hesitant to Get Sober

Why Was I Hesitant to get Sober

Addicts can often be stubborn individuals, fighting change and showing resistance to new situations that come our way. For the outsider looking in, it seems crazy for the addict to show hesitation when it comes to a fresh start at life.

Looking back at the months leading up to my sobriety, I had definitely reached a bottom; physically, and emotionally. So what was the hold up? Any family member or friend of an addict can tell you, the process to getting sober can be a battle where it feels like the addict is fighting for their own destruction and spitting in the face of common sense. In my case, the hesitation came from my fear of change, the toxic codependent relationship I was in, and the fact that I was lazy and comfortable in my addiction. 

Fear of Getting Sober

Fear is a common theme in any addict’s life. Fear of responsibility, fear of what others think about you and perhaps most importantly, fear of discomfort. In active addiction, a central motive in our self-medicating behavior is to avoid any form of pain, be it emotional or physical. So for an addict, getting sober represents removing a well-known and certain solution and replacing it with a possibility. This can be a scary proposition to face, and especially for someone that has been drinking or using for a period of time. The initial step towards recovery can be a terrifying one. The fear of an uncertain change has to be overcome in order for progress to be made.

Now, as anyone that has put together some time in recovery will tell you, what lies on the other side of that frightening change is immensely rewarding – the pain that underlies the drinking and using begins to heal through the recovery process, and ultimately the addict is experiences emotional freedom. 

Unhealthy Relationships

Another impediment to my sobriety was the toxic, co-dependent relationship that I was “locked into” while I was using. Unhealthy relationships are coming among addicts, and I was with someone who used and drank the way that I did – we complimented each other well in that sense! Walking away from that was as scary as leaving the drugs and the alcohol to me. The deep sense of insecurity that she helped to cover up was something that I had run from my entire life. The problem was, as long as I had her to fix and focus on, I was not able or willing to look at myself and my own issues.

Deep down, a part of me knew that getting sober could also mean losing the girl because of her equal dependence on drugs and alcohol. What I came to find in sobriety though, was the ability to get right with myself and become comfortable in my own skin without needing a girl or a drug to make me feel ok. 

Not Experiencing Consequences

Sitting in one’s addiction can also be comfortable. Addicts like what is familiar, and once you become accustomed to being miserable, it doesn’t seem that terrible. The insanity of addiction doesn’t seem insane when you’re the one living in it. Even though to everyone around you, it looks like a dismal way of life. I needed sufficient motivation to do something different.

While my parents were paying for my apartment and sending me an allowance for food, I wasn’t uncomfortable enough to change. I had to experience the cable being turned off, and having to choose between food and cheap vodka, before the idea of getting help started to sound feasible. Realistically, if my family had still supported me financially and I had the capability to continue drinking and using without sacrificing my quality of life, I would not have gotten sober. I needed the discomfort of having no money and impending eviction before I had enough motivation to try something new and gained the willingness to step outside of my comfort zone.

Getting sober is a scary and uncomfortable idea in active addiction, but the rewards on the other side are tremendous. If you or a loved one is struggling with that initial hurdle, remember that recovery offers a freedom that can’t be experienced in active addiction. If you have any experience with getting sober and the challenges you faced coming to that decision, leave us a comment and share them with us below!

  • Debbie O-A
    Posted at 10:56h, 24 October Reply

    Thank you Howard, for your insight and perspective! I knew that fear was a barrier to sobriety, but hearing you say that addiction can actually be comfortable puts a different spin on it. I know when my son was in what I thought was the worst of his addiction, I asked him if he was ready to change. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said “no”. It didn’t matter to me at the time why he wasn’t ready to leave the hell of a life he was living in, perhaps it was fear…or maybe what was hell to me, was comfortable to him.

    I live in daily gratitude for my son’s new life of sobriety and the community of NL brothers!

  • Karen A
    Posted at 21:54h, 24 October Reply

    Love your posts Howard! One of the hardest things I’ve had to do was stop giving my son a warm bed, a car, financial support – all while he continued to drink. I finally had to let him suffer the consequences of his addiction and he ultimately sought help. While my son is no longer at NL House, I can happily say that he continues in his recovery. I’m forever grateful to you guys for your support during his initial days of sobriety.

  • Howard Barker
    Posted at 03:19h, 25 October Reply

    Debbie – Thank you for sharing your experience! The insanity of active addiction is heartbreaking but one of the joys of recovery is getting to witness other friend’s and families’ lives get put back together.

    Karen – My family also had to make that tough decision and I am grateful that the following desperation was motivation enough for me to finally accept help. I am glad to hear your son is doing well and hope he continues to experience the joys of sobriety!

  • larry smith
    Posted at 11:53h, 25 October Reply

    Rang a bell. Making it throuhh todsy. Thanks for the blog. Larry Smith

    • Avi Satz
      Posted at 20:39h, 25 October Reply

      That’s awesome to hear Larry! if there are other topics you think may be beneficial for others to read, I’d love to hear about them!

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