Why We’re Afraid of Treatment

When it comes to addiction recovery, there are many things we fear – the difficult symptoms of withdrawal, having to give up our dependence on our drug of choice, harsh judgments from other people, feeling alone in this new journey we’re taking. One thing many of us fear is entering treatment and getting professional help. When we’re ready to do the work to get clean, treatment programs can give us the support and guidance we need, but sometimes our fears paralyze us and keep us from taking important steps forward. Here are a few of the many possible reasons we might be afraid of treatment. 

Sometimes we’re afraid of treatment because we don’t feel ready to detach from the routines, habits and patterns of our addictive lifestyle. We don’t want to make the necessary changes or do the work because we’re afraid of how hard it will be. We’ve grown so accustomed to staying well within the safety of our comfort zone, not facing our issues or confronting our pain. The lifestyles we’ve developed center around our addictions, and they facilitate and maintain them. We build our lives around our dependence on a substance or behavior, and we create lifestyles that make it possible for us to continue. Entering treatment makes all of this come to a screeching halt. Not only is it a huge transition for us, it can be scary and overwhelming. We’re reversing years of damaging patterns. We’re facing a lifetime of suppressed emotions. We sometimes don’t feel ready to give up the easier life we’ve grown accustomed to, a life of avoiding our problems, zoning out and getting high to forget our pain. We’re not ready to replace that life with the challenging work of sobriety, honesty and emotional clarity. 

Another reason we fear treatment is because we’re afraid of leaving the relationships behind that were a part of our addictive lifestyle. Close friends, partners and family members who themselves are addicts are often the relationships in which we’re enabling each other’s addictive patterns and keeping each other from being honest with ourselves and getting help. As much as we might be clear that these relationships are holding us back and hindering our recovery, they’re still hard to separate from. Entering treatment means we’re creating distance from them, and that can be a scary thing, especially when we know that our sobriety might cause rifts in our relationships that we can’t come back from because the other person isn’t ready yet to get sober. We learn that in prioritizing our recovery, we might have to detach from relationships that are important to us but that are detrimental to our well-being, and sometimes this can make us resistant to treatment and afraid of the separations that might follow. 

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.