Denial is considered a symptom of a substance abuse problem. But, denial does not mean that the person with a substance abuse problem is delusional. Denial is more often an attempt to reassure themselves that they don’t really need help…because getting help introduces a lot of uncertainty.
Many people with substance abuse issues think about their life choices and options a lot before they ever take that first step toward recovery—i.e., admitting there’s a problem. Whether they share them or not, they’ve likely encountered these five most common worries about seeking treatment:
1. Physical Discomfort
Many substance abusers have developed chemical dependency—their bodies have actually adapted to the presence of the drug; they need it to function/feel normal. As a result, when they attempt to give up the drug, their body reacts to its absence—that’s called withdrawal…and withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, even dangerous for some people.
While you can find lists of withdrawal symptoms, there is no way to know just how severe any symptom may be for you. That can be scary—scary enough to delay treatment.
2. Psychological Discomfort
For some substance abusers, seeking treatment may feel like admitting defeat—they couldn’t “beat the habit” on their own. Defeatist thinking doesn’t do any favors for self-esteem or confidence. That discomfort may be on top of other shameful feelings that arise because individuals start to see how much they may have damaged their own body, potential and/or relationships.
3. Other People’s Judgement
Until one seeks treatment, which makes a substance abuse problem public, the abuser may have been able to keep a lid on a substance abuse problem (or at least think they did. Like it or not, we really do care what other people think of us. So, someone with a substance abuse problem may be afraid that seeking treatment will bring on a world of judgment from everyone they know, even strangers they don’t.
People with substance abuse problems devote a lot of time to the (ab)use of a substance. Drinking or getting high may be the activities any day revolves around. Without that, what will they do? Many people cannot imagine caring about any other activity as much, so they may fear being bored if they cannot (ab)use any more.
5. Losing Friends
Many people with substance abuse issues are afraid to find out that (ab)using a substance is the only thing creating a connection with their “friends.” If that common activity is taken away, they may have nothing in common with the people they most often hung out with, and that can leave a person feeling lonely and without the social support they need, especially in the early stages of recovery.
How to Handle Your Treatment Worries
Sometimes reading about worries that arise when thinking about treatment may sound silly, especially if substance abuse is severe enough to be life-threatening. But in the moment, they are real, and they can easily stand between you and the better life you want for yourself.
The key to handling your worries is not to try to talk yourself out of them; it’s to honor them and find the support you need to move past them.
Duke City Recovery Toolbox offers the support you need. We offer:
- Medication-assisted therapy to address physical withdrawal symptoms
- Social and emotional support through group discussions
- Emotional support, mental health education and coping strategies through various therapy programs
We even offer family counseling to help your family understand the challenges you face on your path to recovery so that they can better provide reassurance, comfort and support.