Have you ever noticed that it’s often easier to complain that it is to compliment? Easier to dwell on worries and things that upset us – than the things that make us happy? That your biggest fears are the things that keep you up at night – rather than your biggest joys?
While these things hold true for many people, those in active addiction are often more apt to face these types of thoughts.
As humans, our brains are more inclined to give attention to negative experiences in our lives over the positive experiences because the negative events trigger our minds to believe there is a sense of danger. This is part of the reason it’s not easy to remain positive when we’re faced with negativity, challenges or obstacles.
When you face difficulties or resistance in addiction recovery (and everyone in recovery will face these barriers at some), it’s important to make sure you have the right tools to cope and move forward, without compromising the progress you’ve already made.
What is resistance in addiction treatment and recovery?
Typically, when we think of opposition, we imagine other people rebelling against us; a war zone. Resistance, however, can take on many forms in addiction treatment and recovery.
- Resistance In Your Home
Home isn’t always where the heart is – especially when there is addiction in the family. In many instances, home can be a place of opposition, tensions, arguments, liquor cabinets, drug paraphernalia and so on that can make seeking and maintaining recovery difficult. When opposition to addiction recovery starts in the home, it can be difficult to refocus your thoughts and energy on your health and sobriety because you’re surrounded by reasons that remind you of shortcomings and failures.
- Resistance In Your Workplace
Unfortunately, stigma surrounding addiction is very much alive. While we at Vertava Health know that employers should support their employees in getting help for their drug or alcohol addiction – rather than fire and replace them – that’s not always the case. Often times, those in active addiction seeking to undertake addiction treatment must deal with resistance at their place of work. Whether they fear being fired for taking an extended leave of absence to deal with their health issues or worry that they’ll miss a promotion or opportunity if it’s discovered they’ve been struggling with an addiction issue.
- Resistance In Your Social Circle
Opposition from friends and acquaintances can look different for different people. For some, we may not want our friends to know that we have any struggles with alcohol or pills – we may want to give the appearance of ‘having it all together’ or living a ‘perfect’ life. In other instances, our friends who also use drugs or drinking may not want us to seek help. After all, misery loves company – and if they are using and addicted, they’ll want to surround themselves with those who are using and addicted.
- Resistance From Others
With most anything in life, there will always be people who want to cut you down. Sometimes, their opposition is fueled by resentment, other times by jealousy or even fear. Sometimes they’ll try to stop you with their words – other times it will be through their actions.
- Resistance From Yourself
This may be one of the most powerful deterrents for getting help for a drug or alcohol addiction: Self-doubt, insecurity, low self-value, indecision, uncertainty, anxiety, fear – all of these feelings and emotions can creep into our minds, formulating reasons we shouldn’t or can’t or don’t deserve to get help and stay on the road to recovery.
When you first take on addiction recovery, there will be initial resistance.
Addiction recovery is a restoration process. When we first set out to rebuild ourselves, there will be people, places, circumstances and our own thoughts that will try to give us reasons why we shouldn’t even start.
“What about work? You may get fired.”
“Who will take care of the kids? They need their mom.”
“You can’t just leave for 30+ days.”
“You’ve dug too deep of a hole now to get out of.”
“It costs too much to go to rehab.”
“No one could understand the trauma I’ve gone through.”
“What if it doesn’t work?”
For many people, the seed is sown in the initial cutdowns from ourselves and others. These barriers early on can be enough to slow us down, give us reason to put off getting the help we need, deter us, downplay the problems and even continue into the spiral of addiction.
Getting started and moving past the initial opposition means taking control of your response: When someone (even if that someone is you) cuts you down, remind yourself that you’re in control of the situation by not falling for it, and not cutting yourself down too. Often, rising up from that negativity is what makes us realize our own strength and value.
When you make progress in addiction recovery, there will be stiff opposition.
Opposition to your addiction recovery won’t just happen in the beginning – it will also happen along the way. There will be people who don’t like or support your recovery just because of their own insecurities or issues in their own lives. There will be those who will minimize the efforts and growth that you’ve worked hard for. There will be moments – even hours, days and weeks that self-doubt will creep in and you will wonder if you can really keep going.
When we embark on the restoration process of recovering from addiction, it’s important to remain diligent and keep your eyes on the truth: You can find freedom from addiction, you can live a balanced life – and it will be worth it.