Entering treatment is entering a door that will change your life. Substance abuse takes so much away from us in ways we can clearly see and even in ways that are unexpected. It becomes harder and harder to climb out of the deepening hole of addiction, making treatment increasingly necessary as time goes on. Just like anything that matters, substance abuse treatment takes work. As much as we might hope for the contrary, it is not a quick fix. Treatment works, and recovery is possible, but there are times when you may doubt that reality or your ability to persevere. It is in these times that staying hopeful is especially necessary.
Remaining Hopeful in the Face of Obstacles
When we are hopeful, we can do amazing things. Hope guides us through fear and uncertainty through upheaval and chaos. While it might seem that hope is something you either have or don’t have, you can consciously develop it as a skill. You can do this by reminding yourself of reality even when you find yourself being pulled down by painful emotions and doubts. During a major change like seeking treatment, those doubts can easily creep in, making you feel like there are many reasons you should quit. Reminding yourself of your ability to overcome and make progress is key to staying hopeful.
When you are trying to recover from substance abuse, relapse is the last thing you want to happen. Returning to substances, even if only briefly, can feel like starting over. You might think that all of the work you put in is lost. Worrying about how others will perceive you can consume you. In these times, you might even question whether treatment even works or if you’re cut out for it.
Relapses do not mean you cannot recover. Rather than ascribing that dismal meaning to it, you can glean other information from the experience. Did you discover a trigger you hadn’t previously realized would affect you? Have you been attending therapy sessions less frequently and need to change that? Has stress been difficult to cope with lately, causing you to use substances to make it through? How have you been taking care of your physical and mental health?
All of these questions provide helpful information to you and your treatment team. Adjustments can be made to set you back on the right course, and there is no need to lose hope.
Recovery Requires Commitment
Addiction can be treated, but it cannot be cured. Much like diabetes or asthma, it can be managed to the point of seeming nonexistent, but it doesn’t completely disappear. This can sometimes be discouraging. Why are you working so hard when you won’t even be cured? If that thought has entered your mind, it’s time to pause and remind yourself of how much better your life will be in recovery. Even though you will need to remain vigilant against relapse, you will be able to return to the things you love and be a functioning member of your family and community again. People with asthma should take their inhalers even if it doesn’t cure them, just as you should persevere with treatment.
Realizing Uncomfortable Truths
When we are in the midst of addiction, we do and say things that are uncharacteristic. We hurt ourselves and the people we care about. Part of treatment is confronting this reality. Unpacking negative events can bring forth shame and guilt and make us so uncomfortable we want to hide from everything. In these moments, it is clear we have healing to do, as do our family and friends.
Rather than shying away from this discomfort, you can embrace it as an opportunity to make amends with those who are willing. The one surefire way to lose those strained relationships is to continue using substances, and for this reason, treatment is the only way through. Family therapy can be a helpful way to approach this difficult stage of treatment.
Treatment Can Put Your Life on Pause
It is no secret that treatment can take a long time. While everyone’s experience will differ, you can expect to be in treatment for weeks or months. It is common to start in intensive residential treatment and taper down to outpatient services on a less frequent basis. We all have obligations that are hard to step away from, and treatment asks a lot of you when you need to put those things on pause. This is especially true for people who enter treatment suddenly, such as after a significant incident caused by substances or an intervention.
Treatment does ask a lot of you, but it gives more back. You will be better equipped to handle your family and work obligations when you leave treatment with the skills to manage your condition. It will no longer be necessary to white-knuckle your way through life and balance your responsibilities with your addiction.
Helping Your Loved One Stay Hopeful
Supportive family and friends are crucial to someone in recovery. During plateaus, someone may look to their support system for encouragement and motivation. You can help your loved one during these times by reminding them of their capability and the benefits of recovery. Balancing patience and acceptance with clear, consistent expectations can help you to empower them.
Staying Hopeful as Your Loved One Goes Through Treatment
It can be hard to watch your loved one struggling. If they are expressing doubts about treatment, it can even be frustrating for you. Why would they be questioning treatment when unchecked addiction is the alternative? Their trepidation is natural, as are any emotions it brings up for you. It can be especially difficult to cope in the event of a relapse.
Peaks and valleys are part of the recovery process. Your loved one can still make progress even with setbacks. It is important to take care of yourself during this time in addition to supporting your loved one.
You should know going into treatment that a long road is ahead. There will be many twists and turns, periods of tremendous progress interrupted by moments of stagnation. This is normal, and setbacks do not mean you are doing anything wrong. While sometimes it is harder than others, maintaining hope for a future free from addiction is a powerful force in your recovery. Working with the right team can help keep you on track in meeting your goals. Family-Centered Services can help you and your family during the highs and lows of treatment. We offer comprehensive services, including therapy, a Family Recovery Program, and case management. Call (509) 991-5822 today.