Sometimes, we know exactly what we need to do. But we might be afraid to do it. Fear can bring us to a standstill—keeping us from doing the thing we need to do. It is a common—and frustrating—cycle.
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A Dangerous Cycle
It’s likely you have experienced this sort of cycle in your own life in a variety of situations. Sometimes, the stakes are pretty low and you can eventually convince yourself to do what must be done. But if the thing you know you need to do is getting treatment for a substance use disorder, the fear that is holding you back is downright dangerous.
How do you overcome the fear of the unknown that might be keeping you out of treatment?
Here are some ideas.
Rely On Your Support System
Sometimes you can banish a fear by sharing your feelings with others. The important people in your life are going to want to support your desire to get help and may be able to talk you through your hesitation. In any event, having a sympathetic ear to listen to your fears can be very helpful.
And it is worth noting that once you decide to pursue treatment, your support system will immediately grow. You will have the support of the staff of the recovery center as well as the support of those who are going through treatment with you. After residential treatment ends, you will find more support in the recovery community—including in 12-Step programs.
The point here is that you can call on your current support system to encourage you to set your fears aside so that you can get help. And once you make that decision, your support system will only grow. The first step is the scariest, but once you take that step, things will get better.
Do Your Research With Care
It might seem obvious, but one way to overcome the fear of the unknown is to do the research necessary to make the unknown…well…known.
It might seem daunting given that a simple internet search for “recovery” or “substance use disorder treatment” or “addiction” will yield a huge number of links—more than you can possibly grapple with. So we suggest that your first conversation be with someone you probably already trust: your primary care physician or your therapist. Either should be able to help you consider options for treatment while pointing you in the direction of reliable resources in your community.
If you are searching for information online, make sure you stick to reputable sources (we should note that we are delighted you have arrived here at our blog; our website may well answer many of your questions about treatment). One approach would be to stick to websites with .gov addresses. Sites like mentalhealth.gov and samhsa.gov provide information from experts in their fields.
Take Time to Address Your Anxiety
It is worth considering whether an anxiety issue is standing in your way as you think about getting help for your substance use disorder. Co-occurring mental health disorders—including those involving high levels of anxiety—are common. Ironically, substance use treatment centers are often well-equipped to help with these co-occurring mental health disorders, but only if you can overcome your anxiety in the first place.
To do so, you may need to pursue therapy or an anti-anxiety medication (in the latter case, it is essential that you let your doctor know about your substance use issues so that they can make an informed decision about pharmaceutical intervention). You may also consider mindfulness meditation as a strategy for lessening your anxiety, though it should be noted that mindfulness is not a quick fix but rather an ongoing practice. Don’t use a practice like mindfulness as a reason to delay entering treatment.
There are a variety of other ways to attempt to dull the sharp edge of anxiety. You might find that volunteering in your community or finding an engaging hobby can lessen your overall feelings of fear and anxiety. Regular exercise, plenty of sleep, and good nutrition can all support a calmer frame of mind. Spending some time reflecting on your feelings in a journal might also provide some relief. As noted above, you should not use any of these activities as an excuse to delay getting help. However, any and all of these ideas will support your recovery, so making them part of your anti-anxiety strategy is likely to have long-term benefits.
Bel Aire Recovery Center Encourages You to Be Brave
You may feel like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, you know you need help to overcome your substance use disorder. On the other hand, you may be dealing with strong feelings of fear or anxiety that are keeping you from seeking that help. At Bel Aire Recovery Center, we understand—and we want you to know that we are committed to providing compassionate, evidence-based care that is personalized for your specific situation.
We can even help with any mental health disorders—including issues with anxiety—that may be related to your struggles with drugs or alcohol.
We can’t take the first step for you, but once you decide to take it, we can help you get on the road to recovery. We will do everything we can to put you at ease as we work together to build the foundation for long-term sobriety. Long and short: don’t be afraid to give Bel Aire Recovery Center a call. We are here to help.