People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
For someone who has been struggling with an addiction for a long time, sobriety comes with a lot of unknowns. As a result, fear can cause people to believe things they otherwise wouldn’t – no matter how irrational or implausible.
According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 97.5 percent of the 38.4 million people surveyed in 2020 with a substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year “did not feel they needed treatment”.
For someone struggling with a SUD, believing that they “do not need treatment” sometimes stems from an inaccurate assessment of the severity of their addiction. They may think they can “handle” it when it actually runs their life.
One of the most commonly reported motivations for not seeking treatment, however, is that SUD sufferers are simply “not ready to stop using.” This may be because they don’t perceive that the impact of the addiction is great enough to warrant change or because the idea of getting and staying clean is unappealing or intimidating.
Read on to expose some of the most common fear-inducing lies about sobriety.
“I Can’t Cope With Life Without (Insert Abused Substance Here)”
In an addiction, the idea of facing daily life without the care-free “escape” drugs and/or alcohol seem to provide can be daunting–even fearful.
However, a full-scope recovery program does more than just get people to a state of sobriety. Recovery also addresses the underlying behaviors and mental processes that lead to addiction. This holistic approach helps you not just cope, but succeed in life clean and sober.
An addicted individual may be afraid that living sober would put them in a worse mental and emotional condition than their current state; but this is simply not true.
Many addictions begin out of a desire to curb side effects of mental health struggles. The truth is, however, that drug and alcohol abuse is known to actually exacerbate these symptoms.
Staying clean means the time and mental effort formerly devoted to the addiction can be applied toward having deep, authentic relationships, improved performance at work, and finding financial stability to enjoy life.
“By Living Sober, I Won’t Have Any Friends”
Read any blog or forum, or watch any addiction recovery testimony and one of the major impacts that person will name is community. Often, people fear going through the sobriety process or coming out the other side alone–but this need not keep you from seeking help.
Many well-rounded rehab programs prioritize fostering a supportive community as part of the process. Consequently, those in recovery are pleasantly surprised to discover new, deeper, and more meaningful relationships.
In order to maintain your newfound freedom, sobriety may mean lessening or letting go of some relationships that enable or encourage addiction. This kind of lifestyle change can seem daunting, but consider: substance use alters who you are.
Thus, relationships built upon mutual misuse of substances are less capable of being authentic. Sobriety opens up the possibility of allowing others to know and love you for you who truly are.
“Staying Clean is Going to Be Difficult & Painful Forever & I Can’t Have Fun”
What is the mental picture that comes to mind when you imagine sobriety? Is it endless therapy sessions? A white-washed room alone with your withdrawal? Boredom?
What if it were crisp mountain air? Skydiving? Teaching your niece or nephew to skateboard? A candlelit dinner where you remember every word? Or being so present in the moment at the beach that you feel every bubble in the waves lapping at your toes?
While in the middle of an addiction, people frequently see sobriety as either hopeless or unpleasant (or both). This is neither accurate nor inevitable.
Without the mind-altering effects of substance abuse, you can learn to experience genuine life through your own thoughts, feelings, and five senses again.
Relapse is a real possibility; but, as others continuing to live clean and sober will tell you, it doesn’t have to “have the last word.” Adjusting to any new lifestyle takes time.
Remember that staying clean is part of the recovery process, and it may be life-long but is also life-giving.
While under the influence of substance abuse, people are often too preoccupied with fulfilling the next “fix” to make goals or plans for the things they really want. Rather than seeing sobriety as a vacuum of time with no fun in it, think of it as a blank canvas to paint a whole new life on.
Discover the Freedom of Sobriety
Living sober can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be faced alone. We have dedicated, empathetic professionals waiting to help.
You don’t fear change. You fear the unknown. If you knew the future would be great, you’d welcome the change to get there. Well, the future IS great. Proceed.
– Joe Vitale
Reach out to us to start the journey to your great clean and sober future today.