When you start drug and alcohol treatment, it can feel overwhelming. You may be at a rehab center, surrounded by people you don’t know, telling you things you don’t care about. While you want to get sober, you may feel lost and like you’re never really going to get it.
Instead of getting down on yourself, it’s time to step up and fake it until you make it.
What Faking It Til You Make It Really Means
When starting out in recovery, you may hear this saying a lot, and that’s because it’s designed to give you the opportunity to stop going back to your old, destructive habits even when you’re not sure of another way. Starting out in treatment and the 12-step programs can leave you confused. You may not be comfortable in meetings, you don’t know the steps, and you feel like an outsider.
It can take a while to understand or see results from attending treatment, but it’s important you do it anyway.
But so does everyone in the beginning. Instead of throwing in the towel and giving up, the 12-steps encourage you to fake it until you make it. This doesn’t mean that you should pretend and just go through the motions. Instead, it means to just do it. Go to meetings. Follow the steps. Even when you’re not sure of what you’re doing. As time moves by, you’ll start to see progress and the program beginning to work.
If you need drug or alcohol addiction treatment, call 800-481-6320Who Answers? to find help.
What It Doesn’t Mean
Some people take the “fake it until you make it” slogan as a way to not commit to recovery, and that’s why some suggest changing to “do it until you get it.” When you first start your journey to sobriety, you still need to be open and receptive to change. You still need to go to meetings. You need to participate. You need to learn about the 12-steps and how to incorporate them into your life.
Basically, you need to go through the motions even if you don’t quite understand why. That’s what faking it until you make it means.
Science Says It Works
While AA and other 12-step programs have been saying fake it until you make it for decades, science has shown that it works. When you fake a positive outlook, you tend to move in the direction you pretend to be going. For instance, when people put on a fake smile and pretend to be happy, chance are they’ll become happy and then the smile is no longer fake. And that’s exactly what the 12-steps is hoping for. You make a commitment. You go through the motions. And soon, you reap the benefits and no longer have to fake it, because you know it works.
For those who continually struggle with chronic relapses, making the commitment to fake it until you make it may be just what they need. It gives them the ability to get through the first few months of recovery with a place to go and a built-in support system, and may keep them from falling into self-defeating behaviors.
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