There’s no question that it’s a hard place to be: when you’re struggling with an addiction and you know you need help but you have a whole list of fears keeping you from doing it. Perhaps you recognize that the substance use has gotten out of hand, or you might have realized that drinking is affecting your work life. Perhaps you see that there is something about the addiction that has gotten bigger than you, and that can be frightening too.

Although substance use might have started out innocently as a means to escape from life’s troubles from time to time, it’s easy for the cycle of addiction to develop, especially with more addictive substances like cocaine. Over time, you might have noticed yourself thinking about drugs or drinking, fantasizing about drugs or drinking, or even planning your day so that you can get high or drunk. Thinking about substance use frequently throughout your day is a good indication that an addiction has set in. However, the hallmark sign that there is an addiction is that you’re not able to stop drinking or using drugs, even if you wanted to. That’s the larger-than-you experience that some addicts have, which may prompt them to get outside help.

If you’ve had this experience, then perhaps you’re also considering getting treatment. Of course, there are many fears that may come with participating in addiction treatment. Many men and women are afraid of the unknown, what others will think of them, or how they will afford treatment, especially if they have to take time off work. In fact, there is a very common experience among those who are still using but who want to get treatment. It’s called ambivalence.

Ambivalence is the experience of holding two positions in your mind at the same time. You might want to get treatment because of the dangers you’re noticing about your substance use. At the same time, you may not want to get treatment because of your fears, concerns, and/or unwillingness to give up what has provided a certain sense of security. Having ambivalence about getting addiction treatment is incredibly common.

In fact, one of the ways that a person can move past this kind of indecision is to work with a drug counselor or a therapist who can help them make a clear decision. To be clear, just because you’re seeing a professional doesn’t mean that you need to get treatment. You’re in therapy or counseling because you’re trying to make an important decision. In fact, you might decide the fear of the unknown is greater than losing the drugs you rely upon. However, the decision will be yours. Of course, if you fear losing your life to an overdose or to the addiction in some way, then you may decide (now or later) to pursue getting treatment.

You should know that getting treatment provides you with a significant amount of support. It is because of this support that men and women are able to move past the challenges of addiction, indecision about treatment, and actually getting sober.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, contact a mental health provider who can help facilitate a clear decision about whether to get addiction treatment.

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