Deciding that you’re ready for drug or alcohol rehab is but one step in a lifelong journey. For many people, this step proves incredibly daunting. Immediately after you’ve committed to treatment, you may be plagued by a number of surprising and persistent fears.
Even the very idea of success can be intimidating. However, recognizing and overcoming these fears will lead you down a path of self-discovery, hope, health, and happiness.
It’s not uncommon to be afraid just before the start of addiction treatment. Understanding that most people experience the same sense of anxiety, and for the very same reasons, can be helpful. Moreover, as you acknowledge and work to understand your fears, you’ll find that there are many simple strategies for putting them to rest.
The Most Common Struggles When Considering Rehab
The biggest and most common fear that people face when preparing for drug rehab is the fear of physical and emotional pain. If you’ve ever abstained from your substance of choice before, you’re well aware of the many uncomfortable distress signals that your body sends out. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop using a substance is the hallmark of addiction. It means that your body is physically dependent upon this substance and that it must relearn how to live without it.
Withdrawing can also be mentally and emotionally devastating. Certain emotions such as anxiety, anger, and sadness are heightened. Others seem not to manifest at all. Given the dramatic changes that substance use causes in a person’s brain chemistry, motivation, happiness, and even general mood balance are often difficult to achieve.
Fortunately, both physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms are relatively short-lived. More importantly, when you complete detox in a professionally monitored setting, you’ll have constant, around-the-clock access to therapies and interventions that make this process both shorter and more comfortable.
Another incredibly common fear among addicts who are just starting the road to addiction recovery is the fear of experiencing guilt, shame, regret, and other emotions that have been tucked away or muted by drug or alcohol use. In some instances, substance use is an effort to self-treat underlying mental health conditions such as:
- Major depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- General anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
or others. When both substance use disorder and any other underlying mental health issue exist together, these are called co-occurring disorders. Using substances to treat a co-occurring disorder on your own won’t make your mental or emotional discomfort go away. In fact, it can actually heighten the symptoms of the underlying issue, increase your risk of overdose, and lead to other problems.
Going to rehab will give you access to dual diagnosis treatment so that you can find a safe, sustainable way of managing both illnesses. It will set the stage for mood balance and give you increased control over your emotions and your life.
Facing Your Past Head-On
Like most addicts, you’ve probably done quite a few things that you aren’t proud of. With sobriety comes mental clarity and the inability to escape the shame and guilt that you’ve repressed. These are natural emotions in recovery.
They are also natural emotions in addiction. Repressing them doesn’t make them disappear and seeking treatment doesn’t make them more intense. Going to rehab is an opportunity to explore these emotions and then put them to rest.
It is also a chance to understand the behaviors that are responsible for these emotions, and to start repairing the damages that they’ve caused in your relationships. In rehab, you’ll learn better communication skills, how to set healthy boundaries, and how to form meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships. When using drugs or alcohol stops being your first priority, you can start showing the people that you care about how much you value them.
Detox and Withdrawal Symptoms
A lot of addicts attempt to go “cold turkey” on their own at home. As a result, not only are their withdrawal symptoms overwhelming, but they often also lose hope in their ability to get well. Going “cold turkey” or detoxing without support can be dangerous with certain substances. In a rehab center, medical interventions can be used to limit the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
With certain substances and certain interventions, it is even possible for rehab professionals to both anticipate oncoming problems and stop them before they manifest. In supervised detox, you’ll always have someone to talk to, you’ll always have feasible ways to limit or manage your pain, and you can additionally look forward to an expedited return to wellness.
Leaving Your Life and Loved Ones Behind While in Rehab
You may be worried about leaving your friends and family members behind. Who will take care of them while you’re gone? Will important events happen without you? Will everyone still be there, ready to hold a spot in your life when you get back?
One very important part of rehab is recognizing your own self-worth. It’s about acknowledging that you’re good enough, interesting enough, and valuable enough to appreciate when you’re sober. Without rehab, you cannot be fully present in anyone’s life. You cannot be fully present as a parent, a spouse, an employee, or a friend.
By choosing to overcome your fears and complete addiction treatment, you can start sharing the very best of yourself with those around you. It’s also important to remember that the people who truly care about you are rooting for you to succeed.
There are also multiple options in rehab. Inpatient drug addiction treatment tends to be the best choice for people who’ve been using highly addictive substances or who’ve tried recovery and relapsed before. Inpatient programs are held on closed, secure campuses and typically require a one-month to three-month commitment.
