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Overcoming fear in addiction is a huge part of the recovery process.  Facing the things we have done while drinking or using is not going to be easy and is often accompanied by guilt and shame.  Now that we are thinking more clearly, we start to remember every bad decision we ever made.  No one wants to look at the things they have done or the people they have hurt, but unfortunately this is something that each addict must do. 

If recovery was an easy process then it wouldn’t be so hard to get and stay sober.  Running from our fears will only make matters worse and has the potential for us to relapse.  When times get hard in recovery, reach out to a life coach, sponsor or therapist for the support that you need.  Getting support is a vital part of recovery and with help from a trusted friend you will be able to process your fears more easily.

Don’t go it alone

Yes, you may have to let go of some using friends if you don’t have anything else in common with them, but the true friends in your life will not be urging you to keep drinking and doing drugs.  Getting involved in a 12 step or other self-help recovery group is highly recommended. You will get to meet people from all walks of life and broaden your horizons.   Going to these meetings may not be high on your list of priorities, but they will help you realize that you are not alone.  There is also a great deal of wisdom in the rooms of recovery and it is here that you can learn strategies and tips to help you stay sober and deal with life’s issues.

Fear of Making a Mistake

When we are in our addiction we lack any recent history of good decision making and because of this, we know fear making any type of mistake.  However, this is a time of transition and new beginnings and it is also a time of trying to make sense of any of the mistakes we make.  Everyone, but everyone in the world makes mistakes and it is from our mistakes that we learn the most.  Relapse becomes the biggest mistake that newly sober people fear the most, but that doesn’t mean that everyone relapses and it doesn’t mean that everyone who relapse is a total failure.  Yes, it may be a mistake, but a mistake that we can learn from, grow and hopefully not repeat.

Fear of Not Having What it takes

As a newcomer in sobriety, you may fear that you don’t have what it takes to stay sober and that you can’t possibly see yourself remaining sober for the rest of your life.  The best thing to do is not concern yourself with “the rest of your life,” but just be sober for today.  Start each day as a new day and live one day at a time “mindfully.”  Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.

Fear of Failure

We have all had a fear of failure at some time in our lives.  It could be a fleeting thought or a constant companion.  You have only failed at something when you refuse to take action and don’t try again. Thomas Edison who failed 1,000 times before he successful made the first light bulb said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times, because the light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”  Remember the only failure you can’t come back from is when you die.

Fear of Success

Success comes as a result of hard work and it doesn’t happen by accident.  However, when we are newly sober we may think that we don’t deserve success, so we don’t put in the effort and sabotage ourselves.  We fear that we can’t handle all the responsibility it will take to be successful.  However, overcoming this fear will take time and determination.  Be grateful for each and every little success that you do make along the way because you do deserve to be happy and successful.

Fear of Living

When you are afraid of living, you don’t accept social engagement, you isolate and there is little joy in your life.  Again, this may be because you don’t feel that you deserve to be happy; you feel it is pointless even trying.  This is not what living is about this is merely existing.  Take baby steps and keep moving forward as there is joy in life.  Stop living in the past and start living in the moment, because there is joy in life and it is just waiting for you to discover it.  Using positive affirmations can help you replace the negative thoughts that you might be having……  “I can face my fears when they arise, because I now understand that they serve no purpose in my new and improved life.”

Fear of Change

Change can be scary, but being open to new ideas opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.  Learn to say yes to life, new experiences, new opportunities and new friends.  As Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his first inaugural speech “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  If you don’t give fear any power then it can’t hold power over you.

Remember that there is no single way to maintain recovery and each person will need to create their own path and discover that recovery is a journey not a race.

Johnina Noar CADC-II
AToN Center 888-535-1516