No addict runs to addiction recovery with arms wide open, singing show tunes and grinning from ear to ear. But, there are some questions you can ask yourself to see if you are ready to take on the challenge of recovery and work toward a rewarding life of sobriety.
No one is ever 100% ready for addiction treatment or recovery. If we waited until we were ready we would be waiting forever — addiction recovery is almost always entered with some fear and doubt in mind. However, there are some signs you can look for that show you are more ready for, and therefore more likely to succeed, in addiction recovery.
Two of the main reasons people hold off on getting help, even after they have acknowledged that their behaviour is out of control and problematic, are ambivalence and fear of failure. Ambivalence is being on the fence about whether you want to stop using. You are probably still attached to your addicted way of life and maybe have not hit rock bottom yet — which does not mean you are not ready to give addiction recovery a try — it just means you are unsure. Ask yourself the following questions to determine how ready you are for recovery despite your fears and ambivalence.
9 Questions to Ask Yourself to Know if You are Ready for Addiction Recovery
1. Why am I considering giving up an addictive behaviour or substance?
If it is to please someone else then your chances for success are slim. While friends and family can help you realise that you need help, entering treatment solely to “get them off your back,” is a red-flag that you are not ready for addiction recovery. If, however, the need to stop using comes from deep inside your own self, then the chances that you are ready are much higher.
2. What fears do I have?
Try to understand what fears you actually have regarding giving up your substance abuse. Are you afraid you will not have fun anymore? Are you afraid you will not be able to relax and cope with daily stressors? Acknowledging your fears will put you closer to being able to eventually take the plunge — everyone enters recovery with fears, but over time you will realise that you can manage life living sober, and it will actually be even better than before.
3. Do I feel like I want to quit but do not know how?
If the answer is yes, then you are more than ready to get clean and sober. Many addicts have a desire to quit, but do not know how to – especially if multiple attempts have resulted in failure. Ask for help and get into an alcohol or drug rehab programme. If you have a willingness to quit then you are already one step in the right direction.
4. Do I dream about a future without drugs or alcohol?
Are you imagining a weekend with no hangovers? A day that you can wake up and not think of your substance of choice? If you are dreaming of a future without drugs or alcohol, then the next step is to take actions that will get you there. These dreams mean that you have an inclination that being sober would be cool – and you are truly on to something!
5. Is my health deteriorating?
Drugs and alcohol have many negative effects on the body and mind, including increased risk of cancer, osteoporosis and heart attack. Recognising that continued use will cause your health to continuously decline can be a good motivator towards change.
6. Am I tired of feeling depressed, agitated, and anxious?
A common turning point towards addiction recovery is being sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. If this is you, then now may be a good time to seek treatment.
7. Are my finances spiralling out of control?
Let’s face it – substance abuse and some process addictions like gambling can be very expensive! If you are getting to the point of losing it all, or are having increased difficulty providing for yourself and family, then there is a good chance your addiction is taking you down into a deep dark pit. If you can recognise this, and it upsets you, then you are ready for addiction treatment.
8. Is using no longer fun?
Most people begin drinking, using drugs, or gambling because the activities were fun and entertaining. If you find that using is no longer fun (but you still cannot stop) then you are at the point where taking steps toward addiction recovery makes sense. Addiction treatment and recovery can make life fun again.
9. Am I ready to be honest?
Drug addiction is full of lying and deceit – not only to others, but especially to yourself. You will probably spend years telling yourself “I do not have a problem, I can stop whenever I want,” before you realise that this is a lie your addicted brain has formed. Addiction recovery requires you to be honest with yourself and others. 100% honest. If you are ready to stop the lies and be honest with yourself, then you are more than ready for addiction recovery.
Now that you have answered these questions honestly, it is time to examine your answers. If you answered ‘no’ to most questions, then you likely are not ready for addiction recovery and everything that it brings without a big of encouragement.
If answering these questions stirred barely any feeling in you, then you are likely not ready for recovery. However, if answering these questions made you feel overwhelmed and scared, or even excited and hopeful about recovery and a future without drugs and alcohol – then your chances of success in addiction treatment are high, and you should call someone today to get started on your path to recovery.
But remember – being ready for recovery does not mean you are not scared to death about what it will look like. Being ready means you have begun to realistically assess the impact that drugs and alcohol or a certain behaviour is having on your life, and you are thinking about the positive implications of a future in addiction recovery, free of drugs and alcohol or that damaging behaviour, even if you do not know how to get there.
So You are Ready for Addiction Recovery – Now What?
Never forget – no one is ever 100% prepared for drug addiction recovery and the work it requires. Recovery is not easy, but life as an addict is not easy either — it is painful and unfulfilling to say the least.
Once you know you need help and are ready and willing to give recovery a try, there are several options available to you. While some people are able to stop abusing drugs and alcohol on their own, the reality is that most addicts will need some sort of treatment and long term support in order to get clean and sober.
There are two main types of drug and alcohol rehab, inpatient and outpatient treatment. Find out which type of treatment is right for you and get enrolled. Ask for the support of friends and family and confront your addiction head on. It will take courage and hard work, but once you are ready addiction recovery is the best gift you will ever give yourself.