Content Reviewed by Jennifer Wheeler, Clinical & Community Outreach
There are many reasons people avoid addiction treatment and recovery. Some of these reasons include the unknown costs, accessibility of a treatment center, stigma related to treatment, and denial. Another reason that people may avoid treatment for addiction is fear. Some people fear the unknown; some people are afraid they won’t be able to get and stay sober; others may even fear the idea of becoming healthy. Whatever your fears may be surrounding seeking treatment for addiction, changing your thinking can help you overcome them.
Are You Afraid of Getting Healthy?
While it may seem counterintuitive, many people get comfortable in their addiction. Particularly if you have used substances for an extended period of time, this way of life may be all you know. Getting healthy means change, accountability and many other unknowns. That can be scary, and you would certainly not be the first person to fear change.
To change this from a fear into something positive, you can embrace treatment as a time of healing. No one wants to suffer a broken bone, but once you have, you appreciate when it is mended that much more. Treatment can be like that for you. Take this time to slow down and let your mind, body and spirit heal.
Rather than fearing sobriety, you can also embrace recovery as a new way of life. Just like trying a new food can be scary, it also may end up being the most delicious thing that you have ever tasted. Had you never tried it, you would never know. When you reframe your attitude and thinking about addiction recovery, you can overcome your fears and simply focus on getting healthy.
Fears and Barriers to Treatment
There are many other fears and barriers to learning how to beat addictions. If you have experienced any or all of these, you are not alone:
- Fear of withdrawal symptoms
- Fear of being sober
- Cost of treatment
- Fear of relapse
- Afraid of stigma
- Access to treatment
- Fear of motivation
When you look at each fear and where it is coming from, you can address the fear and, if necessary, find a solution. You can ask for support in helping you to face your fears and overcome the obstacles in your way. For example, many people fear the symptoms of withdrawal. However, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can significantly lower your withdrawal symptoms. Fear is your mind’s way of warning you of danger, but sometimes fear gets in the way of positive change.
Using Positive Thinking to Overcome Fear
One way to overcome fear surrounding drug and alcohol addiction recovery is to face your fears with positive thinking. Fear invokes negative thoughts, which tend to limit your ability to think or act rationally. These negative thoughts build up and lead to inaction, which means that in the case of treatment, you do not seek the treatment you need simply because of thought processes that are not necessarily based on anything tangible. By replacing the negative thoughts with positive thoughts, the fears can dissipate and allow you to move forward.
How Can Education Help With Fears?
Education is another way to remove unnecessary fears. Because so many fears are based on unknowns, learning what is actually true about how to beat addictions can also remove your fears. For example, you may think that you cannot afford treatment or that there are no facilities nearby. But by taking the time to research and ask questions, you may find that there are many programs available to cover the costs and that there are treatment centers accessible to you that you were simply not aware of.
The more you learn about drug and alcohol addiction recovery, the more your fears will be allayed. You might learn that while stigma can still be real in certain environments, there are likely plenty of people that you know who are in recovery that you are just not aware of. Educating yourself makes you proactive in learning how to beat addictions.
Finding Self-Compassion to Accept New Challenges
One of the most difficult aspects of your thinking to change is to find self-compassion. Too often, those in addiction indulge in guilt, shame and blame, which are also examples of negative thinking. Being open to the idea that you are worth recovery, that you matter and that your life has meaning will help you to change your thinking about drug and alcohol addiction recovery. By addressing and overcoming your fears, you will be prepared to accept the new challenges as you learn how to beat addictions.
Avoiding treatment for addiction happens for many reasons, but there are often a lot of different fears concerning drug and alcohol addiction recovery. Being able to address your fears with education and positive thinking will help you move forward. Having compassion for yourself will help you begin the healing process. DiscoveryMD offers accessibility and the flexibility of both intensive outpatient and outpatient services to begin your recovery process. Our compassionate staff are in recovery themselves, and they can help you overcome your fears so you can be healthy again. We offer individual and group counseling to help you learn how to manage your recovery and MAT to help reduce your cravings as you heal. All of the services you need are under one roof to make treatment easier for you. Contact us to learn more about our DiscoveryMD.