The decision to leave behind the harmful and oftentimes destructive behaviors that stem from drug and alcohol use is one that signals a major shift in both lifestyle and philosophy. By choosing a recovery-based lifestyle, the struggling addict understands the underlying motivations of their addictions, learns the life skills needed to implement change and spends a lifetime growing and evolving in this new and healthier persona. There are many fears the struggling addict must face while in formal treatment, but there can be even more apprehension and fear once the now recovering addict moves away from formal treatment and back into their day-to-day routines.
Arguably the biggest obstacle for the addict who is in recovery is overcoming the common fears in sobriety that all who are new in recovery must face. To better understand the options that are available to combat fear and apprehension in recovery one must understand what fear is, how it pertains to addiction and ways to combat those fears in recovery and sobriety.
What is Fear in of Itself?
Fear can be defined as a distressing emotion aroused by impending pain or danger. The trigger for fear can be real or imagined and the basis for that fear may or may not be rational. When people feel fear they are unable to think clearly or make good decisions. While fear can be seen as a negative emotion, it can also be highly beneficial, as it helps to keep humans out of danger.
How Are Fear and Addiction Related?
Fear can keep people trapped in addiction, both in mindset. The individual may see how much the substance abuse is destroying their life, but the idea of leaving that way of life behind frightens them. One reason for this is due to the comfort in what is familiar even though it is far from ideal. People who are trapped in addiction can develop the idea that their life is as good as it can get. They can imagine that a life in sobriety is dull and unsatisfying. Additionally, they are frightened by the idea of facing life without alcohol and drugs.
Ways That Fear Can Be Overcome in Sobriety and Recovery
Recovery is a lifelong process and, along that journey, there will be fears that will have to be recognized, understood and resolved. Without the familiar crutches of substances, finding healthier and more proactive ways to deal with fears in recovery and sobriety can cause worry and stress. There are some relatively simple methods those in recovery can use to battle fears in recovery and sobriety.
- Relaxation Techniques—there are several relaxation techniques that can be used to alleviate recovery anxieties and keep the focus on the present moment and what is being felt in that moment. An example of this technique is mindful meditation.
- Talk it Out—fear has a crippling effect on a person, and this is especially true regarding fears in sobriety. Being able to share those fears with someone else in recovery or a trusted family member or friend is another tool that can be utilized to remove fear in sobriety.
- Journalism—not only can talking about the real and imagined fears that are present in recovery beneficial, being able to write down those fears can be equally liberating. Writing allows someone to analyze how recovery scares them and gives the recovering addict ways to deal with the fear associated with sobriety and recovery.
Other examples of ways fear can be overcome in recovery and sobriety are twelve step meetings. Finding like-minded people who share in the struggle can be a comfort in times of need. If there are cases where overcoming the fear in sobriety may be too overwhelming for a person to handle, seeking professional therapy and guidance is advisable.