Overcoming fears in sobriety can mean the difference between life and death. That may be a bold statement, but it is true.
We are in the middle of a substance abuse crisis. Every year more and more people are dying because of overdoses or other complications from substance abuse. This trend has been partly fueled by fear and the stigma of addiction.
Clinging to fears may make you feel safe. The more you stick to fear the more chance you have of relapsing.
If you’re ready to face your fears, that’s great. You will want to do that and take action right away. With that said, if you’re not ready to face your fears, that is okay as well.
No one can tell you that you should not be afraid. Not being afraid is a something that you have to recognize and feel for yourself.
Regardless, right now what you can do is get a better understanding of your fears.
Understanding your fears and learning how to overcome them leads you one step closer to long-term recovery from your addiction.
Many people in recovery have similar fears. Eight everyday worries people have when they are in recovery are listed below:
Being what they call on the streets, “dope sick,” or in withdrawal is not a pleasant experience. People tend to remain addicted to drugs just because not using means being sick.
Withdrawal can last 3-5 days and can be filled with many terrible symptoms.
You may experience things like nausea, cold sweats, vomiting, delirium, muscle aches, pain, and anxiety. It feels like the nasty flu, and you lose control of your mind and body. All that you can think of is that drug.
You think about how you can get drugs and where you can get drugs. Those thoughts consume you.
With dope sickness, you challenge your body emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. It doesn’t feel right, but the truth is an active addiction is also awful.
Remember, with addiction; it usually gets worse before it gets better.
Detox or withdrawal is depicted in the media in such a way that can make you fearful that you will not be able to handle it.
It is true that it isn’t easy, but with a supervised medical detox, chances are symptoms are likely to ease up by the 3rd day.
Opioid withdrawal can be a bit different. You can experience symptoms for up to one month. However, for most as the month goes on each day gets a little better.
At the moment it might seem like it is never going to stop. You might feel like it’s not worth it. Or you may think it takes too long.
If you believe those thoughts, chances are you will relapse. However, if you can change your thinking to realize that in the grand scheme of things it’s not that much time you’re giving up you might feel a lot better about recovery. Thus, making you less likely to relapse.
There is no need to be afraid of withdrawal. Anyone can overcome addiction, and the act of going through withdrawal is the first step to the overcoming.
In early sobriety, you face a variety of challenges. Including meeting the harsh fact that your addiction has hurt others.
You must face the questionable things you said or did when you were using, and that emotional baggage you are carrying becomes very relevant and apparent.
It’s not easy to take such a raw and honest look at those things, but the more you push it off till later, the harder it becomes to deal with.
The good thing about addressing the damage done in early recovery is that life has given you a clean slate. You have a chance now to start again and build the kind of life that you always wanted.
When in active addiction you lived day to day. It was familiar to you and felt like home. You thought substances were helping you stay sane through the trials and tribulations addiction brings.
Now that you are without your drug of choice or alcohol you need to accept the change. The fear of the unknown and fear of that change is scary for everyone whether or not they have an addiction.
It is essential to keep in mind that change can be useful.
Overcoming change isn’t easy. To do it you need to make a plan for the changes you wish to see in your life. Some ways to do that would be to create a mood board or write in a journal.
By doing this, you can refer to those things when you need to. It will help you know what you have to look forward to in your new life.
Giving up an addiction means you are going to feel some loss. It is kind of like breaking up with a toxic boyfriend. Not to mention, you have to learn how to live without friends who are still using.
For many, all of this can be a tremendous loss. It is a frightening thing and for many addicts that fear prevents them from getting clean.
Overcoming the fear of loss takes a lot of effort. It is important to remember your using friends aren’t worth your life. It is important to acknowledge that losing your addiction and friends all at once is scary stuff.
However, recovery is so much more rewarding. If you focus on having happy and healthy relationships with people then, chances are the more comfortable you will be.
Through drugs and alcohol, your feelings have been numbed. Whenever something would happen, you would escape to your drug of choice.
