A lot has been said about detoxification in movies, magazines, televisions, books, and friends. Many have argued that the first step to addiction recovery, detox, is the most challenging one. Perhaps that is true. Detoxification is characterized by painful withdrawal symptoms, although they are managed by mediation.
Nevertheless, people are different and hence everybody experiences them differently. Additionally, the severity of the withdrawal symptoms depends on various factors such as the drug you are addicted to, the length of addiction, the presence of other co-occurring mental or physical health conditions, and many others.
Addicted people are filled with fear. Most probably, the greatest fear around the globe is fear of detoxification. When the addiction has developed to a point where the person thinks of quitting daily, but they are not able to, fear of detoxification kicks in full swing. This fear can be overwhelming and it keeps one from sticking to their resolutions, despite how sincere they were when they were making them.
Common Fears of Detox
Making the resolution to stop taking a drug that you have dependent on for years can’t be easy. In fact, if your loved one as made this decision, you should support them more than you have ever supported them ever. With the thoughts and worries in their mind, they can change their mind so easily.
Besides the many fears that can manipulate your decision, you should understand that fear is just an imagination. One imagines of things that could happen, and most probably they will not happen. Also, you will not face it alone. The medical team, relatives, and friends will be present to help you and support you in all the ways. Medications and therapies are given to ease the pain too. The following are some common fears among addicted people;
- Fear of withdrawal symptoms
This a common fear that draws back addicts from quitting drugs. Many fear what it feels like to stop using the substance. Also, people who have attempted detox and failed to have an idea of what it feels like. The sleepless nights, terrible headaches, and sicknesses and so most probably, this fear can be very intense. Thinking about the experience makes one very anxious.
Others are detoxing the first time and they have heard how traumatizing the withdrawal symptoms are. However, withdrawal symptoms are different and everybody goes through the process differently. Moreover, the medical support will be there to make the experience comfortable. Keep in your mind that detox is a uniquely personal process. Something that you will go through and it changes your life for better is worth going for no matter the pain.
- Fear of Failure
Fear of failure is not only related to detox but is a fear that most of us deal with. In life, you fear trying things thinking of the possibility of them failing. Sadly, we keep on trying and failing, but we later succeed. Being afraid of a
relapse is a great worry among addicted people. Though it can be real and genuine unless you try you can never know how failing feels or success. You should give yourself the chance to start.
You might later realize that the internal push is all you needed to detoxify. Also, even if you experience a relapse, it is okay. You tried and you can still try again and again until you succeed. National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated that 40-60% of addicted people undergoing treatment experience a relapse.
Determine what might trigger a relapse such as a former friend or a negative thought, and come up with ways of avoiding such situations or places. A relapse doesn’t mean you have failed. It implies that there are several things that should be adjusted in order to achieve sobriety.
- Fear of success
Sounds awkward, right? How does one fear to succeed? Some addicts feel like they don’t deserve a good life. One might have hurt so many people who were important to them. It makes one feel unworthy and ends up punishing themselves by staying unhappy forever. Others were told that they don’t deserve joy in their life and ended up believing it. Most people who have such kind of thoughts and feelings often sabotage anything that seems to bring happiness to them.
Be realistic and allow those imaginations to cut across your mind. Face them and don’t run away from the feelings. After some time the fear will begin to subsidize.
- Fear of Rejection
It is very normal for people to want to get along with people around them. If you abuse drugs, most likely your friends do too. If you have decided to give up that toxic lifestyle, and your friends haven’t, you will be worried that they will reject you. Whom will I hang out with after I recover? What if my peers will be mad at “sober me”?
This is a genuine fear, however, if you have sincerely decided to quit drugs, it is time you reconsider your relationships. Nothing should drag you back, not even your friends. This is the time you will know the healthy and unhealthy friendships. If they don’t support your healthy lifestyle, they are not supposed to be your friends. It’s not easy to lose friends, but we always make others along.
You will meet new friends in support groups and rehab whom you share the same aspirations. Eventually, you will realize that losing them was a blessing in disguise.
- Fear of Dealing with Stress
Stress can make people do very regrettable and harmful things. Most people use drugs to help them to cope with stress. If one thinks of quitting, they get worried about how they will handle stress. However, you don’t have to get anxious about this. At rehab, you will learn various mechanisms of handling life issues without using drugs.
