Do I Lose My Personal Freedom During Recovery?

Are you worried about losing personal freedom once you begin detox treatment? Do you still think that substance use is a personal choice issue? Personal freedom is foundational for human flourishing. But when it comes to substance use, addiction, and recovery, the understanding of freedom needs to become a bit more nuanced. 

Recall the first time you used drugs or alcohol – that might have been a personal choice. However, as time goes by, when your life is centered around drugs and alcohol to the extent that their absence can trigger intense stress and anxiety, these substances are no longer helping you to be free. On the contrary, they completely control your choices. 

On certain occasions when you may want to quit on your own, intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms pull you back to use again. When the addiction becomes a predominant lifestyle, and other co-occurring mental and emotional health issues begin to affect your job and relationships, you need to realize there is not much personal freedom left for you. The hidden guilt and shame have been weighing you down, and that is not what freedom feels like.

Why So Much Monitoring During Treatment?

When a loved one tries to persuade you into accepting treatment, personal freedom is a shield you use to ward off this demand. “It’s my personal choice. I am not addicted. I don’t want to lose my freedom.” Your understanding of entering into treatment is one close to imprisonment. To some extent, a professional detox treatment center can be a highly monitored environment. 

Staff and health professionals want to first ensure the absence of substances in your life, and then to help you rebuild a healthy routine towards long-term recovery. They also need to monitor your withdrawal symptoms so that they do not become life-threatening. Furthermore, because addiction is such a complicated disease affecting your body and mind, health professionals also provide you with ongoing assessment and treatment through medications, therapy, and counseling.

It is incredibly important to own the problem of addiction before reaching out for professional help. Using “personal freedom” as a shield against entering into treatment is a kind of denialism. You have not come to self-honesty about the true state of your addictive lifestyle. True freedom has already been lost. You have paid great costs to ultimately lack freedom: your healthy hobbies and treasured relationships. 

Whether you are beginning detox treatment at an inpatient facility or an outpatient center, the monitoring serves to restore your freedom without substances. When you are no longer under the influence of drugs and alcohol to act compulsively and selfishly, but rather to enjoy and love life and people again – that is what personal freedom looks like.

What Freedom Do I Have Left During Treatment?

Believe it or not, entering into treatment can give you more freedom. With drugs and alcohol absent from your life, you may find a lot of time at hand. The challenge is what to do with this extra time. Be aware that even when the sources of your addiction are gone (drugs and alcohol), your addictive habits can still linger within you. 

Do not spend too much time doing things that add to the stress and anxiety you are already feeling. Activities such as browsing social media or watching TV should be minimized. Instead, you should work with therapists and counselors to rebuild a healthy routine. These include having healthy diets, enough hours of sleep, relaxation exercises, and socializing.

When you are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, your sleep patterns must have suffered great disturbances. During detox treatment, it is important to allow the body to rest and recuperate by getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation and oversleep should both be avoided. The wise thing to do is keep a journal of your daily routines and strive to meet some SMART goals. (SMART means specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and within a time frame.)

Again, a treatment center provides a closely monitored environment because your addictive lifestyle has gone out of sync with the natural rhythm of how the human body can function healthily. So these structures are put in place to help your body reverse some of the damages and heal.

What Is the Future Like for My Freedom?

Sobriety is a guarantee for your freedom in the future. Now that you have experienced the loss of freedom under the influence of drugs and alcohol, it is important to be aware of relapse. New freedom in the future also involves serving others in need. Many recovering individuals are eager to share the gifts they have developed during this harsh journey. These include patience, humility, honesty, accountability, resolution, and resilience. They are the gems you can collect along the way throughout recovery. And they will ground you towards a better future. 

There will come a day when sobriety is the natural state of being for you. During this time, freedom means going to all social events sober. It means waking up feeling refreshed and like yourself again. Freedom in long-term sobriety also means that you can build a life with your loved ones, including family and friends. Addiction cannot break you apart anymore. Living in love and service is the face of true personal freedom.

Do you consider substance use a matter of personal freedom? Are you worried that entering into treatment might rob you of that freedom? Why do some detox treatment programs have so much monitoring? For many young people, the issue of personal freedom is central to their defense of using drugs and alcohol. However, much education is needed in this area: Does an addictive lifestyle really grant you freedom? How can you adhere to this freedom mandate while convincing your child to start treatment? We can help you smooth out the communication. At South Florida Intervention, our trained interventionists have effectively encouraged young people with addiction to accept treatment. We take pride in a non-confrontational approach, which educates and informs them on issues such as personal choice and freedom. As recovery professionals, we enjoy a stellar reputation in the community, serving professionals, entrepreneurs, and young adults. Call us now at (202) 390-2273.