The loss of control due to substance use is initially debilitating and can create chaos in day-to-day life. However, the habits and behaviors of addiction can eventually come to feel routine. For many, despite its adverse consequences, it provides comfort and familiarity. As a result, interrupting the cycle of substance abuse with treatment intervention is often met with resistance and uncertainty. Fear of recovery prevents tens of thousands of American’s from overcoming substance dependency.
Undergoing treatment for SUD may outwardly seem like an opportunity to redefine life, away from alcohol or drugs. However, for someone approaching recovery, the idea of life without substance abuse is foreign and monumentally life-altering. Fear of recovery is real and can seriously impact long-term healing.
Effective treatment doesn’t address substance use overnight. Instead, recovery is a gradual process. AspenRidge REACH Online Recovery provides evidence-based addiction programs that offer ongoing support during a crucial time. We can help you face the fear of recovery and achieve sobriety. Contact us today at 833-90-REACH.
Common Fears of Recovery
Fear is an emotion that is usually present among those who abuse drugs. Users can feel vulnerable to guilt, shame, and regret, and they may also fear not having access to substances, resulting in painful withdrawal symptoms. Those suffering from substance use disorder (SUD) may again fear losing family, not performing well at a job, dealing with everyday stressors, or even overdosing. The cycle of addiction depicts a sobering reality of individuals living in constant fear.
Below are some common fears of recovery:
Fear of Withdrawal
The symptoms of drug or alcohol withdrawal are perhaps the worst part of the vicious cycle of addiction. As a user builds up a tolerance, the brain becomes dependent on a substance. When that substance is suddenly removed from the picture, a rebound effect occurs. The brain attempts to recover from high levels of toxicity and searches for a way to regain functionality. During this process, individuals may experience textbook withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Body aches
In some cases, withdrawal can cause seizures. Understandably, the idea of moving away from drugs that the body has grown dependent on can elicit an irrational response. The underlying fear of recovery and withdrawal can manifest as anger, combativeness, and denial.
The severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms depends on various factors, including frequency of use and length of misuse. In some instances, medical detox is necessary because unmanaged drug or alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and even fatal. The withdrawal symptoms don’t last forever, and the process can be completed with as little pain and as much emotional support as necessary.
Fear of the Unknown
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults…age 18 and older.” That represents an estimated 18% of the entire population.
A person may have a fear of recovery due to beliefs that include thoughts of:
- Life being dull without alcohol or drugs
- Uncertainty of what to expect in treatment
- Perceived impossibilities of staying sober
- Being unable to manage triggers
Ultimately, fear can impede recovery. Fear, though, is a natural reaction within the recovery process. Addiction treatment programs should work to reassure clients of the process and remain transparent about treatment approaches. Receiving help for alcohol and drugs should also incorporate relapse prevention and address mental health, including anxiety.
Fear of Change
It’s not unusual for those abusing substances to fear the change that comes with sobriety. A question that often comes up during rehab is, what will life look like after alcohol and drugs?
Most people fear change because they can’t anticipate the outcome. We are hardwired to resist uncertainty. According to Psychology Today, our brain prefers predictable, negative consequences over uncertain ones. The hunger for certainty is one of the brain’s five functions. Uncertainty generates a strong alert response in our limbic system, and that’s why we worry. In a way, drugs or alcohol can help a person feel more in control of complicated feelings and be free from worry.
While change can be overwhelming, it’s a necessary component in overcoming dependency on alcohol or drugs. There will be moments during recovery when life feels uncertain. The loss of control may trigger an urge to resort to recurring drug abuse. To address these concerns, it’s helpful to plan the changes you wish to see in your own life. When all else fails, remember to take it one day at a time.
Fear of Loneliness
In the throes of addiction, individuals may have formed close bonds with acquaintances and friends drawn to the same lifestyle or substance use habits. In the early stages of recovery, letting go of these groups is painfully necessary. However, it can lead to feelings of loss and loneliness, particularly to a life shared among people who understood the struggle of drug abuse.
Loneliness can indeed fuel or trigger the urge to use drugs or alcohol. For this reason, many rehabilitation clinics and programs have incorporated holistic healing and group therapy to address symptoms of loneliness. By increasing social interaction opportunities, a person is less likely to experience isolation and emotional triggers that may result in relapse. More than that, forming quality relationships with people who share the same desires, values, and who can remain empathetic in the journey to sobriety makes a world of difference.
Daily exercise and holistic healing techniques like meditation can boost inner confidence reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. Getting outside and finding relief in nature helps combat the onset of loneliness during addiction recovery.
Fear of Relapse
Of course, a primary fear of recovery is always the possibility of relapse. Drugs and alcohol, which once served as a dangerous coping mechanism, are no longer readily available for abuse. Instead, individuals must rely on and trust in recovery coaches and addiction therapists. It means being vulnerable and relinquishing control of day-to-day actions.
There’s always the uncertainty that treatment may not work. What happens if relapse occurs? What if the rehabilitation techniques don’t work long-term? Or, what if you let everyone down?
The truth is, relapse is common. Around 85% of individuals in recovery will experience relapse within the first year. Fortunately, the rate of relapse does not determine overall success. Addiction treatment can and does work.
There are ways to prevent relapse, including recognizing all triggers. Also, substance addiction programs should assist in creating preventive relapse plans for each individual. And if relapse does happen, it’s important to know that it doesn’t signify failure. It’s part of the healing process, and it’s essential to pick back up and keep going.
Addressing the Fear of Recovery: Effective Treatment
During the early stages of treatment, the fear of recovery may be continuously present. Recognizing these negative thoughts is the first step to managing them. Push through the fears instead of letting them prevent a successful recovery. Even small steps toward recovery despite the fear can provide a sense of confidence.
It isn’t always easy, but approaching addiction treatment from a positive place helps set aside these every day worries. Open up to the possibility of new opportunities. Imagine a positive outcome instead of focusing the attention on the likelihood of adverse outcomes.
AspenRidge REACH Recovery & Online Addiction Treatment
Take control of your fear of recovery. AspenRidge REACH is a dual diagnosis online program offering various treatment options tailored to individual clients. Our licensed therapists and certified staff members are knowledgeable and supportive. The methodologies deployed through our programs often involve various approaches that can alleviate strong, negative emotions. These treatment options include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Group Support
- Ongoing Individual Therapy
- Co-Occurring Treatment Options
- Life skills training
- Holistic Treatment
- 12-Step Programs
Of course, we also treat a wide range of specific substances, which are listed here. Online treatment programs make it possible to receive recovery care while still maintaining a flexible schedule. REACH methodologies prove to support clients through recovery and long-term. We can address fear and healthy coping mechanisms to combat any doubt and uncertainty. We strive to remain transparent in our process and, during client intake, we provide a full assessment to address some of the concerns listed above.
Our licensed therapists can give you the tools you need to find relief from addiction. Contact us today at 833-90-REACH.