Stress will always be there in life. You can’t avoid it, but you can manage it. Many addicted people think that taking drugs and alcohol helps them deal with stress, but it is only a way of faking reality. Moreover, it adds more complicated problems like addiction. Rehabs focus largely on stress management and one learns to replace the drug use with other healthy ways.
Tips of Overcoming the Fears and preparing yourself for Detox
When addicted people think of detox, so many things come in their mind such as withdrawal symptoms, career loss, financial responsibilities, rejection, how boring and dull life without drugs can be, and many others. It’s sad that one only thinks of negative things and things that could possibly not happen.
Many people struggle with drug addictions for so long because of imaginations. Fear can be a huge roadblock not only in recovery but also in life. The following are some ways in which you can overcome them and kick in the start button of detox.
- Evaluate yourself and know the cause of the fear.
This is the first step towards fighting the thoughts. Take your time to determine what your fears are. What do you fear? You fear withdrawal symptoms? Relapse? Rejection? Sobriety? Are you worried that you can’t recover from the addiction?
- Put them on a paper
If you can memorize them, fine. But, it can be better if you write them. When you see them on a paper, it gives you more strength to face them. Some people love keeping their worries to themselves, however, it only worsens the situation. The saying that a problem shared is a problem halfway solved can be very true if you relate to this.
Share your fears with a close friend or family member. Confess how you feel and the thoughts that come to your mind when you think of detox. Don’t talk to people who will criticize and judge you. If you have no genuine friend or family member to share your fears with, tell them to your doctor. They are trained to help people without judgement.
- Meditate about them
Think about them. Remember the only way to solve a problem is to face it one on one. Meditation will help you relax and give you the motivation to overcome the fears.
- Strengthen and build new friendships
There are friends who will only criticize your decision. They will always tell you negative things about detox and life without drugs. Don’t hesitate to get rid of them. At this time focus on people who give you genuine support. Strengthen friendships which assist you in fighting the fears, but intensifying them.
- Use the Fears as a staircase
You can’t run away from your feelings. You can’t assume them; however, you can utilize them positively. Ideally, when you are anxious, you only think of the worst things. When you think of withdrawal symptoms, you only see how bad they will be, but you don’t remember the medications that can be given to ease the pain.
Think about the positive things only. Let the fears be your motivator. If you fear you will fail, think about if you fail you can try again. Also, there is no harm in attempting.
- Focus on the Present
Fear is an image of what could happen in the future. Addicted people are worried about life after detox, but they haven’t detoxified. It is ridiculous, right? Don’t focus on the future, approach each day by itself.
- Have faith in yourself
It all starts in the mind. Believe that you can do it. Others have detoxified successfully and you are not an exception. Have positive affirmations such as, “I am not a failure, I can do it!” Just a few words might be all you need. Keep reminding yourself such and you will notice that the fear will vanish gradually.
Moreover, surrendering your fears to a superpower, God, if you a believer, can make you feel free. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear but of success.
- Keep going on and celebrate every step
Never give up. No matter how many times you might fail. Fight all the fears that discourage you from quitting drugs. Celebrate every day that you stay without drugs. Day by day it will become a week, months, and finally years.
Detoxification is allowing the body to get rid of the drugs naturally. It can be carried out in different settings. Many addicted assume a lot of things and fail to make an effort to know all that it entails. It might not be as complicated as you have heard or as you think. Also, it might not be enough for recovery. The following are two main detox programs;
- Outpatient detox
In an outpatient program, the patient is allowed to stay at home while detoxing. It is best for people with mild addiction and is committed to their recovery. However, some drugs can only be detoxified in an inpatient facility such as heroin and alcohol. Their symptoms can be severe and life-threatening.
Treatment sessions are planned throughout the week according to the patient’s schedule. One continues with their normal life while undergoing detox. Outpatient programs have proved to be affordable and flexible. Also, one gets enough support from family and friends. However, due to the presence of triggers, relapse is common.
- Inpatient detox
Detoxing alone can be dangerous and giving up is easy. In inpatient detox, one stays at a treatment facility for a period (30, 60, 90 days or more) depending on the drug, length of addiction, and personal preference. Since you will reside there, you should know about the basics of the facility, such as;
- Types of drug addiction it treats. Many facilities are specialized on some addictions.
- Therapies offered. Most rehabs only give individual and group therapies. However, there are various therapies such as family therapy, holistic therapies like yoga or music, and equine therapy. Ask to ensure you get what you need.
