Deciding to get sober is a commitment that will change your life in many ways. Most of those ways will be good, but there will also be challenges. Any big change can be scary because you don’t know what will happen. If you’re trying to get sober, you might not even know if you can do it. Here are some common fears people face about recovery and reasons why shouldn’t be afraid.
Detox will be too hard.
Detox can be extremely rough, especially if you have been addicted for a long time. People often try to quit, make it a few days, then find detox just too painful. There are ways to get through it though. Talk to your doctor and tell her what you’re trying to do. She may be able to prescribe medication to alleviate some of the symptoms. You may also want to consider detoxing in a medical facility where they can treat your symptoms, make sure you stay safe, and most importantly, keep you from relapsing when things get hard.
Facing life sober.
Drugs and alcohol may have been your primary coping mechanism for a long time. The prospect of dealing with stress or keeping intrusive thoughts at bay without resorting to drugs and alcohol may feel overwhelming. This will certainly be hard at first, but a big part of treatment is learning healthier ways to cope and better strategies for solving problems. Treatment isn’t just about taking something away, but also putting something better in its place.
When you get sober it’s usually necessary to distance yourself from friends who still drink and use. These friends can be a strong trigger for relapse. This can be a scary prospect, as people who struggle with addiction often feel isolated already. However, people often find that friendships based on drugs and alcohol are fairly superficial. Often people you considered friends were more like drinking buddies. You will also meet new people in treatment and make new friends. Making sober friends is an essential part of recovery.
Nothing will be fun anymore.
It’s often hard for people to imagine having fun without drugs or alcohol. For some people, drugs and alcohol are the definition of fun. They may know they have to get sober, but the thought of never having fun again is certainly not inspiring. This fear is often compounded by post-acute withdrawal, a feeling of depression or numbness that sometimes lasts for months after quitting. The good news is that this feeling eventually goes away. Not only will you have fun again, but your possibilities for fun will expand. Drugs and alcohol limit what you can do. When that limit is gone, you’ll find lots of unexpected ways to have fun, and more importantly, be happy.
Relapse rates are pretty high. Most estimates put the risk of relapse somewhere above 50 percent. The possibility failure can be intimidating. It means you’ve not only let yourself down, but also all those people who were counting on you. Relapse is always a possibility, of course, but it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Many people relapse several times and eventually stay sober. More importantly, you can stay sober on the first try. There are many challenges, but if you take it one day at a time and stay committed, even when you don’t feel like it, you can succeed.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Awakenings Recovery Program can help.