Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Sullivan
Even with the devastating consequences that come with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, many find themselves scared to go to rehab. The thought of change can actually be threatening. However, while fears about rehab can be understandable, one should not be scared to go to rehab.
It’s important to remember that rehab exists to help and heal. In this guide you can find more information on how rehab works, the common fears associated with rehab, and how to overcome the fear of rehab.
What to Expect from Rehab
Being scared to go to rehab is nothing out of the ordinary. Usually, fear is the result of misunderstanding or not knowing. Often, people fear change because they fear not knowing whatever that change will bring. In this sense, it is important to shed some light on rehab. In understanding what to expect, one may be less afraid of rehab. First, one should know that there are no locks. Even if someone is forced into rehab by the criminal justice system, they can still leave. They may face some consequences by leaving, but anyone can walk out at any time. Mostly, it is known that rehab works best when a person wants to be there, wants to change for the better.
As far as procedures in rehab, the first thing a person will do is detoxify their body. This is often the most uncomfortable part of one’s stay in rehab. Detoxification consists of becoming sober, allowing their body to process and remove whatever substance or substances were abused. During this time, one may experience cravings and symptoms of withdrawal. However, there will be a team of medical professionals present at an inpatient facility to help aid a person as they detox. They will monitor one’s wellbeing and even administer medication to help ease cravings and withdrawals.
Education and Therapy:
At any rehab facility, there will be an emphasis on education and therapy. While the methods and types of education and therapy will vary between rehabs, they help a person understand substance use disorder, their relationship with it, and how to cope with or overcome it. The most common types of therapy are one on one, group, and even family therapy. Each of these serves different purposes and helps in different ways, but overall, they play a part in recognizing and learning how to cope with addiction and how to live a sober life.
Common Fears with Rehab and How to Overcome Them Pt. 1
Fear of Sobriety (What if I hate being sober?)
Given enough time, the human body and mind can adapt to many situations and circumstances. With extended substance abuse, the body and mind become accustomed to operating on the drug of choice and rely on it physically in some cases. More or less, this is a simplified explanation of why a person experiences cravings and withdrawals, which can be discomforting and even painful. However, with proper medical care, these effects can be minimized in the detox process. Thankfully, detox is monitored closely at most drug rehab centers. Medication is also often offered to keep patients comfortable.
Fear of Failure (What if Rehab Doesn’t Work?)
Another fear many experiences when considering, entering, or being in rehab is the fear of failure. Individuals often fear that rehab will not work for them, that they will relapse shortly after leaving. Yet, this is not how rehab works. Rehab is not a cure for substance use disorder that somehow works for some but not all. Rehab is a place to learn about oneself and strategies for coping with addiction. If one does relapse, it is not a failure of the rehab or the person. Recovery is not about perfection; relapses happen. Half of recovering people relapse at some point. One should not focus on that as a failure but as a small stumble on the road of recovery.
Fear of Success (What if I do get Sober?)
On the other hand, there is also the fear of success. Some individuals with Substance Use Disorder feel that they are not worthy of success in rehab. It’s not uncommon to feel that addiction has caused them and their loved ones so much trouble that they do not deserve to feel better or feel good.
This internalized belief may lead to self-sabotage. Fortunately, therapists and counselors are trained to identify these behaviors and help you move past them.
Common Fears with Rehab and How to Overcome Them Pt. 2
Fear of Rejection (What if I’m not Accepted?)
This fear takes two forms. First, the fear of rejection can manifest when one is considering group therapy at rehab. A person may fear they will not be accepted. However, recovery groups are filled with the most understanding people, especially regarding substance use disorder. Second, an individual may fear rejection after they leave rehab. For many, addiction drives a wedge between them and those they care about. But, going to rehab and committing to recovery may be the best thing to salvage a relationship.
Fear of Losing One’s Identity (Who Am I Without Drugs?)
On the contrary, some fear rehab may change who they are or who they are because of their substance abuse. They may have friends who use it or have built their identity around their drug or alcohol use. While rehab does help a person reinvent themselves, this does not mean they are an entirely different person.
You do not need to change who you are. You need to reframe the negative aspects of yourself that led to addictive behavior. Rehab only seeks to change the parts of you that will help you live a better life.
Fear of Misery (What if Sober Life is Miserable?)
The last but possibly most common fear is the fear of misery. For many, drugs and alcohol can escape the negative emotions or situations they deal with every day. Without it, these individuals fear that there will be no way to cope with negative emotions or guilt; they feel that they will have to sit in – unable to do a thing about it. However, while in rehab, one will learn coping strategies to deal with negative emotions and triggers for addictive behavior.
A recovery plan done right will lead to a fulfilling life. You have many choices to make that are more than being sober. It’s about choosing to connect with others and properly tend to your long-term recovery by sticking to a plan.
Tips for Making the Most of Rehab
Despite being scared to go to rehab or rehab anxiety or treatment anxiety, rehab can be an extremely beneficial place for those with substance use disorder. To make the most out of rehab, one should keep these tips in mind:
- Follow the Rules – This is the most important thing to do. The rules of rehab are made for a reason, which is to help those with their recovery. Not following the rules will not help anyone.
- Listen to Counselors and Therapists – The staff at rehab facilities are addiction specialists and, usually, cognitive behavioral therapy. They, like the rules, are there to help you. While one may disagree with them, they should still try doing things the way they recommend.
- Ask Questions – Rehab is a safe space. There are no dumb questions or concerns. Be sure to ask questions, especially if it may help you feel more comfortable in your new environment.
- Never Make Assumptions – This tip goes along with always asking questions. One should never assume they know how rehab will go, what is expected of them, or what they are supposed to do. Having assumptions, especially negative assumptions about rehab, can cause problems in one’s recovery and make rehab a joyless experience.
- Be Friendly – While rehab can be challenging or even frustrating, it is never okay to take out one’s anger on fellow residents or the staff. Everyone is there to help each other, and everyone is seeking a friendly, safe environment.
- Take Notes – During one’s stay in rehab, one will receive several tips, advice, and strategies for coping with addiction. At the time, it may seem like one can remember it all, but it is best to write down anything helpful or useful – just in case.
- Attend Programs and Meetings – Attending the various programs or meetings offered in rehab facilities can help one’s recovery and keep one’s mind occupied. You never know what you may learn if you do not make the most out of your time in rehab.
Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself
While many are scared to go to rehab, there is nothing to fear but fear. Fear keeps one from engaging and making the most out of rehab. But, rehab can be one of the most beneficial experiences for anyone living with substance use disorder. In rehab, one can detoxify safely and learn several skills and strategies for coping with addictions and living a life in recovery. However, if one enters with fears of failure or misery or anything else, they may be self-sabotaging. Just remember to be mindful and live in the moment. Rehab is not a prison. It is a safe space to recover and learn to be a sober person.
If you or a loved one live with an addiction, you need to know that sobriety is possible. All it takes is the right help. Call us today at (385) 327-7418 to speak to an addiction specialist. They can guide you to the treatment program or rehab facility right for you or your loved one. Remember, you can overcome, and you can recover.