- Aftercare and sober living homes that they offer. Many rehabs give their patients counselling even after leaving the rehabs. Others have sober living homes that you can stay until you recover.
- The credentials that it has. Definitely, you want to get professional treatment. Find out whether they are certified to operate.
Inpatient detox is most likely to be successful since it is carried out in a safe environment. Also, one gets 24/7 support from specialists.
Preparation for Inpatient Detox
For you to get proper medication and detoxify successfully, you need to prepare yourself emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Although the specialists and the staff at the rehab are friendly and helpful, you need to prepare your body and mind. You need to reduce any distractions from home and work. The following are some things you can do following the inpatient detoxification;
- Work and family responsibilities
How do I tell my boss about my stay at rehab? It can be worrying. You think that you will lose your job. Nevertheless, any employer who loves their employees will want them to be healthy. Health staff produces the best out of them, thus a high productivity of the company. As per the Family and Medical Leave Act, one is entitled to 12 weeks of medical leave. Therefore your job will be safe.
If you are a parent, find somebody whom you can delegate that duty of taking care of your kids. If you have a pet ask somebody to take care of it while you will be away. By knowing that your treasured ones are in good care, you will be at peace when you start the detox.
- Financial preparation
Since you will be away, tie all financial loose ends. If there are bills to be paid, you can sign up for an automatic payment mode. Also, you can find someone who is trustworthy to ensure that the bills are paid on time. Coming back to find a toll of unpaid bills can trigger a relapse due to financial stress. If it is important, alert the courts that you will not be around.
- Only have the essentials
Carry what is required and only what is required. It can be genuinely tempting to come with things that remind you of home in a new place; however, it will not work with rehab. Such things can be good distractors. It is time to focus on your health now. Put all other things aside, you will find them after you get back.
- Be ready to answer questions
Most addicted people are very reserved. The habit of using drugs is mostly surrounded by secrecy. Addicted people have skills of avoiding all questions related to their drug use. You have used for many years to hide your addiction, but it is now time to let them go. The medical team requires you to give honest and straight answers about the following;
- The drugs you have taken, all of them without leaving any out. Remember that each drug is treated differently.
- Drugs you have frequently used and the last one that you used.
- The dosage. What amount of drug you have been using?
- Sources of the drugs. Be honest about who supplied the drugs to you. It will help the team in devising ways of avoiding triggers from them.
After the interview about the drug is over, the specialist can enquire about your mental and physical health history. This can be personal information, but he/she wants to know the problems that you could be having. All mental and physical health conditions are treated before starting the detox, so don’t lie about them.
- Be prepared for tests
Interviews can give a lot of information, but one may decide to lie or some questions may be hard to ask. Depending on what the patient says is not enough, so many doctors incorporate it with urine and blood tests. Drug tests can be greatly sensitive. According to Forensic Fluids Laboratories, blood, urine, and saliva tests can detect drugs that have been consumed in the past 1-4 days. Therefore, they can uncover things that one might want to desperately hide.
- Make and enjoy new friendships
It is understandable that you might feel like there are a billion things you should do before starting a detox. However, the most important thing is to have quality time with your family and friends before starting the process. They motivate and assure you of your decision to seek treatment.
You can reach out to them. Tell them how you are happy in the rehab and your expectations. This makes you be accountable to maintain sobriety when you go back to them.
- Write a letter or a journal
It can feel nice to go back and see how far you have come. Sometimes you can be bored and idle, pick a notebook and put down your experiences at the rehab. Write a lovely letter to yourself or to a person you treasure. Write anything or everything in your mind; starting from your goals you would like to accomplish after your recovery.
Write about all the fears you had and how you overcame them. Also, you can write a journal on how you feel daily. Write about your best and worst days; Moments that you will never forget.
You are taking the right path, take time and relax. Do something that makes you relax completely. It can be a nature walk, a movie, cool music, etc. By relaxing you allow your mind and body get ready for the new exciting thing, detox. It is natural to be anxious about enrolling in rehab, but allow yourself to calm down as much as possible before leaving for rehab.
Making up your mind to go for treatment, is a monumental decision that you can ever make in your life. It will make your life and those around you better. Many people struggle with various fears such as fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection, among many others. The fear of detox is normal; however, unless you face it, you will never overcome addiction.
Determine what drags you back and use it as a motivator. Also, share with your close family members and friends. They will support and encourage you. Prepare yourself physically, mentally and psychologically. Being prepared for detox will help you go through the process successfully and be ready to maintain sobriety.