How Can Dissociation Impact Our Recovery?

Sometimes when we dissociate, or numb and detach ourselves from our pain, we’ve detached from certain truths and not others. Sometimes we can be fully aware of the extent of our addictions, and even of our mental health issues, but the reality of it all is just too much for us to bear. We feel mounting, burdensome pressure to get better. We feel a heavy sense of obligation to our loved ones. We feel the weight of the expectations we’re placing on ourselves, and the bitter disappointment of letting everyone down. We have persistent fears around sobriety – will we be able to recover? Will we survive the withdrawal process? Will we always crave our drug of choice? Will we be able to kick our dependence? We feel a great deal of resistance to getting help. We fear being judged. We fear doing the work. We might know fully well that we’re addicts and be very clear on that – we haven’t dissociated from that reality – but we dissociate from the fact that we know we need to get sober. How can dissociation prevent our recovery?

When we’re in this place, we’ve become so disconnected from our truth that we might convince ourselves we’re not addicts, especially if we’re experiencing functional addiction and our lives haven’t yet become unmanageable. We put off recovery, telling ourselves it’s fine to hold off one more day or week, but then the months and years add up. We postpone asking for help or seeing a therapist. We put off checking into rehab. We might decide against sobriety altogether. We might dissociate from the idea of recovery entirely, thinking of ourselves as functional, normal, and not in need of help. We tell ourselves we’re fine. We minimize the difficulties in our lives. We downplay how much we’re actually drinking or using. We get really good at playing things off, covering for ourselves, lying to protect ourselves, and managing to hide our secrets. 

Often we’re not even conscious we’re doing these things. We’ve dissociated from reality. We’ve developed these patterns as subconscious coping strategies and defense mechanisms to protect ourselves from more pain. We’ve dissociated, completely or in part, from the fact that we’re addicts and need to get better. We don’t confront our issues, our addictions, or our recovery. It requires deep and transformative trauma healing work to enable ourselves to shed our dissociative patterns and therefore recover from our addictions.   

Riverside Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center offering a full continuum of care for people suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.

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Riverside Recovery of Tampa understands all of the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and is here to support you or your loved one. Contact us today for more information.