Fear of failure. Fear of relapse. Addiction treatment and fear are intertwined. Often a person’s addiction was born out of fear in the first place. Fear of rejection. Fear of the unknown. Fear of what would happen if they said no. Fear of what they would experience if they tried to quit. Fear of withdrawal.
After one has succeeded in quitting, the fear of failure or relapse can persist on the part of the recovering addict as well as his or her friends and family. This is primarily due to the number of times a person has relapsed in the past. Recovery can look like a revolving door to some, one that is repeated until all concerned feel quite jaded and hopeless about the whole thing. But addiction is life and death. Apathy is not an option. Helplessly waiting for another rock bottom is not an option. What then are the most common fears relating to addiction treatment and more importantly what can be done about it?
Most Common Fears Experienced by Addicts
Many addicts harbor any number of fears about detox and rehab, but some of these fears could be alleviated by becoming educated about the process itself, the options available, and the success rates. Below are some of the most common fears associated with addiction:
A legitimate fear that people have is that they’ll pay for rehab, but it won’t work out and they’ll run out of money. Different versions of this may have happened in the past. Obviously your hard-earned dollar must be spent wisely. Financing and insurance are very important resources to look into. When looking at rehab programs, you should ask a lot of questions such as:
- What treatment methods are used?
- What are the success rates of this program?
- Do the offer an aftercare program?
- Do they accept insurance or offer financial options?
- What therapies are used to facilitate the rehabilitation process?
- Does the program take a holistic approach?
- Is the program done within a finite period of time or is it open-ended allowing a person to proceed at his or her own pace?
- How is detoxification accomplished? If medication is used during detox, is the dosage gradually taken down to zero? Is the end result of detox a drug-free individual?
There are hundreds of options in treatment programs available today, such as faith-based, holistic, traditional, Indigenous, and self-help programs. Any addict should be able to find a program that suits their specific needs.
Whether treatment is for you, or for a friend or loved one, you want the right program. You want one that fits the individual. If other programs have been unsuccessful, is it correct to attempt the same exact steps again? A holistic program that is flexible in its approach, tailored to the individual, may be able to provide what is required. If your fear is getting into the program and having second thoughts, then knowledge of the methodologies used and the tangible results may help dispel that fear.
The Addict Doesn't Want to Do the Program
Another common fear is that the addict just doesn’t want to do rehab or they claim they want to get clean but are faking it. In a high-pressure intervention setting, the addict may agree to go to rehab just to get people off their back.The answer here is communication. A perfunctory approach on anyone’s part produces shaky results if any at all.
There are different methods of intervention. One system focuses not just on the addict or alcoholic, but on the family. Another approach seeks to dispense with the ultimatum or pressure tactic and appeal to the person’s innate common sense. The more honest and real the communication the better, while still showing love and respect for each other.
This is a genuine concern. Rehab is not prison. No one can force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. However, any rehab facility (inpatient or outpatient) must have rules. Those rules include forbidding drugs and drug paraphernalia on the premises. But even an addict with the intention to quit for good will experience cravings and may seek to obtain drugs and even bring them covertly into the facility.
One chief concern is the drug user who, after getting clean, uses again in a harmful quantity. The person feels they can use the same drug in the same quantity as before – and in this, they are severely mistaken. The body has been detoxed and cannot handle the drug anymore like it used to. This is a common contributing factor in opiate overdose (heroin, oxycodone, etc.). From the outset, the former user must be properly oriented on these facts and have a strong support network.
Any rehab center should provide a stable and safe environment. When patients feel they cannot manage cravings, he or she should be able to consult with a qualified addiction specialist. There are many solutions to these situations and no one should feel alone or hopeless in any way.
Drugs on the street are getting sketchier and sketchier, including heroin that is being labeled “killer heroin” – as if there was any other kind! But this particular brand of killer H is laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opiate that is 80-100 times more potent than morphine. Fear in this case is well-founded. The answer: Knowledge and communication.
The Former Addict Will be Given Rx Drugs
A former opiate addict can be in a doctor’s office or emergency room and be given an opioid painkiller – and just like that, they are back on opiates. A person who was addicted to benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety central nervous system depressants), may find themselves with a Rx from a doctor (or psychiatrist) for Xanax, the same type of drug they had been addicted to. The aftercare section and support network, as well as the recovering addict, must be keenly aware of these situations and work to avoid them. If it is unavoidable, such as being in the hospital for an injury, the usage of any drug must be closely supervised and ceased as soon as possible.
Another reason prescription drug abuse is so rampant is that the drugs are everywhere, in medicine cabinets, in schools, at work, etc. Anyone connected to a former addict should take care to remove or lock up any meds – as should be done anyway! No one can erase all potential relapse situations. The graduate of rehab has to live life. And life is full of surprises. This brings us back to the original effectiveness of the detox and rehab program and the strength of aftercare services.
The Environment and Its Influences
You may see yourself (or friend or relative) going back to your old neighborhood and hanging out with your old drug-using friends. Or you may have an influence within your own family or in your surroundings that unduly affects you. If you fear these things, that means you are aware of it and can do something about it. Inventory should be taken of such potential negative influences. A strategy must be worked out which could include talking to people and telling them you are in recovery. If someone can’t handle that, it means they need the same kind of help or they aren’t really a friend – plain and simple. It does take considerable bravery to confront these situations.
Clearing Up the Fears With Support and Team Effort
A recovered addict should be assisted to get their life back together. They should form constructive and creative goals and re-focus their energies. They should indeed put together a new life. Will there be stones in the pathway? Certainly. No one expects one to live a cloistered life. Through effective rehabilitation and aftercare, the road should be clear. As new barriers arise, they are cleared out of the way. It is a team effort.