Over 30 million Americans struggle with alcohol and substance abuse. Current statistics show that one in ten individuals will develop an addiction that requires treatment in their lifetime. The consequences of drug and alcohol abuse affect body, mind, and spirit, and it doesn’t stop there. Lives are broken, relationships are affected, and financial affairs are significantly impacted by addiction.
With these dire statistics, it is understandable that people develop anxiety and fear around the thought of rehabilitation. The decision to undergo treatment is a significant life change, and more understanding and preparation may be needed in order to successfully navigate the necessary life changes needed for healing.
Why do people develop addictions?
People use and abuse drugs and alcohol for different reasons, but one central theme runs deep into the roots of all addictive behavior—an individual is trying to escape current life circumstances and emotions that may be too much to bear. As you face the thought of permanent sobriety, you face the very real consequence of having to dredge up difficult thoughts, emotions, and circumstances that you’ve managed to escape for a time. This alone is enough to keep some people from embarking on their healing journey, but you need to realize that a quality life will only again be yours if you choose to get the healing that you need.
How do I manage this anxiety and fear?
Fortunately, professionals who work in the field of addiction recovery are well versed in how to manage the anxiety and fear that arise around treatment. The following strategies are coming from these caring professionals, and they are designed to have you feeling positive about your choice as you begin your stay in a rehabilitation facility. Know that you are taking a necessary step toward getting your life back, and that following this advice will help you make a smoother transition into your recovery.
1. Talk it out
Giving a voice to our anxieties and fears tends to lessen their intensity–whether you talk to friends and family, or you choose to have a conversation with an addiction counselor, you’ll find that sharing these difficult emotions will help you to more effectively process them as you go forward. If it makes you feel better, call the facility that you are considering and ask some questions about treatment, daily life, patient expectations, and even financial aspects of care so that you have more information about treatment.
Exercise is a natural mood booster; your brain produces “feel good” chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin as a result of increased physical activity. These chemicals are normally suppressed in the brain of someone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol. Boosting activity levels will naturally balance out brain chemistry, and you’ll feel a more positive state of well being with a few more cardio sessions per week. There’s no need to start a rigorous workout protocol just yet; a simple walk or a gentle swim session are the perfect way to start incorporating healthier habits into your self-care routine.
3. Practice mindfulness
Just as the body has developed addictive tendencies that perpetuate our reach for unhealthy substances, the brain develops a tendency toward negative thinking that also perpetuates the cycle. Breaking the cycle of negativity with mindfulness exercises will help you to remain more in the present, enabling you to appreciate the life that you see around you. Anxiety and fear are emotions that are based in thinking about future or past circumstances; the more you can remain present by practicing simple meditation or mindfulness exercises, the less prevalent these troublesome emotions will be.
4. Maintain good nutrition habits
There is an intimate connection between the mind and body when it comes to food. Studies show that a diet rich in fresh produce, quality protein, and unprocessed whole grains will help to balance brain chemistry and allow for cellular repair and renewal. Conversely, a diet rife with processed foods, chemical-laden takeout, and unhealthy food choices contributes to mental dysfunction that can lead to addictive behaviors. Begin to see food as a healing tool, and notice how you feel as you fuel your body with the right nutrition.
When we are faced with stress, we experience a physiological response that flows through our entire body. Our muscles tighten, we tense up, our heart rate and respiration rate increase, and our system is flooded with stress hormones that can negatively impact our health long term. Taking some deep, slow, conscious breaths will counteract this stress response, slow the brain down, and return you to the present moment. Breathing often goes hand in hand with meditative practices; both facilitate a return to balance, present moment awareness, and the ability to appreciate your process. Be gentle with yourself, realize that this is a journey, and learn the art of gratitude for all that you experience.
Give yourself the gift of healing
The road to recovery is likely going to be accompanied by a bit of anxiety and fear, but it is also rich with gifts and redefinitions that will transform you, if you let it. You deserve to get the healing you need; call today at 833-820-2922 to see how we can help you regain your quality of life once more. Your new life starts today!