Managing ambivalence in Alcohol Rehabilitation

Managing ambivalence in Alcohol Rehabilitation


Many people struggle to seek the help that they desperately need for alcohol addiction. It’s easy to get lost in the grips of alcohol dependence, and the painful realities that accompany this addiction. The idea of finally admitting that you have a problem can be anxiety provoking and filled with shame. This is what we call ambivalence. This article will help you understand what part ambivalence plays in alcohol rehabilitation, and the importance of managing it. Managing your ambivalence about alcohol rehabilitation can help you make an all-important decision regarding your future, health and happiness.


What does Ambivalence in Alcohol Rehabilitation look like?


Ambivalence feels like being torn between two opposing sides. You may be questioning whether you have an alcohol addiction or whether you are drinking because of external circumstances. This may be very confusing, not only for you but for your family members and loved ones as well.


External circumstances can be anything that happens outside of your control. This then makes you reach for unhealthy coping strategies that you normally would not. This way of thinking is called denial, and is an integral part of our programme at Rustenburg Addiction Care. Deconstructing your denial systems, part of the AA and NA recovery programmes, will ensure a successful recovery going forward.


Alcohol is a legal substance in most countries, and is widely considered to be socially acceptable. This leads a person to believe that as long as they are not engaging in illicit substances, such as drugs or illegally obtained prescription medication, they do not have a problem. This cannot be further from the truth, painful as it may be.


Ambivalence in alcohol addiction is when you can clearly see that your life has spiraled out of control, but there is an internal battle about taking responsibility for your actions and making a choice to stop. Often, you struggle with accepting that you may have a problem and that this problem is your drinking. This can be a lonely place to be in, thus, it is important to seek help.


Alcohol Rehabilitation - Girl sitting on Floor


How Ambivalence in Alcohol Rehabilitation can affect your Sobriety


With alcohol rehabilitation, the ambivalence can either be completely obvious or it can be subtle and misleading. The key, however, is to talk, and work through your emotions and confused thoughts with someone who can be objective. This is where a dedicated team, such as the team at Rustenburg Addiction Care, comes in. A dedicated team of professionals can help you deconstruct your ambivalence and help you make a success of your rehabilitation. 


Learn more about our rehab programme here.


It is often a battle to accept that you are struggling, despite the all-consuming evidence which is clear to see. Ambivalence makes it hard to quit, especially on your own. So an admission to a safe and supportive environment such as Rustenburg Addiction Care can be the most important choice you make for the rest of your life.


The choice between an active addiction or a healthy, happy life in recovery is not as easy as it seems. This is not because you do not want to be sober or engage in rehabilitation. It may be because active addiction fills some of your unmet needs. This means that sometimes it’s hard to imagine your life without substances and the numbness they provide. Many believe that substances are what helps them get through the day, or even the next hour.


This is the challenge of addiction, a challenge that rehabilitation can help you with. Rustenburg Addiction Care’s world class alcohol rehabilitation programme can help you make that important choice between life and possible death.


Alcohol Rehabilitation - Climbing a mountain


Ambivalence can keep you locked into the cycle of Addiction


Struggling with ambivalence is something that can be difficult to work through, especially without help from professionals. This confusion, and the combined anxiety regarding making a choice, can keep you locked into alcoholism instead. Often you do not want to make this choice because of the fear that comes with it. Although you recognize the chaos, pain and financial ruin that comes with once again picking up that bottle, choosing something different may be as difficult as staying exactly where you are.


This is where the structured and supportive programme of rehabilitation can be a lifesaving measure. Admission to Rustenburg Addiction Care can break the cycle that keeps you locked into active addiction. We can help set you free to a life with endless opportunities.


The Dangers of being Ambivalent in Early Recovery


Ambivalence in early recovery can be potentially dangerous to your alcohol rehabilitation as a whole. If you hope to be successful in recovery, you would need to let go of any ambivalent thoughts and feelings. Some of the dangers of being ambivalent in early recovery include:


  • A lack of daily motivation to complete necessary tasks to keep you and your recovery safe. Sometimes the everyday aspects of living a sober life can seem unattractive or complicated. It is during these times that intrusive thoughts resurface, which can act as a demotivation. This is why people who are demotivated are often at risk of relapsing soon after completing their treatment.