However, there are also intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs that will give you access to the same level of structure and support while providing far more flexibility and freedom. With these rehab styles, once your time in treatment is done, you can return home each evening to spend time with your loved ones, go to work, go to school, or take care of other personal businesses.
Losing Your Job
If outpatient treatment or a partial hospitalization program isn’t the right choice for you, you may be worried that going to an inpatient rehab will cause you to lose your job. Fortunately, recovering addicts are protected under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder are recognized in the FMLA as serious health conditions.
With the protections that the FMLA provides, you can complete a qualifying addiction treatment program and your employer cannot penalize you for doing so. Taking steps to protect your health is always a great way to protect your career. Following treatment, you’ll be more focused as an employee, and far better able to meet the demands of the role for which you’ve been hired.
Paying for Rehab
Cost is a major barrier to rehab. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. One of the best ways to combat this all-too-common concern is by speaking with one of our admissions counselors. Many private pay health insurance plans will cover some or all of your addiction treatment costs. There are also many funding opportunities available. You can:
- Crowdsource or implement other fundraising programs
- Apply for scholarships
- Reach out to charitable organizations in your area
You can also consider different options in addiction treatment that better fit your targeted price point. If paying for inpatient addiction treatment isn’t an option, you’ll find that partial hospitalization programs and outpatient rehab are much more affordable.
Losing Your Ability to Have Fun With Drugs or Alcohol
The idea that you’re more fun when you’re high is false. Using drugs or alcohol to alter your mood, lower your inhibitions, and change your state of mind provides an intense and immediate sense of gratification. What you may not recognize is that the consequences of using can include dramatic changes in your personality, increasing acts of aggression, unreliability, and unpredictability.
If you take the time to survey your friends and family members about whether or not they prefer you when you’re sober or when you’re high, you’ll find that your loved ones unanimously prefer the old, sober you. Life will be infinitely more enjoyable for you and everyone around you when you’re fully in control of your actions, your words, and your emotions.
Being Unable to Handle Stress Without Drugs or Alcohol
One thing that recovering addicts quickly discover is that substance use doesn’t actually alleviate stress. In fact, it causes it. The consequences of addiction create overwhelming stress. From financial and legal problems to major relationships issues, substance use does far more harm than good.
In recovery, you’ll learn healthy strategies for coping with everyday stress. You’ll also learn how to use avoidance and other techniques for limiting stress in your life.
Fear of Relapse After Rehab
It’s a funny thing to be afraid of relapsing even before you’ve started recovery, but most people experience fear of relapse at this time. Succeeding often creates the fear of failure. In truth, relapsing after treatment is incredibly common. In fact, it’s so common that many rehab professionals consider relapse to be a normal part of getting well.
The key to succeeding in recovery is knowing how to pick yourself up after failure, forgive yourself, and keep moving forward. Success also lies in having a solid relapse prevention plan.
At Mississippi Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center, we have multiple options in aftercare support. When you leave treatment at our facility, you can also take part in:
- A structured relapse prevention program
- A support group for recovering addicts
- Ongoing mental health services
You can even spend time in a sober living facility and participate in regular sober meetings. There are countless resources available for helping you stay the course. You simply have to get started.
Completely Starting Over
Starting over might seem daunting at the beginning of rehab, but you’ll soon come to appreciate the ability to get a fresh start. Rehab creates a clean slate and gives you permission to rewrite your future. You can let go of emotions like guilt, shame, grief, and regret. You can set new goals and establish plans for pursuing them.
You’ll also be better able to determine which relationships, environments, and activities are actually good for your life, and which of these things should be put away. Going to treatment and actively investing yourself in your recovery will make you wiser, more appreciative, and capable of creating and maintaining the type of life you really want.
How Can You Confront Your Fears?
Recognizing that the fear of going to rehab is common won’t necessarily make your anxiety go away. It’s never too early to take advantage of counseling services or to start leveraging basic coping strategies like meditation, deep breathing, and journal writing.
Keeping a journal as you get closer to your admission day can definitely help. Write down your fears and reflect on how your current attitude and emotions might change as your dependence on substances ebbs away. You can also look for support groups and speak with your family members.
One of the most important things to do when you’re fearful about entering rehab is to stay on course. Don’t try to delay rehab or convince yourself that you can handle recovery on your own. You can even speak with our counselors at Mississippi Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center about expedited enrollment and strategies for keeping yourself calm, motivated, and excited about what lies ahead.