Feeling resistant during addiction recovery is expected.
It doesn’t matter what road to recovery you’re on, you’re going to feel like things aren’t working at some point. Don’t give up. The road to recovery takes time, but staying on it is key to reaching your recovery goals. You may feel unsure, doubtful, or a combination of the two, but no matter how unclear things seem you can rest assured the road to recovery only leads to one destination.
Keep reading to learn more about some of the more common feelings of resistance below.
Resistance During Addiction Recovery
What’s important is that you talk out your thoughts and feelings. Perhaps you might write in a journal, speak with someone you trust, and/or share your experiences with a therapist or drug counselor. The key to working through the resistance is talking it out. Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings behind the resistance. For instance, possible causes of resistance might be:
- Denial of there being a problem with drugs and alcohol may still be playing a role.
- Some men and women may not fully recognize the role they’re playing in the addiction and resist taking full responsibility to recover.
- Some people might not have experienced any real hardships as a result of their addiction and may not see a reason to begin recovery.
- There may be a fear of the unknown of recovery and what life will be like without the use of drugs and alcohol.
- There may be a fear that recovery will be boring.
- Some men and women who have tried to recover and weren’t successful may be resistant to trying again.
- Some people may fear losing their friends and family if they go into recovery.
- People may not have the ability to imagine themselves as someone who does not use drugs or alcohol. They may be identified with being an addict.
- People might have a narrow idea about what recovery means, such as having to build a relationship with a higher power, without recognizing that there are many paths to recovery.
If you can relate to any one of these, talk them out. You might want to go to a 12-step meeting, if you aren’t already, or visit a friend who is also working on their sobriety. There is a good chance that he or she can also resonate with one of the experiences above.
Resistance to recovery is so natural that professionals in the field of addiction are aware of it and call it ambivalence. In fact, there’s a good chance that if you’re in early recovery, you may be experiencing plenty of ambivalence. You may experience opposing inner forces – some that say recovery is precisely what you need and others that say you need to return to drinking or drug use. On the one hand, you might recognize the damage that drug use or drinking creates, and for this reason, you may want to stop. Yet, at the same time, the alcohol or drugs might bring an ease to challenging feelings, tumultuous thinking, and or a way to manage anxiety or depression.
As mentioned above, if you find yourself with these two opposing inner experiences, it’s important to know that you’re not going crazy. This can be a normal part of early recovery. However, you should get help for it. It’s important to work through the pros and cons of recovery yourself so that you can arrive at a firm decision. Continuing to feel on the fence about recovery puts you in danger of relapse, while committing to recovery paves a clear path forward toward a safe future.
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