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When suffering from addiction and mental illness, one of our biggest challenges is the resistance we feel to doing the work needed to recover. We postpone researching treatment centers. We stall on making an appointment with a therapist. We don’t go to support group meetings. We don’t feel ready to begin our recovery, and we allow our fears to disempower us and prevent us from connecting with ourselves in order to heal. Why are we afraid to do the work?

Before we begin our recovery program, we’re often consumed with fears about the whole process. We assume sobriety will be a painful sacrifice, and we often don’t feel it’s something we’re capable of doing. We fear the withdrawal process and all of the difficult mental, emotional and physical symptoms that come along with it. We’re afraid of giving up the substances and behaviors that we’ve grown so dependent upon and accustomed to. We don’t think we’ll be able to live with about them. We’re afraid of feeling our emotions without anything to numb or filter them, without anything to distract ourselves and self-medicate with.

We know that our recovery is going to be difficult, and we allow our fears to hold us back. We become so overwhelmed by them that they paralyze and debilitate us. We’re afraid to start the difficult process of exploring our fears and unhealed wounds. We fear being judged and shunned by other people, and our fear prevents us from reaching out for the help we know we need. We fear going inward and learning about ourselves in more depth. For years we’ve been avoiding thinking and facing about all of our unresolved issues and traumatic experiences. These things have been fueling our addictions and mental health issues, and our avoidance and denial have been compounding them. We fear having to finally confront all of the pain we’ve been suppressing. We fear what it will mean to identify as addicts or mentally ill. We fear the stigma associated with addiction and mental illness, and we fear rejection. We’re afraid that we’ll never be able to recover, and that any attempt we make will only end in failure. We’re afraid that our efforts will be in vain and that relapsing is inevitable.

When we’re approaching recovery, it can really help us to look at all of the reasons why we’ve been so afraid to do the work, so that we can push through our fears and perceived limitations and finally undertake the recovery journey we’re meant to take.

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.