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Top 5 Common Fears in Addiction Recovery

By Linda Whiteside

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Table of Contents

Common Fears in Addiction Recovery

It is normal to feel uncertainty, doubt, and fear when in recovery for addiction. No matter how far along some is in their recovery, there will be moments where fear and anxiety, that cause you to questions yourself. If these common fears in addiction recovery are not addressed, it can leave a recovering addict vulnerable to relapse. In order to address these fears, one must understand them and have ways to combat fear to minimize risks.

The following are common fears faced in recovery. This article will outline simple ways to face and conquer such fears.

The Most Common Fears in Addiction Recovery

Fear of Sobriety Itself

The most common fear faced in recovery is the fear of sobriety in and of itself. Being in recovery is learning new ways of behaving, thinking and being. For many people in recovery, the fear is they may not know how to have fun while sober. They may feel they will become boring and no one will want to be around them because they are in recovery.

Nothing can be further from the truth. While recovering addicts may feel that sobriety limits the ways they can find fun, sobriety actually opens up new opportunities. By working with their therapist and hanging out with new and sober friends, the recovering addict can find new hobbies and activities that can be exciting, fun and without the use of substances. Most importantly, being with positive people will help the newly recovering addict gain confidence and empowerment in recovery.

Fear of Failure

Another common fear in addiction recovery is the fear of failure. Addiction is a complex condition with deep psychological roots. No matter how solid an addict’s recovery program, there is a nagging fear of slipping and relapse. For many addicts, they fear if relapse occurs they have failed and will never truly find lasting recovery.

The honest truth is that relapse is a part of recovery. It is estimated between 50-90 percent of recovering addicts relapse once within the first four years of sobriety. If relapse occurs, it is important not to dwell on the guilt and shame associated with relapse for too long. When slips happen, it is crucial to get to a meeting, work with a sponsor and listen to others who are in recovery. Chances are good that a good number have relapsed and may have found ways to overcome those slips.

The Fear of Finding One’s True Self

Years of substance abuse can make people feel that as an addict they are broken. During the recovery process, those who are nearly sober feel new and intense emotions and feelings. Most importantly, they begin the process of finding out who they really are as people. There is a real fear they may find the negative within themselves, or they may feel they may never know who they are.

Recovery is a great time to redefine oneself. Everyone has traits that aren’t desirable, but recovery is a great time to explore and find oneself. Finding new hobbies, volunteering and developing new passions can uncover great things about oneself. It takes courage, but recovery is about change and embracing change.

Fear of Rejection

For people in recovery, they may fear that family, friends or other loved one will not be accepted. Worse yet, there can be a palpable fear of being rejected by the ones they love the most. This common fear in addiction recovery is grounded in solid reality. During one’s active addiction, the user’s manipulation of others drove a definitive wedge between them, family and friends. During recovery—and especially early recovery—the addict may run into considerable resistance in having loved ones believe they are actually working a recovery program.

The best way to minimize the fear of rejection is to get working a program of recovery. Go to meetings and counselling—even if you think you don’t need it. By putting in the work and showing others that you are earnest and honest about working towards recovery, loved ones will eventually notice and start coming back around.

For those who are struggling with addiction, fear and uncertainty are common and it’s important to know you’re not alone. If you or a loved one needs help to overcome their struggle with substance abuse issues, we’re here to help. Contact NuView Treatment Center, we can help.

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Author

Written By: Linda Whiteside
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Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson
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Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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