One of the most common reasons why people remain trapped in addiction is fear. Getting sober means taking a step into the unknown, but it is usual for humans to find comfort in the familiar – even when the current situation involves a great deal of suffering. It takes courage to take action now to change your life. Here are five strategies to help you do this:
The idea of giving up alcohol or drugs for the rest of your life is overwhelming. The good news is that you do not have to do this. You can approach recovery one day at a time. You do not have to worry about what is going to happen tomorrow or next week. You just have to get up each morning and commit to staying sober for the rest of the day – you do not need to commit to anything more than that. By sticking to one day at a time, the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into years.
One of the reasons you may feel fearful about changing your life is that you believe that it would involve too much discomfort. It is true that change can be a challenge, but the truth is that it will involve far less suffering than remaining the same. It is likely that you are already paying a very high price for the alcohol or drug abuse and things are probably only going to get worse if you continue with this behaviour. Giving up this addiction will involve some initial discomfort, but it will not be long before you really begin to enjoy the benefits of this new life.
It is common for individuals to feel trapped caught between the fear of change and the fear of remaining the same. You may find that fear is enough to give you the initial motivation to quit, but a positive motivation for getting sober would be far more effective. What is it you really want from your life? Where would you like to be in 1, 5, or 10 years if you gave up drinking? Write down on paper some positive reasons for changing your life and use these to guide you.
Young people often turn to alcohol or drugs as a type of rebellion – it can be a refusal to go along with the herd. This same sense of rebellion can be used when giving up the substance abuse. You do not have to continue with this behaviour just because that is what your friends do – getting sober is about being yourself and doing your own thing. This sense of being a rebel can help you get over the fear of breaking away from those who are still engaged in substance abuse.
If you are unable to get beyond the fear holding you back from recovery, you will likely benefit from the assistance of an addiction therapist. This professional is not going to make you do anything you do not want to do, but it will help you to look more closely at the reasons behind your resistance. A therapist can also use techniques such as motivational interviewing to help you overcome your fear, allowing you to be ready to take the next step towards a better way of living.