Making the decision to seek treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction is a big step. It’s normal to be afraid of what the future holds, but you can’t let your fear keep you from pursuing a life free from the burdens of substance abuse.
Substance abuse is poorly understood by the general public, which means that treatment options are also frequently misunderstood. Taking the time to learn about the recovery process can help you feel more at ease with the decision to seek treatment.
At St. Joseph Institute for Addiction’s Pennsylvania drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, we encourage our guests to become active participants in their recovery. Our experienced admissions representatives are available to answer any questions you may have about our programs or services. You may also find it helpful to review the following blog posts:
- Understanding Addiction as a Chronic Disease
- What You Need to Know About CBT for Addiction Treatment
- Understanding the Medications Commonly Used in Addiction Treatment
- Don’t Derail Your Recovery with a Substitute Addiction
- Paying for Addiction Treatment
Confide in Your Loved Ones
Family support can be a crucial part of the recovery process. Whether it’s your spouse, parents, siblings, or adult children, the people who love you most want to see you happy and healthy. Your relationship may be somewhat strained due to your addiction-related behaviors, but openly discussing your recovery-related fears can be the first step to forgiveness and healing.
If you’re having trouble talking face-to-face, writing a letter to a loved one might be a good alternative. An honest and heartfelt letter can help the recipient better understand what you’re going through, which will make it easier for them to offer the support you need.
Become Actively Involved in the Recovery Community
Loneliness and boredom are common fears in recovery. You may worry that you won’t make new friends if you stop spending time with those who abuse drugs or alcohol or that life won’t be as fun when you’re sober.
Becoming actively involved in the recovery community is a wonderful way to expand your social circle and alleviate boredom. This includes:
- Taking the time to get to know others who are in your residential treatment program
- Participating in social retreats and other events offered to alumni of St. Joseph Institute for Addiction, once you’ve completed residential treatment
- Attending 12-Step meetings and finding a sponsor
- Taking advantage of resources targeting specific demographic groups, such as Women for Sobriety or campus-based sober living communities for college students. (Refer to our blog post on Addiction Resources in Central Pennsylvania to learn more about locally available forms of recovery support.)
- Participating in faith-based recovery resources such as Celebrate Recovery
Seek Treatment for Any Co-Occurring Mental Health Conditions
Mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety are very common in people who suffer from substance use disorders. However, these conditions can leave you feeling paralyzed by fear.
Counseling and/or medication can help you get your co-occurring mental health conditions under control. Self-care activities, such as writing about your feelings in a journal and making time to exercise regularly, are also beneficial in promoting a lasting recovery as well as boosting your mood.
The staff at St. Joseph Institute for Addiction can address co-occurring mental health conditions as part of your continuum of care plan. This will give you the clarity you need to continue with your recovery efforts.
Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. Knowing you have a long road ahead of you can make you feel overwhelmed by what the future holds. However, you need to take your recovery one day at a time to increase your odds of success.
Mindfulness refers to the practice of living in the moment instead of focusing on the past or future. Mindfulness exercises are beneficial in overcoming fear because they teach you how to accept its physical effects on your body without judgment. When you learn how to acknowledge physical symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, or sweating without being overcome by their effects, you regain a sense of control.
Celebrate Your Success
Living with addiction can lead to feelings of guilt and shame. Deep down, you may fear that you aren’t worthy of recovery.
Your past doesn’t need to define your future. No matter what mistakes you’ve made before, recovery is still possible if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. It’s not an easy process, but taking the time to celebrate the accomplishments you’ve made along the way will boost your self-esteem and keep you motivated. Every day of sobriety—whether it’s 24 hours, 30 days, six months, or one year—is something to be proud of.