  • Becoming complacent can be another high-risk factor. Rehabilitation is a journey in which you need to stay focused on your goals and continue to work on yourself. Complacency is what happens when the person starts losing sight of their goals and begin to engage in past behaviours. This can lead to returning to active addiction.


  • Risking your sobriety because of mixed feelings and confused thoughts. This means that people often put themselves in risky or unhealthy situations because they hadn’t thought through the possible consequences. An example of this can be spending time with friends who still drink. This places you and your recovery in danger.


Motivation to overcome your Ambivalence


Motivation is the way human beings stay focused on what matters to them. It helps us lessen obstacles and enrich our lives with needs that are met in a realistic time frame. In alcohol rehabilitation, motivation plays an important part of successful treatment and your subsequent life in recovery. Motivation is the driving force that keeps you going when the way forward seem unclear and difficult.


More often than not, people struggling with alcoholism and other underlying struggles, are motivated to stay in active addiction because of what they gain from it. Whether this is being emotionally numb, having a break from their painful reality, or being socially acceptable. The challenge is to focus your motivation on recovery, instead of addiction.


At Rustenburg Addiction Care, our rehab programme includes therapy such as motivational interviewing. This tool helps shift your focus to what matters most, living a healthy and sober life in recovery.


Alcohol Rehabilitation - Girl standing on mountain


Finding your Freedom from Alcoholism in Recovery


Active addiction manipulates the mind to believe that the time spent drinking was far better than in reality. This is part of the general theme of denial, where people view their addiction with rose coloured glasses. Rustenburg Addiction Care will help you take off those rose coloured glasses and see the reality for what it is. Only then can you find the freedom you need.


When ambivalence is overcome, you can break free from the chains that bind you while in active addiction. Overcoming ambivalence can included:

  • Asking for the help needed.
  • Learning about the dangers of staying in active addiction and continuing with the unhealthy behaviours displayed in active addiction.
  • Attending lectures about alcoholism and motivational readings.
  • Spending time with others who are like-minded and also want to build a life in recovery.
  • Being part of a community or group of like-minded individuals, like the AA or other affiliated support groups.
  • Being introduced to the stories of others who have made a success of their recovery journey.
  • Knowing you are not alone.


Most of the time a crisis is what brings people into alcohol rehabilitation, whether financial, emotional or physical. Over time however, the crisis subsides and the person wants to return to their daily lives. The core issue is to have you return to your life in a healthier frame of mind. This makes the thought of coping without alcohol possible. Ultimately, this is what finding a sense of freedom in recovery means. The therapeutic relationship offered at Rustenburg Addiction Care offers you the potential to open a door to new possibilities.


Ambivalence during addiction recovery


Many people in recovery forget the hardships experienced during active addiction, thinking that they’re better because they feel better. This, however, often results in the person slipping back when the hardships once again present themselves. Rustenburg Addiction Care can therefore help you heal the wounds caused by an alcohol use disorder and help you build a sustainable life in recovery.


Therefore, to set yourself free from alcohol addiction, you need to retrain your brain to tolerate emotions and struggles in a healthier way. You will learn how to be open and honest with yourself and others. With Rustenburg Addiction Care’s alcohol rehabilitation programme, this can be a reality for you and your loved ones.


If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, or you find yourself drinking a lot more than usual, you will likely deal with some form of ambivalence. This is essentially what happens in active addiction. People push their emotions away or numb themselves from their reality because of how painful it is to them. Breaking this cycle can set you free. With the right kind of help, being willing to engage in an alcohol rehabilitation programme, and wanting to change your life for the better, you can learn to feel your emotions instead of pushing them away. 


With the help found at Rustenburg Addiction Care, and the support that alcohol rehab offers, you can take the voice of ambivalence and turn it into a voice for change. A voice that speaks to motivation, willingness, clarity, and a conviction to move forward in a healthier manner. Take the step today. Contact us to learn more.




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