Coping With Fear and Anxiety During Recovery

by | Jun 6, 2021 | Mental Health, Recovery


The process of recovering from a substance use disorder (SUD) can be challenging, but deciding to pursue recovery and sobriety is ultimately rewarding. Individuals with a SUD may want to achieve sobriety but find the process to be daunting or intimidating. Fear and anxiety tend to accompany the process, especially in the beginning, and while combating these feelings can be difficult, doing so is essential for your recovery.


Whether this is your first time pursuing recovery or you have experienced the process before, fear and anxiety are natural responses. Coping with the fear and anxiety that comes with the recovery process can help you more comfortably and effectively achieve your goals.


Common Fears About Recovery and How to Overcome Them


Many individuals share similar concerns about the recovery process. These anxieties may center around their addictions, the possibility of relapse, social pressures, and the outcome of achieving sobriety. Recognizing that these fears are common and natural is the first step to overcoming them.


One of the most common fears regarding the recovery process is a fear of withdrawal. When battling a substance use disorder, the physical repercussions that can occur once an individual stops using can be intense. Fearing symptoms of withdrawal is not only common but understandable; however, when you begin the recovery process, having support from loved ones and trained medical staff can help you overcome this fear physically and mentally.


Concerns about relapse and failure are also common. Individuals with a SUD may worry that they will be unable to complete their recovery process. Some individuals may believe that, even if they complete the process, the likelihood of a relapse is high. Being afraid that you might be unable to overcome your addiction can prevent you from following the path to recovery, but remembering that many others have been in your situation and felt the same way can give you a clearer perspective. The recovery process is not linear, and while recovery is not easy, taking the first steps toward sobriety is critical, especially when you are afraid of failure.


The stigmatization of substance use disorders and addiction also contributes to feelings of fear and anxiety. Embracing the ideals of recovery often means making yourself vulnerable and open to change, but this practice also tends to reveal your struggles to others in your life. Vulnerability can be difficult, especially when you express a sensitive truth to loved ones or employers, and the desire to keep your struggles private is a natural one. However, remembering that you are not alone and that there are plenty of people who will support you in the recovery process can help you manage your fears of social stigma, loneliness, and isolation.


Individuals pursuing recovery may also be afraid of actually becoming sober. While this may seem counterintuitive, the truth is that substance use disorders often help to distract individuals from reality, and becoming sober means surrendering that unhealthy coping mechanism, accepting reality, and in some cases, facing consequences for their past behavior. Clinging to harmful behaviors for the sake of coping with difficult memories, emotions, or trauma will only do more harm in the end; keeping this fact in mind can help you maintain a productive attitude toward your recovery.


Tips for Managing Recovery Anxiety


Beyond specific fears associated with the recovery process, many individuals pursuing recovery tend to experience anxiety that makes their success more difficult to achieve. Productively managing your anxiety is important for ensuring you can dedicate enough energy to the process.


If you feel anxious, writing down your thoughts can help you better identify and understand your concerns; this mindful exercise, especially when adopted into a routine, gives you a productive outlet for your anxious thoughts while also providing a tool for reflection. 


Other mindfulness practices, including meditation and yoga, may also help you manage your anxiety. Meditating can keep you grounded, while yoga requires physical motion and proper breathing techniques, encouraging you to take steady breaths and prevent hyperventilation or panic. These habits can occupy your mind, distract you from feelings of anxiety or unhealthy desires, and keep you level-headed.


Strong, persistent feelings of anxiety may warrant additional treatment. Consulting with your doctor for a new treatment plan may be a path to consider; you may also give therapy a try to voice your concerns, address your fears, and reassure you through targeted exercises and recovery plans.


Feeling anxious about your recovery process is normal. Finding healthy ways that help you mitigate your anxiety so that you can focus on your recovery will make the process more manageable and productive.


Recovering from a substance use disorder often conjures fears and anxieties that can interfere with your success. Fears about withdrawal symptoms, failure, sobriety, and societal stigma are common. When pursuing recovery, you should remember that you are not alone on this journey and that there are plenty of individuals who have experienced the same fears. At Sober Life, we want to help you achieve your recovery goals and overcome your fears and anxieties about the process. The recovery process is challenging but rewarding, and managing your fears, anxieties, and hesitations can help keep you on track. With the support of loved ones, medical professionals, and more, you can pursue recovery in a healthy, productive way. By avoiding harmful coping mechanisms, adopting healthy habits, and challenging your fears, you will likely find that the recovery process is more feasible and effective. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse and recovery-related fears, do not hesitate to reach out. Call Sober Life at (619) 542-9542 to learn more about addiction recovery today.

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