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5 Common Fears About Recovery That May Set You Back

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Fears About RecoveryAfter rehab, many people wrestle with fears about recovery.  Some handle their fears effectively, while others don’t. Starting a sober lifestyle is like walking into the unknown, which is a fear all humans possess.  You’ve heard a lot of motivational advice about how to succeed at sobriety.  But, putting the info to use and having faith that it will work can be overwhelming.    

If you are in early recovery and are worried about your ability to maintain sobriety and reintegrate into society, we can help.  We’ve highlighted the five most common fears about recovery along with some useful suggestions for coping with them.  

5 Fears About Recovery You Will Have to Face

The first thing you can do to conquer your fears about recovery is to realize that your apprehension is natural.  If you anticipate an unpleasant or stressful situation, your brain responds by going into a fight or flight mode.  Remember, fear is always about what might or could happen.  So, since it hasn’t happened yet, maybe it won’t.  

The famous novelist, H.P. Lovecraft wrote this about fear:

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

You are not alone.  Everyone experiences fear occasionally.  But, if you understand the root of the fear, you can develop ways to manage your feelings and overcome them.  Having worked hard to achieve sobriety, you don’t want to relapse due to your misgivings.  

The most common fears that people have about recovery are as follows:

 1. Fear of Loneliness and Boredom

Most people use drugs or alcohol because they think it helps them have fun.  As such, they fear sobriety because they are afraid of boredom.  They can’t imagine how sober people have fun.  People with substance use disorders tend to spend time with others who are doing the same thing.  While intoxicated, everyone seems like your best friend.  So, it’s understandable that you would fear losing your friends and ending up alone.

2. Fear of Relapse

Yes, many people relapse.  Some relapse more than once.  Relapse is part of the recovery process.  The important thing is how you handle a relapse.  Do you feel like a failure and use it as an excuse to keep drinking or using drugs?  Or, do you reach out for help and get back on track?  You won’t succeed in recovery if you quit trying.

3. Fear of Rejection

Some people avoid rehab because they fear being rejected or abandoned by friends and loved ones.  But, keep in mind, if people abandon you after you admit your addiction, they aren’t interested in what’s best for you.  The people who matter are the ones who stand by you during rehab and recovery.  They want you to succeed and will provide love and support throughout the process.

 4. Fear of Losing Your Identity

Change isn’t easy for most people.  We like our comfort zone.  People in recovery are the same.  They don’t want to become a different person.  When their identity as a substance user is gone, they feel they will have no idea who they are.  It’s difficult to believe that life can be fun and interesting without getting high.  

 5. Fear of Sober Living 

Many people with substance use disorders (SUDs) use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.  Rather than face challenges, they escaped by getting high.  So, the prospect of dealing with daily issues without a coping tool is scary.  The best way to manage the trials of sober living is to realize that it will be worth the effort.  Face the fears one at a time and celebrate your victories in a sober, healthy way.

Managing Your Fears About Recovery

While in rehab, your counselors and advisors helped you create a relapse prevention plan.  The purpose of the plan is to guide you when you feel discouraged or unable to cope.  Refer back to those guidelines frequently when you feel overwhelmed.  

Here are a few more suggestions to help you stay motivated and on track: 

Acknowledge your fear –  The first step in managing your fears about recovery is to accept them as normal and stay focused on your goals instead of the fears themselves.  The fears are real so don’t be ashamed to talk about them with someone you trust.  

Focus on the positives – Instead of worrying about your fears, try to focus on the benefits of sober living.  Make a list of the goals you want to achieve and their positive outcomes.   Put the list in a place where you will see it every day.

Don’t try to do it alone – Studies show that people who don’t have a strong support system relapse more often than those who do have solid support.  Your recovery process will be much harder if you try to do it all on your own.  For instance, at times, you will need advice, encouragement, and someone to listen if you need to talk things out.  So, build a support team of sober loved ones and friends, and attend self-help groups regularly.  Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to them when needed.  

Successful Recovery Begins at Design for Change

Design for Change Recovery provides a wide range of treatment evidence-based treatment options to give clients the individualized care they require.  Our compassionate, skilled staff will ensure that each client feels nurtured and comfortable during their time in our program.   

We are a fully licensed, JCAHO-accredited facility located in beautiful Lancaster, CA.  The peaceful setting and homelike amenities allow clients to leave stress behind and focus on healing.  

Contact us by phone, email, or online to learn more  about our comprehensive treatment program.  

Source: – H.P. Lovecraft 1890 – 1937 American Writer

5 Common Fears About Recovery That May Set You Back