The Mindset Needed Before Addiction Detox

Man in woods with a recovery mindset

The decision to go to an addiction detox program can bring up wildly different emotions ranging from excitement to despair. Sometimes these intense emotions can make it difficult to get the ball rolling and begin the step of abstaining and withdrawing from substances. It is important to remember that it is perfectly normal to have conflicting emotions about taking this step in your recovery. 


Admitting that you need professional support to detox from substances is incredibly brave. It shows care for yourself and those around you. Still, it makes sense that you would worry about what emotional and physical symptoms will come from this process. 


Although going to detox is not an easy experience, there are some ways that your recovery mindset can help build strength through this process. Keep reading if you are interested in learning ways to prepare for addiction detox and a life of recovery beyond. 


Know What to Expect in Addiction Detox

Going into any new experience more informed can help reduce the anxiety and stress associated with taking the initial leap. The same is also true for detox. 


Many addiction treatment programs require a person to detox before entering, which means that their body has been cleared of substances. You should know this about the program you intend to attend. This research stage is important to become familiar with the program and discover if it fits your needs. While looking into this, it can be helpful to learn what to expect during medical detox for your current substance of choice. Depending on the substance, how much and how long can impact the length of treatment and what individualized treatment you may require.


It is also crucial to understand that detoxing from a substance will likely be uncomfortable and difficult. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not adequately helping you prepare or know what to expect. Physical symptoms occur as the body is readjusting to being without the substance it has become dependent on. 


With some substances like alcohol, the detox process can be deadly without medical supervision. Additionally, psychological symptoms such as increased anxiety, depression and mood swings can also occur. These symptoms are expected and a significant reason why medically supervised detox is always recommended.


At a detox center like ours, we work to help you safely manage these symptoms. You will not be alone and can trust that this treatment is confidential and facilitated by trained professionals. These staff members are also available to answer questions, provide support, and help you know what to plan for. Prepare yourself by knowing that this isn’t easy but that these symptoms are expected and will not last forever. 


Addiction Detox is Not the End of the Road 

Going to addiction detox is often one of the first steps in recovery. It is not fair to yourself to assume that you will remain sober after detoxing from a substance. Often this is not the case at all, as relapse is likely after detox that occurs without continued support. The detoxification process does not eliminate cravings, and when you experience triggers, it will be difficult not to fall into those old patterns without recovery tools in place. 


It is helpful to remember that going into detox is only a portion of recovery, and you should plan for rehabilitation after this initial step. Inpatient and outpatient treatment focuses on building recovery skills, including addressing the thoughts and emotions connected to relapse. Addiction is a disease that needs support. Once it progresses to the place of physical dependence, it is not as simple as “just saying no.” Internalizing this knowledge at the start takes some pressure off the detox process as it is just preparation for continued support. 


It is also common for someone to need to go to detox more than once. A lapse or a relapse does not mean that treatment is over or that you are broken or will never be able to find long-term sobriety. There are good and bad days in the recovery process which might include some backslides. Switching our mindset here makes a difference! Telling yourself, “Mistakes are a part of recovery, and I can keep working towards my goal” rather than “This is hopeless, why do I try?” brings up completely different emotions. 


Allow yourself to see detox as a part of the bigger picture and find ways to continue to support your recovery.


Building a Positive Perspective

During active addiction, it is common to have a warped view of reality for both yourself and others. Often people feel difficulty trusting others or are convinced that the world is out to get them. Also common is negative self-talk about feeling worthless or never being able to change. However, these thoughts are not facts, and there truly is hope for the future when you get connected to a treatment program that makes it easy to transition from detox to the next stages of treatment


Putting less importance on these negative thoughts can help make your time in addiction detox feel smoother and more productive. Some people struggle with following directions or rules from the staff members or program because of their past experiences. Reminding yourself that these professionals are here to help and are working for your benefit can allow you to relax. When negative thoughts come up about your ability to complete detox, begin to shift that thought to remind yourself that you are not alone. 


Taking time to pay attention to your self-talk and remember your intentions about going into detox can change your recovery mindset from paranoia to hope and compassion. It can help to talk to other people who have gone through this process as a reminder that recovery is possible.  Our thoughts greatly impact how we feel and our behavior. So making time to cheerlead yourself or seek out encouragement can be a game-changer! Updating your mindset will be useful during addiction detox and for the rest of your life in recovery. 


Tips to Maintain Recovery Mindset 

You might know the feeling of going into something incredibly motivated and ready to tackle anything, only for the next day to be feeling defeated or knocked down. This abrupt fluctuation can happen for many different reasons, and it is actually quite common to feel differently about something from one day to the next. 

Since this is a common phenomenon, finding ways to protect and stabilize this mindset can be useful. Taking the time to do this can build resilience and stamina in your recovery.  

Write Down Your “Why”

When you feel motivated to stop using drugs or alcohol, this is a great time to write down why. Taking time to focus on your intention for sobriety and the life you’d like to create for yourself will help to clarify your goals. When your goals and reasons are written down, you can go back and re-read your own words! 

You can even ask yourself before going into addiction detox what you imagine your life in sobriety will look like and the positive things you can imagine happening in recovery. Then when things feel difficult, you can remind yourself of what is truly important to you. Establishing a regular practice of journaling or writing gratitudes can also be beneficial. 

Focus on You 

Center yourself by ensuring you have the space to make this time about you and your recovery. One important way to do this is to try to eliminate stressors from the outside world. Before your detox, plan if you need someone to watch your pet or if you need to pay any bills before you go. Taking these steps will help decrease anxiety if things are already under control. 

 Thinking about relationships outside of detox can also be distracting. Plan to use this time to focus more on what is happening in your program than what people outside are up to. Those who care for you will want you to focus on your recovery. 

Think About Your Next Steps 

Because detox is only a portion of recovery, having a plan for after your discharge can be helpful. Knowing what’s coming next allows you to have less stress while you are there and lessens feelings of fear about the road to come. Having a solid recovery plan before detox will also help you be more committed to other supportive interventions in your recovery.

Normalize Ups and Downs 

While you go through challenging times, there will be moments that you feel all in and other days you would rather quit. This fluctuation is normal! When you tell yourself that it is okay to want to leave and that you might not feel that way tomorrow, you’re setting up a much more realistic goal for yourself and helps you avoid impulsive decisions. Having a bad day does not mean that your recovery isn’t working; it is just a part of the process. 

Seek Out Support 

Remember that working toward sobriety and healing addiction is a journey that requires support! When you are feeling unsure or discouraged, know that there is support out there. Begin to plan who your support network will be. AA or NA group members, a sponsor, your treatment team, or family or friends can be especially helpful. 


If any of these tips feel overwhelming, don’t feel like you have to do it alone; reach out for help. 

Here at The Right Step, we are ready to help you or a loved one through the addiction detox process. Please contact us today if you have any questions about detox or ways to prepare for it. Our trained staff would be happy to walk you through what can be a confusing step in the process. We know addiction and are here to support you.

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