The first steps to addiction treatment will be some of the hardest you’ll ever take – and potentially the most rewarding.
Have you ever wanted to make a major, positive change in your life but struggled to make it happen? Even though you knew it was best to turn your back on a self-destructive habit, combatting your own urges just proved too overwhelming.
Let’s face it: change is hard. Change can also be terrifying – especially when it involves changing behaviors that were once considered to be rewarding or pleasurable.
Of all the difficult changes a person can choose to undergo, breaking an addiction may well be the hardest and most terrifying of them all. You know what the short-term reward of a high feels like, but you don’t yet know what a new existence feels like, a new you that no longer needs to be high to exist.
Breaking your addiction means going forward into the unknown and creating a new version of yourself. If you are considering going into recovery, you are considering one of the most significant changes in your entire life.
Addiction Has Left You Empty, But There’s a New You Waiting…
We frequently hear statements like these from our patients:
“Addiction takes me farther and farther away from who I truly am.”
“I don’t even recognize the person I’ve become when I look in the mirror.”
There’s also a profound sense of shame. You may think, “What does everyone think of me – that I’m just an addiction and nothing more?”
The answer to that question is NO. You’re a human being worthy of love and forgiveness. On the other side of your addiction, across that difficult and scary chasm, the real you is waiting.
You can be the person you want to be. You can feel alive again.
So why is it so hard to commit to this change?
Aside from the physical addiction, you may delay taking the first steps to addiction recovery for a number of reasons. You may worry that life without substances will be boring. You may worry that the traumas that you use substances to escape from (co-occurring disorders) will come rushing back and you won’t be able to handle them. You may be terrified of the withdrawals, or the new challenges you will face without the crutch you’ve been using for so long. Maybe you’re scared people will still think that you are just an addict.
These are lies we tell ourselves to stay addicted, to stay stuck.
Taking your first steps to addiction treatment: Yes, it’s OK and normal to be scared
Know that it’s okay to be scared. In fact, it’s normal for patients to be terrified of recovery given all the unknowns about the path forward.
So how do you take those first steps to addiction treatment? First, please don’t take that step on your own if you don’t have to. Instead, use your support system (your family, addiction treatment specialists, etc.) and create a “change plan.”
Your change plan should simply answer the following four questions:
- What specific changes do you want to make regarding substance use?
- What steps are you going to take to make those changes happen?
- What barriers may you come across and how will you address and overcome them?
- How will you know you reached your goal?
Remember to make your objectives Measurable, Attainable, Positive and Specific (MAPS). Having a plan helps ease some of the uncertainty of the unknown. You’ll still need to plan to be forgiving of yourself. Change takes time and there will be setbacks, but you can do it!
Also, know that treatment centers provide so much support on the physical, emotional, and spiritual level, so please utilize that valuable resource. Lastly, remember to believe in yourself – you are stronger than you know!
If you or a family member in Las Vegas or Southern Nevada are suffering from addiction (substance use disorder), we’re here to help you today.