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Overcome Fear in Recovery

Clinically Reviewed by Linda Whiteside, LPCC

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson, MD

How to Overcome Fear in Recovery

Table of Contents

It is normal to be scared when you’re in early recovery. Being nervous, fearful, or anxious means you care about your sobriety. In the early stages of recovery, you are basically re-learning how to live your life. Recovery at the beginning is full of unknowns and learning how to cope with those unknowns is a skill you must learn in sobriety.

Luckily, most recovering addicts have faced the same fears you’re facing so you have many people you can turn to for support. Here are some of the most common fears in early sobriety and how you can overcome them.

How to Overcome Common Fears in Early Recovery

Fear of Feeling

Many people use addiction to numb unpleasant feelings and mute intolerable thoughts. When you enter sobriety, these emotions and thoughts are no longer avoidable. Facing these feelings can be extremely overwhelming and uncomfortable, however, it is necessary.

By addressing painful and overwhelming emotions and thoughts you can begin to heal and move forward with your life. Viewing this as a purge of negativity to make room for more positive thoughts and feelings may help this process feel more like a cleanse than a punishment. Addressing your past traumas and struggles and releasing them is an essential part of recovery.

Fear of Change

Your cycle of addiction is what feels familiar and comfortable. Substance and alcohol use can feel like the easiest way to cope with complicated feelings. This is a lie your addiction tells you to keep you using. You must become comfortable with change to maintain your sobriety.

Your emotions and life may feel overwhelming or out of control in early recovery. This is the case because you have become so used to blocking out any uncomfortable or worrisome emotions with drugs and alcohol. It is understandable to be afraid of change, however, becoming okay with change is an integral part of recovery. Accepting that change is inevitable and trying to view it as transformative and exciting can help you become more comfortable with change. 

Fear of Recovering

Some people are afraid of recovery because so much of their identity is their addiction. It can be extremely difficult to imagine a life without drugs and alcohol and the idea of being happy without substances seems impossible or unimportant. 

Learning to accept that your addiction does not define you is an important step in recovery. Trying to see your addiction as something preventing you from knowing your true self as opposed to the thing that defines you may help you overcome this fear. It can be scary to let go of what you perceive to be your identity, but it is a step you must take in order to live a better life.

Fear of Success

Many people who struggle with addiction do not believe they deserve to be happy or successful. Although an addict may not purposely sabotage themselves, the feelings of worthlessness and self-doubt can derail their efforts to break free from their addiction. 

To try to avoid sabotaging your success in recovery and in life, focus on the present. Focus on the now and what you’ve accomplished so far instead of worrying about the future and how you may fail. You deserve to be successful and happy. Congratulate yourself on how far you have come and focus on how you continue to make positive changes in your life today.

Fear of Loneliness

In sobriety, you have to let go of your friends and family that would either use with you or encourage your using. The loss of someone that may have been so constant in your life can be scary and isolating. This fear of being lonely is understandable and normal, however, instead of dwelling on your fear of losing someone, focus on finding new, positive people to welcome into your life.

Finding others who share your interest in sobriety and support you in your recovery can help you remain sober and feel less lonely. Try to view the loss of a negative friend as making room for a positive one.

Over Coming Fear with NuView Treatment Center

If you are feeling scared in early recovery, NuView Treatment Center can help you overcome your fears. NuView Treatment Center, offers outpatient addiction treatment and rehabs in Los Angeles CA that is designed to give clients the tools they need to recover. The evidence-based treatment programs available at NuView can help clients address the underlying issues, such as mental health disorders and interpersonal problems, that are motivating their addiction. NuView’s highly trained staff can help you develop skills and tools to overcome any fears you have in recovery. Recovery can be scary, but conquering these fears is essential in maintaining long-term sobriety and living a happy, healthy life.

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Written By: Linda Whiteside

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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