Making any major life change is scary, and getting sober is no exception. Entering into addiction recovery means completely re-routing your life. Even if you’re well aware that drinking and using is destroying your life, damaging your career, and ruining your personal relationships, it still doesn’t make giving these things up any easier.
Fear can protect us when we’re in danger, but the paralyzing fear that accompanies doing things that are actually good for us is the kind of fear that needs overcoming. Here are some of the most common fears when it comes to addiction recovery (and how you can overcome them):
- Fear of Missing out. Yep, good old FOMO––an acronym we hate to love and love to hate. And many addicts fear that once they get sober, they’ll miss out on all of the fun stuff. You know, the parties, the rock concerts, the latest designer drug, fancy cocktails, cheap beer, and the list goes on.
What to do about it: many people find that getting sober with the help of a recovery program such as AA or NA is helpful because it gives them something to do, along with an instant network of friends in recovery. Having a solid network of sober friends means you can still go and do all of the fun things you used to do (when you’re ready, of course) while knowing that your friends have your back and won’t try to tempt you to drink or use. Sure, the designer drugs, fancy cocktails, and cheap beer need to go, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still have fun. Many people in recovery also take up new hobbies (i.e.; surfing, hiking, traveling, painting, mountain climbing, etc.) which are often even more fun than parties and rock concerts. These types of more wholesome activities generally don’t involve being surrounded by other people who are drunk or high, removing the temptation altogether.
- Fear of Failure (that it won’t work). Regardless of how much time you have in recovery, challenges are going to crop up. Many addicts want to get sober but they don’t even bother trying because they’re afraid they won’t be able to do it, and addicts are notorious perfectionists. Why try to do something that completely sets you up for failure?
What to do about it: while it’s true that many addicts relapse, there are also many who don’t. Despite this, however, even if you do relapse and you learn from it, then you haven’t failed. Fear of failure never needs to keep anyone from attempting to get sober. Addicts get clean all the time, and for those who’ve achieved at least a year of sobriety, less than 50% will relapse.
- Fear of Success (that it will work). While most people don’t intentionally set out to sabotage themselves, many people––addicts in particular––don’t feel they deserve success in life, so they don’t even bother trying. Furthermore, many addicts are also afraid of not being able to drink or use (or engage in any other addictive behaviors ever again).
What to do about it: a common phrase and theme across twelve step recovery programs is, “one day at a time.” In other words, recovery is a one-day-at-a-time endeavor, so there’s no need to fear anything, really. Stay in the present moment. When we make the decision to get clean, we only need to worry about what’s right in front of us, right here and right now. Tomorrow is a new day, and staying sober tomorrow is irrelevant. Adopting this attitude has helped so many addicts get and stay clean.
- Fear of rejection. Many people are afraid to admit to those around them that they have a problem for fear of being judged, and so they never ask for the help they need. They might be worried that their friends, peers, or family might view them as weak or strange. They also might be worried that they’ll lose all of the friends that they’re used to partying with.
What to do about it: first of all, try your best to keep in mind that anyone who’s ready to judge you for getting sober does not have your best interests in mind. While we’re not here to tell you who you should or shouldn’t be friends with, it might be time to re-evaluate a relationship with someone who’s not willing to support your recovery. That being said, it can still be hard to fess up to others that you have a problem, but remember that you’re doing this for you and not for anyone else. Once again, support groups can be enormously beneficial to your recovery because they give you an instant network of people on the same journey. Stick with these people, along with those in your life who want to see you succeed. These are the people you want in your corner anyway.
Remember, your recovery journey is yours and yours alone. Fearing what other people think, that you might fail, or that you might be rejected––these are all irrelevant. At the end of the day, you’re doing this for you and there’s no right or wrong way to “do” recovery. Simply give it your best shot and you’re on the right path.
Kembali Recovery Center is here to help
If you or someone you love is struggling to get or stay clean, Kembali Recovery Center can help. Contact us today –– our counselors are available to answer your questions and concerns, and we’re gearing up for 2021 with new health and safety protocols. We will be welcoming back clients as soon as Bali reopens.