Going To Rehab: Common Fears That Stop People From Receiving Help

Does going to rehab scare you? Well, that’s normal. Going to a strange place, to completely change your life can make a person anxious. But despite the uncertainty, there is a lot of personal growth ahead of you. It wasn’t easy to decide to go, and the thought of getting sober for life may seem daunting, but you are not alone in your fear. 

Common Fears Of Going To Rehab

As Franklin Roosevelt famously said, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” So here is a list of the most common fears people have about rehab, and how you can overcome those fears. 

Withdrawal will be uncomfortable and painful

You can go to a rehab center that has a detox unit that will relieve your pain and discomfort during withdrawal. Ask rehabs about their detox center. You have a right to ask questions such as:

  • Will they give me medication to help me be comfortable?
  • Will I be allowed to watch TV or do other things to distract myself?
  • Can I bring items from homes like a blanket or pillow to comfort me?
  • Will the medical staff check my blood pressure and heart rate regularly?

It seems like a long time, but in reality, it is over in a few days to a week. Withdrawal isn’t as scary as our minds imagine it. Many people in recovery report that they have had the flu and other illness that were worse than the physical part of withdrawal. They say that the mental part is the most difficult. But being in a place, away from home, where you can’t get drugs makes it easier to bear because you realize there’s nothing you can do.

I’ll be all alone. I won’t know anyone there

You’ll be surrounded by staff who understand addiction and may have been through it themselves. Also, you’ll be with other addicts who can relate to your feelings. People bond quickly in rehab. You won’t be alone.

I’m worried about what will happen there

You can contact the rehab and ask them what will happen. Ask them to explain:

  • The intake process
  • The typical length of detox
  • What will be expected of you
  • The daily rehab schedule
  • Do clients go on any outings?
  • Are there activities available?
  • How many breaks are there?
  • When meals are served
  • When can family visit?
  • Any other questions you want to be answered

I’m afraid they’ll make me work

Most rehabs do expect you to do chores. You’ll need to clean up after yourself, go to support group sessions/meetings, other therapies, etc. You can include this in your questions before you go. It might seem like a lot now, but you will be glad to keep busy to keep your mind off using. And you will find that the work will make you feel like you are accomplishing something. You are kept busy for a good reason. 

I might have to talk about all the bad things I did

No one can make you talk about something you don’t want to talk about. If you do want to talk about something, but not in a group, ask to talk to an individual counselor. Resolving all your problems in rehab is not necessary. That’s why it’s important to arrange for aftercare, a plan for ongoing treatment. 

I’ll feel guilty for all the bad things I did

When the alcohol or drugs wear off, you might start to feel guilty for some of the things you did while actively addicted. This is what counseling is meant to help you with. You will realize that you did things to survive during addiction. 

When you learn about the disease of addiction, you will understand that it’s an illness that causes behavioral changes. And, once again, you will meet people who are going through the same things. Besides, one of the best ways to make up for mistakes you made during addiction is to get better and live a productive life as part of society again.

I’m afraid I’ll start to have feelings. I don’t want to feel things

You will start to have feelings, but that’s a good thing! This may mean that you’ll feel angry or hurt or resentful, but you’ll also get to feel happiness, joy, and love again. Without negative feelings, you can’t experience positive ones. 

In addition to that, all feelings are based on your interpretation. You can view all emotions as useful and so not negative. And you can change how you regard some feelings. For example, you can interpret the same feeling as excitement or anxiety. Two people on a rollercoaster might be feeling the same but one is excited and the other is anxious. 

I’ll have to give up my girlfriend (boyfriend) and other friends

You will have to stay away from people who keep using drugs or alcohol. But, realistically, most of those people weren’t real friends anyway. A real friend wouldn’t let you continue to use drugs or alcohol when it was harming you. This doesn’t mean that your feelings of caring and even love for them are not real. They might not be bad people; they might care about you, but they are sick people. So until they get better, you need to stay away from them to save yourself.

When you become involved in your recovery, you will make new friends who care about you more healthily. They will help you stay clean because they know it will help you. Additionally, during the period of early recovery, intimate relationships are discouraged. Even good relationships can be stressful and only add to the stress of staying clean.

I’ll be bored without drugs. What will I do for fun?

It’s probably been a long time since you had any fun that didn’t involve drugs or alcohol. However, there are other fun things you can do. Recovery is an exciting time full of new experiences. You might discover new activities that you enjoy without drugs or alcohol. 

