Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Managing Fear In Recovery

Learning to handle fear makes the road to recovery easier. When we give up drugs or alcohol, many fears and emotions surface. We can’t hide from our anxiety behind addiction anymore. In order to stay sober, we need to learn how to manage fears.

When we panic, it's impossible to think clearly or make intelligent decisions. The feeling of fear can be imaginary or real, irrational or rational. Sometimes fear is a good thing, it’s necessary for survival, but fear in recovery can stunt our emotional growth.

Fear can keep us chained to our addiction. We may know drugs or alcohol is destroying our lives, but the thought of giving it up scares us. We take comfort in our pain, although it’s destructive. We may have accepted misery in our lives and think “this is as good as it gets.” The idea of sobriety may seem boring and challenging, so we give up before we try.

Many of us have fears about life after recovery. We fear life will be mundane and staying sober will be too difficult. Facing challenges without chemicals is scary. We’re scared to try something new and venture out of our comfort zone. We’re scared of failure, death, finances, relationships, etc. The list can continue forever.
fear addiction recovery
 (Photo credit: lankatroniik)

I remember being scared to give up my anger because it had been a part of me for such a long time. What if I let my walls down and I got hurt again? What if I let myself become happy and I was blind-sided by someone? I was afraid to be happy, but I knew anger was destroying who I was. I had to take a leap of faith and let my anger go. Once I slowly let my guard down, I found myself again.

I started to laugh, I started to trust again. My marriage slowly recovered from the damage I created. I was happier and more easygoing with my children, so they were happier. Things got better once I let my fear go. It didn’t happen overnight, it took work, courage, support from my sponsor, and AA (Alcoholic Anonymous) members.

Fear can prevent us from doing things. If we don’t take action, there may be a danger of relapse. If we are full of fear, sobriety will not be satisfying. It can impede our growth. Stress can damage us mentally and physically.

Every human is faced with fear, so learning to manage it is imperative. We need to be willing to face our fears without the crutch of addiction. A sponsor can help us investigate what we are afraid of. Meditation and exercise also helps with stress. Sharing our fears at meetings is a wonderful way to get them out of our system. Journaling about it can be helpful as well.

Dealing with fear effectively takes practice, but it’s worth it. There are so many wonderful things in life we cannot experience if we are in active addiction. A sober life can be filled with fun, joy, happiness, and excitement. If you are burdened with fear, and struggling with sobriety, Passport to Recovery offers a variety of credible addiction treatment centers that can help.
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