What Are Some Common Fears in the Early Stages of Recovery?
If you’ve been in addiction for a long time, starting the process of recovery can be daunting and even frightening. You may have underlying fears you didn’t know you had until you actually start the early stages of recovery. But there’s only one way to face your fears, and that is to start facing your fears.
Many people may feel the fear of facing their fears, and that is understandable. But if you do not address them, they’ll only become more powerful in the shadows. And if they remain unaddressed, they will either keep you from starting addiction recovery or hinder you on your recovery journey.
Another common fear is the fear of failure. What happens if you face your fears and then you fail? What if you relapse after so much hard work? These fears are understandable and you’ll learn how to work through them during and after treatment. The goal is for them not to control your decisions or determine your future.
But where do these fears come from? Dealing with trauma and anxiety are good places to begin your healing and recovery process when facing your fears.
What Does the Research Say About Fear, Trauma, and Anxiety?
There are many studies to support the links between fear, trauma, and anxiety. Moreover, there are also connections to how these disorders and feelings can play a significant role in substance abuse. For example, a study in the Journal of Traumatic Stress showed how central the “fear of fear” is in the grand scheme of substance abuse, PTSD, and other clusters. The authors of the study call this fear of fear anxiety sensitivity and show how relevant it is in the development of dual-diagnoses.
All in all, there is a close link between fear, trauma, and anxiety. Although these concepts are distinct, they are also interrelated and should be addressed together. But the first key is to want to address your fear, whatever it may be. It is important to understand them and know how to handle them properly to successfully recover from addiction.
Factors of Fear in Addiction Recovery
Getting treatment is one of the first steps to addiction recovery. But, as one might expect, there are fears that prohibit a person struggling with substance abuse disorder to seek treatment. One recent study examined these reason and identified three main fears:
- The fear of disappointing others
- Loss of secrecy of substance abuse
- Being considered a failure in life
But along with these fears, the study also referred to a number of primary reasons why someone was finally to go into treatment. This is often a “tipping point” or “rock bottom.” But more often than not, a rock bottom point is a result of many factors. Some of these may include:
- Daily need for drugs and don’t know where else to turn
- Drug problem has become chronic
- Feeling physically ill most of the time
- A loss of self-respect for oneself
Tips to Overcoming Facing Your Fears in Recovery
- Be honest: This means being straightforward with yourself and other people. Don’t sugarcoat, and don’t avoid the truth. If you’re having a good day, celebrate it! And if you’re having a rough day, reach out to someone for support. You won’t get anywhere by being in denial, and instead you’ll just be controlled by the things you’re trying to suppress.
- Ask for help: This is a part of being honest and admitting you need help. But then you have to ask for it. Whether it’s your sponsor, accountability partner, or just a trusted loved one, use your network to get the support you need. If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, talking about it can alleviate some of the pressure. And if it’s something more serious, you’ll have someone to direct you toward the next best step.
- Go easy on yourself: Make sure to remind yourself of the journey you’re on. Take things one day at a time and be gentle with yourself. Even if you feel like others are being harsh or pushy, practice self-care and self-love by not agreeing with the negativity. If you remember where you were or what you were afraid of a year, five years, or ten years ago, it will give you some perspective.
How Important is Your Support Network in Facing Your Fears?
For many people, falling into relapse is the one of their biggest fears in addiction recovery. This can lead to not even starting the journey if you’re think you’re going to fail from the outset. But one of the greatest keys to preventing relapse is having a support network that you can call on in weak or triggering moments.
Along with your support network, make sure that your environment supports you in this process. This includes the following general tips:
- Take care of yourself, including basic hygiene and health
- Get enough sleep every night
- Keep a journal and reflect on how you’re feeling and where you’ve come from
- Talk about your fears with a professional
- Keep your friends or family in the loop with where you’re at
The more you can see yourself as a part of a network, the more connected you will feel. When you see your connectedness, the more likely you’ll feel accountable to others and for your actions. Isolation will only send you deeper into your fears and worries, and won’t help you move forward in your healing.
If you have questions about how to begin your recovery from addiction or substance abuse and start facing your fears, reach out to a professional at Impact Recovery today.