The life of active addiction and alcoholism, in my own experience, is one fueled by fear. Emotional and social anxieties are a huge part of the mentality and daily life of someone in active addiction, whether recognized or not. Sometimes this fear comes from others, sometimes it comes from you, and other times it’s just from not having enough of any substance to block out the world. So of course in recovery fear finds its way into our lives again. Some fears are more legitimate than others, but one should know that these fears are not rare, and there are ways to over-come them. Here are 6 common fears of all people in recovery.
This fear is probably the most obvious of all. Once someone has escaped their active addiction and has begun to make changes in their life it can be terrifying to consider falling back into that addiction. If you have pushed through physical and psychological pain and confusion and found yourself feeling a little more awake and alive, relapsing into using and triggering the old feelings and pains can be a devastating possibility.
- Being Judged
Coming into recovery at first can be unnerving. Especially for people who are surrounded by ‘normies’ and have a hard time trying to explain why they can no longer be the person they were in active addiction. Many recovery programs are anonymous and do not require you to tell your story to those outside the fellowship, but still being judged by those in recovery can be a frightening thought for any new-comer if they think they have done worse things than others to get where they are.
- Not Finding the ‘Right Sponsor’
Sometimes in early recovery people are afraid to trust others in recovery. Finding a sponsor can be something most people stress about early on because they may be under the impression their chances of actually staying clean and sober depend on the sponsor they work with in a 12 Step program. They may even spend so much time debating who to trust in this process, that they give up and go back to active addiction before attempting to work a program.
- Unhappiness in Sobriety
To me being unhappy was one major factor in my active addiction. Being unhappy with life on life’s terms is a difficult obstacle to over-come and it’s said drugs and alcohol are what we use as a solution. We tend to abuse substances in attempts to make ourselves happy, or at least block out the obvious issues we are having with our emotions. So when someone is in recovery, and they find themselves unhappy for any reason, it makes sense they fear not being able to find happiness, because the mind may trick you into using to get a quick fix on what it thinks will make you happy.
- Being Prescribed Medications
Life does continue to show up even in recovery. In the event that someone in recovery is injured or afflicted in a way that requires medication it is possible that feeling of impending relapse develops. If you are given a medication that has an effect on the way you feel and function you may fear that it will bring those old memories of the so called ‘good times’ back into focus. Thinking that you have the opportunity to abuse any substance can compromise your confidence in your sobriety.
- Forgetting the Desperation
Desperation is usually what brings people who abuse drugs or alcohol into recovery. Coming to a place in life that seems intolerable or unmanageable and recognizing the need for help is the first step to reaching real change. Some people who stay clean and sober for long enough start to forget that state of mind. They forget how hard it was to admit defeat, and how much suffering was created out of the old habits. So it makes sense that people in recovery fear losing sight of that significant leverage.
When we actively pursue our recovery and strive for growth, we find new ways to cope with these fears, and we may allow spirituality to help us in the process of facing these and other fears head on. It is important to remember that these fears are just reflections of perception. If we keep our life aligned with our principles, and stay sober one day at a time, then we can let go of the perception that we cannot live happy, joyous and free.
“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.”- Marilyn Ferguson
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please call 1-800-951-6135