If you or your loved one has started the process of seeking treatment, you know firsthand how difficult it can be to ask for help. A significant amount of struggling usually precedes that decision, as even accepting the presence of a substance abuse issue can take tremendous strength and courage. Taking the initial step to getting started with treatment can be one weight removed from someone’s shoulders, but at the same time, it signals the beginning of a long journey that, without sugarcoating it, is incredibly difficult.
Just because something is difficult, however, does not mean it is not worth it. The benefits of sticking with treatment are numerous and life-changing. Without substances holding you back, you can return to the people and things you love, realize your hopes and passions, and feel like yourself again. Having your life back is something so monumental, so precious, that it is impossible to put a price on. That is why, no matter how daunting the road looks ahead, choosing to persevere through treatment will require you to take every challenge and transform it into a far greater reward down the line.
It is hard to remember this when in the midst of treatment. Coping with uncomfortable feelings of guilt, shame, regret, and fear, while managing physical symptoms of withdrawal, is a state no one wishes to be in. The peaks of treatment can feel like you are on top of the world, but the valleys can obscure the positives. This is why developing effective strategies for keeping yourself or your loved one motivated can go a long way in traversing those valleys, both in treatment and beyond.
Keeping Goals in the Forefront
When we are going through something difficult, we need a purpose to remind us of why we are enduring the current discomfort. When we are studying for hours upon hours without a break, the idea of passing an important exam can keep us on the right track. When we are going for a promotion at work, the notion of achieving greater prestige and compensation can remind us of why we need to put our nose to the grindstone.
The same can be applied to treatment. Having a clear idea of why you are in treatment can help prevent feelings of frustration or being out of control. Maybe you chose treatment because you want to get your physical health back so you can return to your favorite activities. Perhaps your relationships are at risk because of your addiction, and treatment is the way you can preserve your connections to the people you care about the most. It’s possible you need to undergo treatment as a requirement to stay out of jail or prison, and pursuing recovery is a way of maintaining your freedom and securing your future.
Whatever the reason is, being consciously aware of it means that even in the lowest of lows, you can easily remember what you are fighting for. If you notice your loved one faltering in their journey toward recovery, reminding them of the future they are building and the commitment they made can offer accountability.
While knowing your goal is essential, it can be helpful to take it one step further and visualize it. This can take the form of journaling, where you take some time to write about what you want life to look like on the other side of treatment. Another variation of this is to create a “vision board” or a visual collage of images and quotes that depict what you want your life to look like. Spending time to cement those ideas on paper creates a tangible tool that you can look to when you need it. Sometimes, even the clearest and most powerful goals can lose their luster when viewed through the perspective of a dark enough mood, but it is hard to negate what we are actually able to physically see and read.
One Step at a Time
In the throes of addiction, recovery can feel impossible. Going from being chained to substances to being completely free can seem unobtainable. In reality, sobriety is not one goal, but a series of smaller steps to achieve one overarching objective. It can be completely overwhelming to expect yourself to change overnight because you are asking yourself to do something out of the realm of possibility.
Recognizing concrete intermediate goals can help fill in the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. Sometimes, these smaller goals can be as simple as calling to schedule an appointment. Breaking it down into palatable chunks can provide a guide through treatment. If you sense that your loved one is becoming overwhelmed with the many obligations of treatment, helping them to identify more manageable intermediate goals can help them regain a sense of control.
Find Role Models
There is no doubt that addiction is isolating. Even so, you are not alone in your struggle. Many others are enduring the pain just as you are, and there are many people on the other side of recovery who can vouch for how essential treatment is. Finding these positive role models through support groups and your treatment center’s alumni network can give you evidence of how beneficial treatment is. During treatment, the idea of recovery can be abstract, but learning from people who are living it as reality can make it more concrete for you.
Choosing to get help for your addiction is the first step in getting your life back. You have most likely lost so much at the hands of substance use disorder, but it does not have to be like this forever. No matter how challenging treatment is, it will always be better than the alternative of letting your substance abuse reign over your life. At Family-Centered Services, we understand that you or your loved one is at the beginning of a long road toward recovery. Our licensed clinicians are experienced in helping people navigate these obstacles to reach their goals. We offer an array of services to meet you and your family’s needs, including individual and family therapy, a Family Recovery Program, intervention education and preparation, comprehensive case management, and sober monitoring. We will work with you from day one to develop an individualized treatment plan. Learn more at (509) 991-5822.