Just the idea of getting sober can inspire fear in someone. In fact, getting sober can feel like you are taking a risk – which in fact you are. It is a step into the unknown, and you are essentially taking a leap of faith. When someone decides to enter addiction treatment, he or she will often have no idea what to expect. A person might hope that there will be the right people, environment, and resources to feel well supported in their early recovery.
Sadly, most people fear change, and when there is a great fear of the unknown or when there is chronic ambivalence and uncertainty, it can be stifling and interfere with one’s ability to move forward. It’s common to see someone who is frequently ambivalent and indecisive move from one side of the fence to the other. That person might continue to jump from “Yes, I’m ready to get sober,” to “I don’t want to do it.”
Another layer in all this is one’s ability to trust. They may forced to trust other people, such as the treatment staff as well as other recovering addicts, especially if there are group treatment sessions. They might also have to trust the word or the universe, hoping for the best upon arriving.
If you’re feeling the risk it takes to get sober and the courage you’re going to have to find inside, use the following suggestions to help you get through this challenging stage:
- Process your feelings. Write down your ambivalent feelings and the circumstances in which they occur.
- Let yourself be where you are. If you’re feeling pressured to make a change but you’re also afraid of change, recognize and accept your ambivalent feelings. Don’t try to force yourself into a rash decision. Simply let yourself be where you are and then decide what you’d like to do next.
- Use your imagination. Imagine what your life is going to be like after you go through the change you need to go through. Imagine your life in detail and get a good sense of how you would feel once you’re on the other side of change.
- Get help. Consider seeking professional mental health services to help yourself examine and sort out your ambivalent feelings.
- Remind yourself you are human. Remember that you’re not going to know everything as you progress forward with change. Sometimes what feels like the unknown from a distance, really isn’t once faced with change. In each moment you’ll find the right answer. There will be support from friends, family, and loved ones when you need it.
Keep in mind that millions of men and women enter addiction treatment with knowing very little about what to expect. Also, there are many other life experiences that people experience that might be just as risky:
- Changing a job or career
- Ending or starting a new relationship
- Beginning a new friendship
- Having a child
- Going back to school
Change can be hard. However, as many artists are fond of saying: risk leads to freedom!
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