It did not matter if you were celebrating something or upset about something. You used as an excuse not to feel. Upon sobering up, you begin to start feeling.
This can be quite overwhelming. For many alcoholics and addicts being able to cope with your feelings can mean the difference between life and death.
Overcoming your fear of feeling can be difficult. You are going to start to feel things, and you cannot stop those feelings from occurring. It is important to remember no matter what you are braver, smarter and stronger than you know.
It’s important to embrace your feelings and move forward with them. One good thing to do is to reach out to a support group, counselor or a trusted individual.
Others around you can help you understand complicated feelings without putting your recovery in jeopardy.
While in recovery if you find yourself in a dark place do not be afraid to share with someone. It is best to share what is going on with you with other recovering addicts.
Others in recovery want to know about your experiences. This is because frequently they can offer helpful advice on how to handle these feelings of fear.
After all, fear is a universal emotion. When it occurs, it is powerful. You feel as if you can’t breathe, it becomes difficult to think, and making responsible decisions becomes impossible.
Fear stops you in your tracks and is known to prevent you from moving forward in your life.
Addiction is like fear, except addiction is worse. When you’re dealing with addiction, you tend to glorify addictive substances.
Common sense ceases to exist with addiction, and you are more likely to engage in toxic and destructive behavior to get your fix.
It is essential to know that just because you feel afraid you don’t need to let that fear take over.
Do not give fear any additional power over you. This isn’t to say you will not encounter fear. There will be times when you are uneasy, anxious or afraid of a difficult problem or task.
You might be worried about finding a solution to that problem or completing a particularly overwhelming task. It is normal to be fearful of what is to come or the unknown.
This is the time to be brave. Being brave doesn’t always mean you need to tackle your problem. Instead, being brave may mean acknowledging the fear for what it is and move forward with it in a constructive manner.
This is bravery in action and is instrumental in conquering your fears and addiction.
When dealing with fear and addiction what most people want is a release. Most want to be free from the crippling depression they face alongside their recovery.
Those in early recovery know just about anything, and everything can be triggering. This alone is terrifying. However, if you take it step by step you can recover.
Recovery means forging a path where you can move forward knowing you are doing what needs to be done so that you can be happy, productive, and free from fear and addiction.
Numbing yourself with drugs and alcohol is not freedom. Typically with drugs and alcohol, people surrender to their cravings and urges.
Your entire life revolves around drugs and alcohol. When you are free, you live your life from a place of knowledge. You make informed decisions about your choices, and you choose what you want to do instead of what not to do.
No one can make decisions for you. Only you do that. You are responsible for your recovery. When you decide to move past your addiction and fears, you are in control. You are acting with freedom.
Valuing your integrity is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
Do not forget; you are responsible for the choices you make. There will always be triggers and moments where you feel like you want to go back to using your drug of choice.
The good news is these triggers lessen over time. The more you work your recovery and stay committed to sobriety the better off you will be.
There will be situations where that feeling to succumb to your addiction is so intense that it seems impossible to resist.
However, here is where you have a chance to make the responsible choice. Plus, every time you make a responsible decision the easier it becomes.
Pretty soon, your addiction will no longer have the same power over you as it once did. Making use of your recovery toolkit and utilizing coping techniques you can resolve your desire to use.
Remember, in recovery you not only have the choice to be strong in your recovery you also have the capability to remain sober. You are stronger than you think.
If you want to conquer your doubts and fears while dealing with your recovery efforts, you can get in touch with the Hotline at our Recovery Center where trained and experienced professionals are available to assist you in every way.
The staff at Chateau Recovery is always available to help you with your questions regarding addiction recovery and treatment. Call anytime.
Please call our toll-free helpline which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed by experienced and caring professionals who can answer your questions and help you navigate through the process of evaluating and securing a treatment program.
Fear is behind every resentment I have. And it’s the reason why I don’t do the things I want to. Because I am too afraid of not getting something I don’t want to or losing something I have. When I live in recovery without fear — I live a much better life.