...and How to Overcome Them
Even if deep down we know we have a problem with alcohol, drug or medication addiction – or a behavioural addiction such as sex or gambling – the idea of getting sober, going to rehab or attending addiction treatment can provoke intense feelings of fear, shame, anxiety and worthlessness.
These feelings can be debilitating. Our apprehension can lead us to delay treatment, to deny we have a problem, to deny treatment is necessary or even to increase our intake of a harmful substance to try to get over those feelings or block them out.
At Sydney's South Pacific Private, many of our staff who work on our addiction recovery programs have been through addiction themselves, so they know exactly what you’re going through. They’re walking proof that recovery is possible.
Here are eight fears we’ve seen about entering addiction rehab, and how you might reframe your thinking to help beat them:
1) Fear of withdrawal symptoms
If your body has become dependent on alcohol, drugs or prescription medication, stopping usage can provoke intense physical and emotional symptoms of withdrawal as your body readjusts. These symptoms can include anxiety, fatigue, nausea, depression and even seizures or hallucinations. Fear of this process is understandable.
The good news is that at a drug and alcohol treatment centre which offers medically supervised detox, you won’t have to go through this process alone. Undergoing supervised detox means you’ll have a team checking on your symptoms and monitoring your progress, and you’ll have access to withdrawal medications to reduce any pain or other symptoms.
Withdrawal can be tough, but it will only get tougher the further down the addiction cycle you travel. The very best place to experience withdrawal is in a setting where the reassurance and support of experienced medical care is on hand, and the best time to start is now.
2) Fear of living substance-free
If we’ve been using a substance or behaviour to cope with intrusive negative thoughts or painful emotions, the idea of living without that substance can be daunting. We worry those feelings and thoughts may come flooding back if we don’t have an addiction to keep them out. In reality, however, substances are not a sustainable way of managing anxiety, depression, trauma or intrusive thoughts. In many cases it will only make them worse longer-term.
At a comprehensive treatment centre, staff will aim not only to end addictive behaviour, but to help equip you with tools, strategies and techniques to manage and minimise intrusive thoughts and painful emotions. With expert psychologists, therapists and psychiatrists on hand, the conditions causing distressing thoughts and emotions can be diagnosed and treated. It is possible to live both substance free, and free from emotional pain.
3) Fear That You’ll Be Alone
Addiction can be an incredibly isolating experience, cutting us off from friends and family and making us feel like nobody can understand the pain, pressure and forces we’re experiencing. In reality, however, addiction is a condition experienced by people across all socioeconomic levels and all personality types.
At South Pacific Private, a number of our founders, directors and clinical staff have experienced addiction and trauma themselves and are living proof that recovery is possible. Their lived experience, and the experiences of others you’ll meet in rehab, can be a powerful point of connection and understanding. There are people out there who understand what you’re going through – and who understand the pain, loss and destroyed relationships which addiction can cause – because they’ve been there themselves.
4) Fear that you’re not worthy of help
In the grips of addiction, we can feel utterly worthless and completely defeated. Trauma from our past can leave us with little self-respect and a distorted perception of ourselves
We’ve been working in addiction treatment for almost 30 years though, and we’re yet to meet anyone who isn’t worthy of recovery. For individuals suffering from addiction, trauma and mental health issues, the substances we use and the way we’re thinking can warp our reality and distort our sense of ourselves.
Feelings of worthlessness don’t have to be permanent, they can be treated and our self-perception can be readjusted and repaired. Everyone deserves the gift of recovery.
5) Fear of the unknown
If you’ve never been to rehab or a treatment centre before, apprehension about not knowing what to expect is completely understandable. Then again, most people who walk through our doors have never been to treatment before, so you’re not alone. We pride ourselves on helping people quickly feel comfortable, welcome and at home.
If you’d like to learn more about our treatment and what to expect, take a look around our website. We’re available to answer any questions on 1800 063 332.
6) Fear of failure
If you’ve tried and failed to end your addiction before, or if you’ve never tried before, it’s understandable that you may be anxious about failure and what that may mean for you. First, it’s important to understand that even with professional support, the recovery process isn’t always a straight line. Relapse may happen, it’s how we deal with it that matters.
Effective addiction treatment will deliver you the tools and strategies you need to sustain recovery longer term, and help you identify warning signs and how to address them. You’ll develop a relapse plan, with a course of action to follow if you feel yourself verging into relapse. It’s also important to understand that even if it takes a few tries – as it does for some people – each attempt will help build resilience, expand your awareness, develop skills and help you start a step ahead next time.
It’s a cliché, but it’s definitely true that trying and failing is far better than never trying at all.
7) Fear of admitting you have a problem
Admitting we have a problem, to ourselves or to loved ones, can make our addiction feel very real and we may worry about the impact it will have on others. In reality though, our addictions are real whether we acknowledge them or not, and they will almost certainly escalate and accrue increasingly significant damage – becoming more and more inescapable. The best way to truly minimise an addiction is to intervene as soon as possible.
Often, we’ll find that our friends, family and even colleagues are aware that we have a problem, and may be harbouring their own deep concerns about your behaviour and wellbeing. Rather than surprised, loved ones will likely be relieved to know you’ve acknowledged the issue and have a clear plan to get better.
8) Fear of facing the consequences
Getting clean and sober, and dealing with the impact of our actions, is an important part of recovery. This can be daunting, particularly if our addiction has resulted in damage to our families, our relationships, our careers and our finances. But there’s no better place to deal with guilt and remorse than in a supported recovery environment, surrounded and supported by people who have gone through the same thing and can guide you toward healthy, productive responses.
Remember: Entering treatment doesn’t mean you have to solve all your problems in one go. Rehab is often the start of your recovery journey, and a place which will equip you with the tools, awareness and long-term support to be successful.
At South Pacific Private, we understand it takes courage to reach out for help. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey and break free of addiction, call us now on 1800 063 332.
Australia’s Leading Treatment Centre
Learn more about addiction and recovery with South Pacific Private.