If you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, rehab is the first step towards getting your life back. Yet, while 20.4 million people experienced a drug or alcohol addiction in 2019, just over 10% of those people ever sought out professional help. For many of us, rehab is a barrier not just because it’s expensive or because it requires taking time off work or responsibilities, but because we’re afraid of it. That’s okay, people are afraid of change, of failure, and of truly admitting to needing help. But, rehab can and will help you to learn how to cope with life without drugs and alcohol. It will give you the tools to live a sober and drug free life. It will give you the foundations to build a happy life.
If you, like millions of others, are afraid of rehab, you are definitely not alone. Hopefully, some of these actions and options will help you to move past that fear and into rehab, so you can get the help you deserve.
Decide Why You’re Afraid
People are afraid of going to rehab for many reasons. Some of the most commonly cited include:
- I’m afraid of admitting to myself that I need this help
- I am afraid of no longer being able to rely on drugs or alcohol
- I am afraid I don’t know what life is like without drugs or alcohol
- I am afraid of failure
- I don’t want to be uncomfortable for 90 days
- I don’t want to be forced to be with other people
- I’m afraid to admit I’m like other addicts
- I’m afraid of how my spouse or children will see me after rehab
Your reasons may align with these, they may not. You might have completely different fears. The important thing is to sit down and search to see what you’re afraid of. What’s getting in the way of accepting that you need help and want to seek it out?
If you want, you can also sit down to write out reasons to rebut your fears. This isn’t necessary, but it might help. For example:
- If I’m thinking about rehab, I’ve already admitted I need help
- Relying on drugs and alcohol isn’t working for me, I need new and better coping mechanisms that don’t make my life worse
- Change is scary and that’s okay. This will massively change my life. Honestly, my life isn’t great right now and I want that change.
- I will strive to succeed and even if I slip up, I will return to my goals. I will have people to help and support me, and this will work out.
- Rehab facilities are strange environments, and I will be uncomfortable. At the same time, it will be a different environment, where I can focus on learning and myself. Change is good for my stepping out of my comfort zone.
- Being uncomfortable is necessary for change. I need to learn to trust and rely on people, not drugs and alcohol.
- I’m just like the other addicts. My circumstances are no more special or justified than anyone else’s. The sooner I acknowledge and believe that, the sooner I’ll be able to see my own role as an addict and move on.
- My spouse or children already see me as an addict. I want them to see me as someone who tackles their disorder head on and wins.
Essentially, for every fear, you can find very valid reasons to fight that fear.
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Write Down Your Motivations to Go
Understanding why you’re afraid is a first step. Understanding why you want to go anyway is a second. Most of us can find very deep and meaningful reasons to attend rehab. If you see rehab as your means of recovering from an addiction that is changing who you are, taking away from your ability to be there for your family, and your ability to achieve your goals. For many people, motivations look something like:
- I want to free myself to follow my dreams and goals
- I want to be there for my friends and family
- I want to be physically healthy for myself and my loved ones
- I want to care for my child(ren)
- I want to give back to my community and friends
- I want to know who I am without substance abuse
- I want to free myself from seeking behavior
- I need to be clean and sober to meet my career goals
- I want to have healthy children
- I want to pursue learning and education
- I am not finding joy in my life as it is
Again, your reasons might look completely different than are listed here. But you should write them down, you should think about them, and you should consider putting them where you can remember or access them. How many reasons do you need? Try to make a short but meaningful list. You can add hundreds of items, but it will become overwhelming. Stick to 5-10 very compelling reasons.
Start Out the Process
The first step to going to rehab is to pick up the phone and call someone. While that might be preceded by research, looking into what you want in a rehab facility, and finding organizations to call, all of that is secondary. The moment you pick up the phone, you’re committing to yourself. Make sure you have your medical records and insurance data on hand. Make sure you’re ready and that you can schedule a date right then. You might also have to take off work. The Family Health and Medical Leave Act and the Affordable Care Act both allow you to take unpaid time off work to seek out rehab. The ACA means you can pay for at least part of your care with insurance. But, once you start things moving, you’ll find it easier to actually follow through, to take the time off work, to go to rehab. And, once you get there, you might learn that it’s not so bad after all. Detox, withdrawal, and self-confrontation can be scary, but once the worst is over, you’ll be proud of yourself and ready to move on with your life.
If you’re struggling with substance abuse and addiction, rehab will help. Break the pattern and start off your new, drug and alcohol-free life. Call 800-218-1573 to speak in confidence with an experienced treatment advisor now.