Effective Ways To Manage Fears That Can Sabotage Recovery

by | Feb 18, 2023 | Addiction, Recovery | 0 comments

People with substance abuse disorders are generally afraid of something. Some are afraid for their health, some fear change, and some fear that they won’t be able to function without their substance of choice. Some even fear the recovery process itself, or at least parts of it. It is vitally important to address fears during recovery because real or imagined, they can interfere with or totally disrupt the process.

Some of the most common fears shared by those in recovery include:

  • Fear Of Rehab and Withdrawals. Many addicts have heard horror stories about the pain of withdrawal, and are rightly afraid — no one likes to be in pain. The good news is that medically supervised detox will help minimize withdrawal symptoms and maximize comfort. Medical professionals will provide monitoring, support, and intervention if needed, all to keep you safe.
  • Fear Of Change. Many users are comfortable with their addiction, despite the obvious issues it causes. It is a familiar lifestyle for them. Recovery means giving up that familiarity. They fear the hard work needed to establish new, healthy habits after rehab, and facing the obligations, attention, and stresses of daily life. Change is necessary to reach recovery. Focus on smaller short-term objectives to reach your long-term goal. You’ve already decided to face the most difficult change you may ever deal with when you choose to get sober. Any other changes will be minor in comparison.
  • Fear Of Feelings. Many turn to substance abuse to cope with unpleasant or painful feelings. They are afraid that these feelings will come back and don’t want to confront the things that drove them to addiction. Remember that those feelings existed before you got addicted, so substance use really solved nothing. Focus on the end game — getting and staying clean. Your recovery program will help to address these feelings and fears, and you’ll be able to find a more fulfilling life once you overcome them.
  • Fear Of Shame. Addicts often assume that other people see them in negative ways. They fear that they will be looked down upon, disliked, or even totally abandoned by their loved ones. Focus on your sobriety. The opinions of those around you truly do not matter. Do the best you can to get your life back on track. Your addiction does not define you. Your actions do.
  • Fear Of Facing Mistakes. Addiction causes many problems — damaged relationships, broken friendships, and job or career destruction. Harness the strength you found when you decided to enter rehab and apply it to your daily life. Apologize to those you’ve hurt. However all mistakes are not repairable, so make amends when you can and make peace when you can’t. Your recovery cannot be contingent upon people’s forgiveness. Let your sobriety be your atonement.
  • Fear Of Relapse. Many fear that they are not strong enough to face the problems that they must fix. They are afraid they will be overwhelmed and turn back to drugs or alcohol. Some also fear they will relapse simply because old habits are too hard to resist. This is probably the most reasonable fear. Kicking an addiction is hard. Many relapse at least once before finally reaching full recovery. Relapse is NOT failure — it is simply a misstep on the road, and can be a learning opportunity. Learn from it and try again. Even the best baseball hitters are out more often than they reach base.
  • Fear Of Loneliness. Rehab makes addicts end their toxic relationships with people who encourage or enable their substance use. They fear these “friendships” will never be replaced because the stigma of addiction will keep them from building or repairing relationships. Look to the close friends and family who have supported you through your recovery. They are your lifeline and support network. The people you meet at support groups or 12-step meetings understand your situation as they are going through the same things. This is a great place to begin learning how to make friends without the use of toxic substances.
  • Fear Of Boredom. Some addicts associate their use with party times and enjoyment and are afraid that they will never have as much fun when sober. Over time, you’ll discover new, fulfilling things to do with your time. Get back into your old hobbies or find new ones. Get involved in your community, or join a club or gym. You’ll meet people who share your interests and learn to have fun again.

Ways To Manage Common Recovery Fears

Here are a few proven strategies for managing fear.

  1. Acknowledge your fears and ask yourself if they are rational. You can’t address your fears until you admit you are afraid. Healthy, rational fears are survival traits — the irrational ones cause the most difficulty so don’t let them influence your behavior. By putting your worries into words, you will be able to think about them logically and calmly.
  2. Remember why you started rehab — it will give you the strength to continue. Reflect on your goals.
  3. Live in the present. Fears are just worries about the future. Your goal is to stay sober today. Yesterday and tomorrow have no bearing on it. You can make plans for the future and make peace with the past without being anxious about them if you stay grounded in the present.
  4. Consider the alternatives. Ask yourself if your fear has kept you from doing things you would like to do, or made you give up before even trying. Then ask yourself if NOT doing these things has made you happy. Consider the choice before you give in to fear and remain safe but unhappy, or take on your fear and risk being happy.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from the people who care about you. You don’t need to fight every battle alone.

Recovery is hard and sometimes painful. Being afraid is normal. Courage doesn’t mean that you are never afraid. True bravery is moving forward despite your fears.

Why Choose Bridges Of Hope?

Bridges of Hope is a Joint Commission-accredited dual-diagnosis adult substance abuse treatment program. Our program is designed to achieve long-term recovery. We are licensed by the State of Indiana Department of Mental Health & Addiction.

Our treatment philosophy is based on a comprehensive and integrated approach to addressing all issues related to substance use and mental health disorders. We leave nothing to guesswork as we utilize therapeutically proven, evidence-based clinical practices. We place superior patient care as our highest priority and offer them all-inclusive treatment services.

Mission Statement: We provide hope and healing for anyone with alcohol and substance abuse disorders.

We connect everyone to their own personal journey, bridging the gaps previously unmet.