, the drugs helped you to stay sane. Now, without them you inevitably have to accept that change is in order. Change is scary for anyone, addiction or no addiction, but change can be good. People live their whole lives without accepting it, but the longer you hold back the longer you stay right where you are.
What to do:
Since change is intangible, you can’t see it or touch it, which makes it even harder to believe in. Try to create a vision for the change you want to see in your life. Write in a journal or create a visual mood board that you can see and reference every day to remind you of what you have to look forward to.
Fear of Loss
Giving up your addiction can feel a lot like losing a friend or breaking up with a boyfriend. Albeit, a co-dependent, and toxic friend, but one that has been there for you nonetheless. You did everything together, and nothing apart. You also have to learn to live without your IRL using friends. Learning to live without your addiction is scary for this very reason and is one of the biggest reasons that you might fear getting better.
What to do:
Any friend who ditches you or gets mad at you just because you want to go sober or clean isn’t a friend worth stressing over. It will be sad to lose your friends and your addiction, but what you will get in their place is so much more rewarding. The more room you make for healthy and happy relationships in your life, the happier you will be.
Fear of Feeling
You’ve been numbed to your emotions and pain. Anything that ever happened to you, you just drank, shot, and smoked it all away. Take the drug and alcohol abuse out of the equation and all these feelings start taking over. The more you sober or clean up, the more the feelings you feel and it’s overwhelming, to say the very least.
What to do:
It’s going to happen and you can’t stop it. You are stronger, braver, and smarter than you think you are. So just feel the feelings and take a step forward anyway. Reaching out to a support group, a counselor, or a sponsor can help you navigate these feelings without compromising your recovery.
Fear of all five of these things is completely understandable, but you should know that you don’t have to do any of it alone. When you share, you can help someone who is in a dark place find the light to their path of recovery. If you are in recovery, we want to know about your experience with fear and how you overcame it. Share with us in the comments below or via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.