Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction; Fear Stoked Cycle of Dependency by Rick Barclay
Before I started my journey on the road towards recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, my life revolved around innumerable forms of fear. Fear of the police, fear of my parents, fear of the things I would see when I wasn’t abusing drugs. You name it, I was pretty much afraid of it. If I could have chosen one word to describe my life would have been “misery” with the word “paranoia” running a close second.
The thing is, when we as recovering addicts begin to work a program of recovery for alcohol addiction, not only are we afraid of the things that lie ahead, but those things also become all the more terrifying by virtue of what we had come to rely on for so many years to get us through…well, any situation really…was also being taken away. And that’s a good thing. If it hadn’t been either forcibly removed by a drug and alcohol treatment program or even the fundamental understanding that we could no longer live life the way we had been living it up until then, we probably wouldn’t have done so. At least, I know I wouldn’t have. And thank God that my family and friends knew that fact before I did.
As part of my own recovery, I have to be rigorously honest. Up until the day I got clean and sober, I truly believed that I wasn’t afraid of anything and was actually managing things quite well, thank you very much! But the sad reality was that I had lost all will power in regards to drinking and drug addiction long ago. On July 27, 2002, though, that was all made very clear, and I was forced to see that all the things people had told me I would do if I had continued down that path had, in fact, come true. And if those things had come true, then I certainly didn’t have a choice in the matter of whether I would get drunk or high in my battle with substance abuse addiction. Becoming a drug addict and my daily dealings with alcoholism symptoms weren’t on my bucket list, but that was what happened. That day, I learned the true meaning of fear, and it wasn’t the last time I encountered it, either.
When I was in my early sobriety, and I would hit a milestone, sometimes people with more years of sober living than I was years old would come up to me and say, “Wow! [However many days or months] clean and sober? That’s incredible!” Being the self-conscious person that I am still to this day (I’m working on it), I just assumed that these people were patronizing me. What is a guy completing a 30, 60, 90 day program compared to those sober for 20, 30, 40 years? I thought. The difference being that, through 449Recovery’s California Drug Rehab program, I was able to navigate through that fear because I now had the necessary tools needed to do so.
There were a lot of reasons why my self-consciousness was unfounded, but as it pertains to the topic of fear, my sponsor at the time told me, “Look, when you get years or even decades of sobriety under your belt—yeah, it’s a big deal. But it is a much bigger deal when you’ve just finished drug treatment rehab because you have no idea how to deal with all the previously numbed-out emotions and thoughts you have. Old timers? We know what to do. You, as a newcomer, have no idea what to do.”
Getting clean and sober doesn’t mean that suddenly all of our fears and concerns just fly out the window and we live happily-ever-after. I can assure you that with any drug and alcohol recovery center , that definitely doesn’t happen. What I can say, though, is that after getting clean and sober post and under going the process of detoxification, whatever fears I had or have, aren’t as scary as they would have been if I were still active in my disease and battle with drug and alcohol abuse. And trust me, I’ve had to deal with some really scary stuff in sobriety. But, despite that scary stuff, I was able to walk through it clean, and by the grace of God the skills I have learned with Sober Living. And, of course, there is also a lot less happening in my life now that would cause me to be afraid as well.
I know it isn’t easy, but fear is an inevitable part of life—no one gets a hall pass. The difference is that once I got help with staying clean and sober and completed my 90 day program for drug and alcohol addiction, I saw that the vast majority of those things I was afraid of never came true, and those that did weren’t nearly as worthy of the space in my head as I had been giving them.