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Ready to Recover, but Nervous to Start?

Are you contemplating recovery but anxious about starting? If so, you’re not alone.

Any significant change can feel daunting at first, even a positive one. Many people who want to start the recovery process hesitate or put it off as they grapple with their conflicting feelings. While it may seem strange to those who haven’t had a substance use disorder (SUD), it’s common to experience anxiety, trepidation, or even fear when considering recovery. 

Those feelings can come from many different places. You may have incorporated your substance use into your identity. You might feel reluctant to let go of or change that identity, even if it’s for the best.

It’s normal to be nervous when approaching the idea of recovery. This article will cover how to make peace with those feelings and move through them so you can start and complete your healing process.

Mentally Preparing for Recovery: Countering Common Doubts

The hardest part of getting started with recovery often comes from within. You might engage in negative self-talk or face mental barriers that keep you from pursuing what you want. Knowing how to respond to yourself when encountering these obstacles will help you strip them of their power.

Here are some common thoughts you might have about recovery and how to counter them:

I Don’t Know What to Expect

It’s always scary to dive into something you haven’t done before. Recovery can seem like a nebulous process, and you might not know what will happen while it’s ongoing. It may feel easier to stay where you are rather than face the unknown.

The easiest way to combat this fear is to learn as much as you can about what happens during recovery. Do research online, contact recovery programs, and talk to friends and acquaintances about their experiences.

I Don’t Deserve to Overcome Addiction

You may tell yourself that your SUD is your fault, and that you deserve to live with the consequences. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone deserves the chance to heal and live a successful, healthy life.

Not only that, but you are more likely to heal the wounds that others may have received from your addiction. If you achieve sobriety, you’ll be better equipped to make up for the things you regret and to move forward from them.

I’m Afraid People Will Judge Me

Despite improvements made over the years, significant stigma still lingers around addiction and mental health issues. Many people are hesitant to share what they’re going through because they’re afraid others may think less of them. Unfortunately, this hesitation also keeps them from getting better.

The truth is that asking for help takes courage and strength. It’s a decision and undertaking that people should respect—and if they don’t, perhaps you might not need to keep those people in your life. The people who really care about you will celebrate and support your decision.

I Can’t Take Time Away from Work or Family

It may feel impossible to commit a chunk of time to yourself when you have other obligations, such as your job or your kids. You may worry that your career will suffer if you step away, or that your employer won’t understand. You might also have some concerns about leaving your family unsupported.

However, entering recovery is often the best thing you can do for your career and loved ones. Once you’re sober, you will have more energy and focus to give to the things that matter most in your life. You’ll be more productive at work and more attentive at home. Consider it an investment into your future, and into that of your family.

In many cases, you can take leave from work without having to reveal why or losing your job while you’re away. Explore your rights as a worker while you’re researching recovery.

I Don’t Know What Sobriety Will Be Like

Becoming sober means losing your main coping mechanism. It’s scary to imagine what might happen if you take that away from yourself. You may not be sure whether you’ll be able to handle stressful situations and complicated emotions.

You don’t need to worry, though. Part of the recovery process is learning healthy coping mechanisms to replace your substance use. Trained professionals in both medical and mental health fields will support you in finding what works best for you.

Having healthy coping mechanisms will actually make it easier to deal with whatever life throws your way. Turning to substance use often makes things worse in the long run.

Resources for Overcoming the Fear of Recovery

You’ve made the essential first step of recognizing that you want to pursue recovery. You still have fears, but you’re willing to work through them. Some resources and tools that might help you overcome your doubts include:

  • Friends and family – Reach out to trusted loved ones and share your feelings. Talking through your doubts can help alleviate them and increase your confidence in your capability to achieve sobriety.
  • Support groups – If you aren’t ready to commit to a full program, you can always attend a local support or recovery group to see what it’s like. You don’t have to share if you don’t want to, but being around people who are going through similar experiences can give you courage and make you feel less alone.
  • Positive thinking and affirmations – Every time a negative thought surfaces, meet it with a positive alternative. You might also come up with a mantra you can repeat to yourself when you’re having doubts, such as “I am worthy” or “I deserve healing.”
  • Goal setting – Many people fear that they aren’t capable of recovery. One way to combat this doubt is to set small, attainable goals and work towards reaching them. Accomplishing even a minor goal can build your confidence.
  • Do research – Knowledge is power. Gather as much information as you can on the recovery process, from as many sources as possible. Research your local recovery programs, talk to people who’ve been through the process, and learn what you can expect from recovery.

Choosing Your Recovery Program

Once you’ve overcome your fears and have made the commitment to enter recovery, you’ll need to find the program that’s right for you. You may have already chosen a treatment center during your research. You may have several options, and you’re not sure how to narrow it down to one.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a recovery program:

  • Inpatient or outpatient – Determine whether you want to live at the treatment center for a more intensive program, or if you want to continue living at home. 
  • Specialties offered – Research what each program specializes in. Are they equipped to support you with your particular SUD?
  • Treatments and providers – You may wish to review what kind of treatments and professionals each program uses to support their clients. If you’re interested in medication assisted treatment (MAT), confirm that the program offers it.
  • Location – Consider where you’d like to attend recovery. Do you want to stay close to home? Or would it help to get some distance? You can even explore out-of-state options if you want to keep your experience private and separate from your personal life.
  • Cost – Some treatment centers are more expensive than others. Determine your budget, consult with your insurance provider, and discuss cost and coverage with a representative at each recovery center.

Ultimately, the recovery program you attend is up to you. Consider what type of treatment you believe will be most effective, and search until you find the center that offers what you need. Don’t be afraid to reach out to alumni to hear about their experiences.

Overcome Your Fears Today

Ready to take the first step? Jackson House Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers offer many programs for all types of SUDs. Our compassionate, highly trained staff is ready to answer any questions you might have. Reach out to learn more about our programs today!

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