5 Reasons People Are Afraid to Enter Treatment for Addiction

5 Reasons People Are Afraid to Enter Treatment for Addiction

There are many sticking points between addiction and recovery. At first, most people won’t even admit they have a problem. Eventually, they may accept they have a problem and that they need help, but they may have many excuses not to get it. While some of these excuses may sound convincing, what’s typically going on is that they’re really afraid of treatment. Here are some common fears about entering treatment, and why there’s no reason to worry.

Fear of detox

Detox can be very scary. Fear of withdrawal is often what keeps people using drugs and alcohol long after they’ve stopped enjoying it. It’s only normal that people fear this inevitable first step in addiction treatment. However, detoxing in a facility is by far the best way to do it. The biggest reason is there is less danger when you’re tended by medical staff who can keep an eye on your vital signs and provide supportive care. Also, staff can often provide care that lessens the severity of your symptoms. For example, many people enter detox dehydrated and malnourished, which only makes withdrawal more painful. In medical detox, you can get IV fluids and vitamins to help get back on track more quickly. 

Fear of failure

Fear of failure is a major concern in any big undertaking. You’re putting time and money into treatment and you may also feel the weight of your family’s expectations. You don’t want to let them or yourself down, but you may be unsure whether you can succeed. Feeling that way is perfectly normal, but that’s only seeing part of the picture. Not trying at all is far worse than trying and not succeeding. What’s more, even if you don’t succeed the first time, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed permanently. Many people are able to maintain recover after several tries. You haven’t failed until you give up.

Fear of life without drugs or alcohol

Many people are just afraid of the prospect of life without drugs or alcohol. These concerns typically run along two lines. First, drugs and alcohol are often a coping mechanism for stress or painful emotions. They feel like without that coping mechanism, they’ll have no buffer against life’s trials. However, treatment isn’t just about abstinence, but rather a comprehensive program for living a better life. Typically, the emotional pain people fear is caused by a co-occurring disorder like depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, or other conditions, which are addressed as part of treatment. Treatment also emphasizes spiritual improvement and social connection, which make you happier without having to resort to drugs or alcohol. 

The second reason people are afraid to live without drugs or alcohol is that they imagine life won’t be any fun. Drugs and alcohol may have been central to their idea of fun for their whole lives. They may even think people who don’t use drugs or alcohol are extremely boring and they don’t want to be like them. However, if they’re honest with themselves, they probably know drugs and alcohol stopped being fun a long time ago. Now it’s just something they do to feel normal. And typically, drugs and alcohol aren’t fun in themselves, but rather they make boring things more interesting. Quitting drugs and alcohol doesn’t mean you won’t have fun anymore; it just means you have to find ways of having fun that are more engaging. 

Fear of being vulnerable

Both group and individual therapy are big parts of addiction treatment. This makes many people anxious for a number of reasons. First, many people aren’t comfortable opening up about their feelings, especially pain, guilt, and shame. Often, this these feelings are connected to events they would also prefer not to talk about, such as trauma, abuse, and neglect. These emotions are difficult to experience, and they are even more difficult to experience in front of others, even if it’s only your therapist. It’s hard to show vulnerability, especially if you’ve been punished for it in the past.

Another issue is that many people have done things in active addiction that they’re ashamed of and they don’t want to admit what they did in front of others. The problem is that shame can perpetuate addiction as much as anything else. Whether you’re afraid of talking about what happened to you or afraid of talking about what you’ve done because of addiction, it’s important to realize you’re all in the same boat. Everyone has pain, everyone feels guilt, and everyone is afraid to be vulnerable. However, by learning to open up and accept those feelings, and by learning to accept others, you can free yourself from that pain and fear.

Fear of not knowing anyone

Another common fear people have entering treatment is that they don’t know anyone and they’ll feel lonely. This may be true at first, but most people overcome it pretty quickly. For one thing, the staff works for you. They’re there to to take care of you and make you feel comfortable. They want to get to know you so they can understand how best to help you. Second, people make friends pretty quickly in treatment and they often become extremely close. These are people you see every day and share a lot of experiences with. Many will be around your age and have a similar background. Most importantly, you each understand the kinds of problems the others have faced. It doesn’t take long to build relationships in treatment. Often, these relationships last long after treatment is finished. 

Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, Detox Center of Colorado offers “Expanded Recovery” to enrich our clients’ lives in mind, body, and spirit. Through evidence-based therapy options and the endless adventure of Colorado, Detox Center of Colorado fosters connection, encouraging clients to get connected to themselves, their peers, their families, and their higher power. With the power of recovery, clients are restored to full health and experience life-changing healing. Call us today for more information: 303-536-5463

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