Overcoming the Fear and Shame of Reaching Out
Overcoming addiction is a complicated process with many different steps, depending on the substance or behavior that a person is addicted to, personal and environmental factors, and the personalized grounding techniques utilized to deal with urges. However, finding the right approach to each recovery journey starts with just the act of reaching out. This crucial first step is often a huge hurdle to overcome, and there are a number of reasons that a person suffering from an addiction may not reach out for help with their addiction, even if they may know they can benefit from it. Nothing about recognizing one’s addiction or the disease is easy, but understanding the fears or shame that a person may harbor and how they can overcome this first barrier to recovery can make a huge difference in each individual’s recovery journey. Reaching out can be the first step that a person takes to change their own lives for the better.
Social and Professional Repercussions
An individual suffering from addiction may be reluctant to reach out for help with their situation due to a variety of social factors. For example, they might fear how their loved ones may react, or there can be reluctance as a person feels they are announcing their shame and guilt to the world. Not only can this shame be incredibly difficult to process, but it can also shape a person’s entire self-image, leading to even more social complications. If an individual is reluctant to reach out for help and sees their drinking or use of drugs as a shameful trait, it is possible they will begin to see themselves as “lesser” than their peers or coworkers, compromising both one’s sense of identity and confidence. This shame can prompt a person to continue hiding their addiction, feeling as if they don’t acknowledge it, they can avoid having their peers think less of them.
Social repercussions can take even more forms, such as in the fear of losing the trust or respect of others or feeling excommunicated from one’s social circles. This can leave a person feeling torn between feeling alone, or continuing to suffer in silence as an effort to maintain friendships. However, strong, supportive social groups can adapt and take on new practices to help their friend maintain their sobriety out of genuine care. Social groups that are unwilling to make adjustments to help one of their members with a serious disease may not be conducive to a healthy lifestyle in the first place.
Professional fears can manifest if a person feels like admitting that they are suffering from addiction may give employers an “excuse” to let them go, and can add even more anxiety and financial stress to an already delicate situation.
Fear of the Unknown
Those suffering from addiction may be aware that their use is having a detrimental effect on their lives, either on a personal or professional front. However, while their lifestyle may be destructive, they may also prefer it to the otherwise unknown world of addiction recovery. This fear of the unknown can feel like they have to choose between the life they know and a complete overhaul of all of their practices, hobbies, relationships, or even a sense of identity. These feelings can be paralyzing, and even thinking about all of these changes on top of coping with one’s addiction can be overwhelming, all making this first step incredibly difficult.
How To Overcome and Take the First Step
Taking the first step in recovery and admitting that it is time to make a fundamental change to one’s life starts with learning and setting realistic expectations. While an overhaul of a person’s life may feel like an incredibly stressful venture, it is also possible that a person won’t have to completely give up what they already have. Recovery can begin with an outpatient program to help them begin to cope with their addiction while still maintaining a professional career path they are proud of. Social circles may need to be adapted, and new communities may be introduced. However, key, supportive members of one’s life can be a critical part of one’s recovery, and rebuilding and maintaining relationships with these people can be a major goal. Recovery isn’t about changing one’s life completely, it is about setting the appropriate goals for how a person wants to live if they were free from addiction. Having goals that involve family members and personal interests can be a great way to make each individual’s recovery journey feel personal and tangible.
Social and professional fears may still manifest, as talking about addiction can be a tricky subject, due to the continued stigmas surrounding the word. However, recovery will always be a very personal journey and doesn’t need to include every person. Not everyone has to know about one’s recovery, and continuing to avoid seeking help due to social reasons can be indicative that a person is judging themselves against others, and not against just themselves. Recovery is a journey towards self-actualization, and reaching out and taking the first step into a recovery program is taking the first step towards a new future.
Reaching out for the first time can be one of the most difficult parts of recovery. However, it is also one of the most important, defining times in your recovery journey, and should be met with the support and care that is needed to address such a difficult time. At Brighton Recovery Center, we take pride in our atmosphere of support and community that can help you begin your recovery journey at any point, or help you pick up new skills and supports on your personal path to healing. We offer a number of services to help you begin your recovery, including detox, sober living, partial hospitalization, and inpatient and outpatient programs. Each of these programs is designed to help find the best approach for your unique situation. These services are offered on our large, beautiful campus complete with apartments, a recreation center, and plenty of open space for you to use. For more information on how we can help you begin your recovery journey, call us today at (844) 479-7035.