I can’t do it. I don’t have any willpower

You will learn in recovery that it isn’t about having willpower. In rehab, there are lots of recovering addicts who will help you stay clean. Why? Because helping you also helps them stay clean. A common phrase in recovery is, “I can’t, but WE can.” You won’t be doing it alone.

I won’t be myself without drugs and alcohol

Your identity may have involved being a drug addict or alcoholic for many years. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can discover a new you in recovery and define yourself without using substances. And perhaps most importantly, you can learn to love yourself in a way you never could while you were using.

I have a mental disorder. Will that be treated as well?

It is vital to treat any mental health problems at the same time as your addiction. It is very common for an addiction to be the only way a person has to cope with an underlying mental health issue. When you are looking for a treatment facility, ask them if they can also treat your mental health problem while treating your addiction. Look for a rehab that can treat a dual diagnosis. This means that they specialize in treating mental health as well as substance use disorders.

If you have feared not mentioned here, write them down and find ways to argue against giving in to your fears. You can: 

  • Ask other addicts in recovery, 
  • Ask an addiction counselor, or 
  • Talk to a rehab you’re considering.

Fears can be disabling and keep you stuck in substance abuse for years but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can fight your fears and find reasons to go for treatment instead of reasons not to.

The 4 Stages Of The Rehab Process

Learning about the rehab process can help relieve some of your worries and fears about going to rehab. When you enter a professional drug and alcohol treatment program, you will go through four stages of recovery as you learn to live a healthy, sober life. These stages were developed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and you can see that recovery is a lifelong process.

1. Initiation of Treatment

When you first reach out for help from a rehab program, you begin the first stage of your recovery. It doesn’t matter whether you sought help voluntarily or are forced to by other means, your recovery starts with a professional treatment program.

In these early days of rehab, you will probably have some uncertain feelings about permanently giving up your preferred drug. You may also believe that your substance use disorder (SUD) is not as bad as other peoples’. Be careful with this thinking. Denial and indecision can be your worst enemies in the early days of recovery.

The objective in this stage is to help you decide to participate fully in treatment and accept that abstinence is the goal. To accomplish this, a counselor may help you:

  • Look at the damage addiction has caused
  • Examine your feelings of denial regarding the problem
  • Help motivate you to recover

During the intake process expect the following:

  • The history of your drug and alcohol use will be recorded 
  • The right treatment program will be introduced
  • The counselor will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan

2. Early Abstinence

    After you make the commitment to continue in treatment for your SUD, you will enter into the second stage. Early abstinence is substantially linked with positive treatment results. This may be the hardest stage to deal with because of:

    • Continuing withdrawal symptoms
    • Physical cravings for the substance
    • Psychological dependence
    • Triggers that invite you to relapse

    During this stage, your trained addiction counselor will teach you the coping skills you need to stay sober. These skills will help you throughout your recovery. Some of the strategies you’ll learn in this stage include:

    • Participation in healthy activities
    • Finding other behaviors to take part in instead of turning to substances
    • Participating in self-help groups such as NA and AA that offer support
    • Learning to recognize environmental triggers that cause cravings

    3. Maintaining Abstinence

    After about 90 days of continuous abstinence, you move to the third stage. If you started in a residential treatment program, you will probably move on to the continuing or follow-up counseling stage of rehab in an outpatient program. A priority of this stage is to maintain abstinence by avoiding a relapse. You will learn the warning signs and the steps that typically lead to a relapse.

    You’ll also learn new coping skills and tools such as:

    • Avoiding substitute addictions
    • Building healthy relationships
    • Beginning a drug-free lifestyle
    • Learning employment and money management skills
    • Learning to manage anger
    • Using exercise and nutrition

    Stage 3 will last until you reach about 5 years clean and sober. At that time, any follow-up programs will usually end.

    4. Advanced Recovery

    After about 5 years of abstinence, you will reach the final stage. This is when you will take all the skills you learned during rehab and put them to use in a satisfying and fulfilling life. Strategies that help at this point include:

    • Developing long-term goals
    • Building a consistent daily schedule
    • Forming relationships with people who don’t use alcohol or drugs
    • Taking part in activities that don’t include drugs or alcohol
    • Reaching beyond yourself to find happiness

    Going To Rehab Is More Than Staying Clean And Sober

    Recovery is more than staying clean and sober. It is learning to be happy and healthy and live a fulfilling life. At Miracles Recovery Center, our counselors are experienced professionals who are ready to help ease your fears about going to rehab. Don’t wait any longer. Contact us today.