6 Things that Seem Like Treatment Red Flags That Aren’t
In treatment, things can seem topsy-turvy and like your life has turned upside down and that’s OK because treatment is a safe place where you can experience these thoughts and feelings while being supported by knowledgeable, professional staff, such as your therapist and psychiatrist. While in treatment, you will experience many thoughts, feelings and behaviors that might seem problematic but aren’t necessarily that. As long as you stay open to the treatment process and are willing to do what’s asked of you, you will be alright. Here are 6 things that seem like treatment red flags that aren’t really bad at all.
#1. Having ‘Using Dreams’
No doubt, using dreams can really mess with your head. And many people find it worrisome to be dreaming about using drugs and/or drinking alcohol. The thing is, using dreams are a totally neutral thing. Meaning that they aren’t bad. First of all, you can’t blame yourself for dreaming about drugs (or anything) because you can’t really control what you dream about. Secondly, using dreams can actually serve a purpose: they act as a gauge, showing us where we are in our recovery process and they also serve to remind us that our addiction isn’t merely a phase we’re going through; it’s something we will cope with for the rest of our lives and it never goes away completely.
#2. Having Thoughts of Using/Cravings
Just like what was said in #1, our addiction never totally goes away and we can’t really control certain things. And thoughts of using drugs is one of those things. It’s what we do with those thoughts that’s up to us. When you find yourself craving or thinking about drugs and alcohol, it’s important to use the tools you’re learning. For example, rather than indulging in the thought, get in the healthy habit of playing the tape all the way through – thinking about what will ultimately happen if you pick up again. This will help you to deal with those thoughts when they come up.
#3. Acting Out
Versus those who keep their heads down, stay under the radar and ‘toe the line.’ It might seem strange reading this but, acting out in treatment isn’t necessarily a red flag. That’s because it’s an appropriate setting for such behavior and can be dealt with and even used as a learning experience. In reality, it’s often the easy-going and quiet ones in treatment that prove to be a red flag because they often just want to do whatever it takes to get out of treatment and return to addiction. These patients are often the ones who still have a reservation.
#4. Being Afraid/Feeling Unsure
It’s totally normal and OK to be fearful and/or unsure about treatment and what life after treatment will be like. Recovery is a long road ahead that takes dedication and hard work. Also, for many of us, it’s hard to imagine life without drugs and alcohol. Therefore, it’s that whole fear of the unknown thing that everyone has to a degree. It might seem like a treatment red flag to be afraid but, it’s OK to have a healthy fear.
#5. Being Emotional
Feeling sad, angry…these are human emotions and shouldn’t be hidden or bottled up, especially for those of us who tend to cope (read: numb out) with the use of alcohol and other drugs and especially when in treatment. That’s because being in treatment and allowing yourself to feel feelings is the safest place to do so. You can begin to experience your emotions in a setting where you are supported by trained professionals as well as peers and without easy access to substances to soothe yourself.
#6. Feeling Horny
Having certain passionate feelings is also a natural human thing and, though it isn’t a good idea to act on these feelings in treatment and being so early in recovery, it’s totally normal to have them. Through the use of drugs, our libidos are often turned down, suppressed, or seemingly dead altogether. Once all the junk starts to leave our system, we will feel our libidos awakening.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.