When we first come in to recovery, often we struggle with so much fear. Are we going to relapse? Are we going to be able to find work? Are we going to be able to keep work? Are the people in meetings going to like me? There is so much to learn, there is so much that is new, and there are so many uncertainties that fear is almost certain to take hold in our lives in some form another. So how do we conquer fear in recovery?
Find a support group and make friends.
Groups are nature’s way of keeping us safe. Think of almost any animal that must protect itself from predators: fish swim in schools, deer travel in herds, and birds fly in flocks. They all group together. The reason for this isn’t merely for protection, but for socialization. Sure, we’re protected with our friends around us. They are a safe group that will help ensure that no harm comes to us. But more importantly, they are the ones who will help keep you on the right track and if need be, pick you up when you fall. The important thing to remember however, is that you fly with the right flock.
Embrace fear, and talk about it.
While none of us really like fear, there is a useful purpose for it in our lives. Fear warns us of danger and helps keep us safe. When it comes to maintaining your sobriety and preventing relapse, fear is a very healthy motivational tool for us. However, we can’t let our fear get out of hand. We have to manage our fear.
Our fear becomes unmanageable when we keep it to ourselves. It festers and grows as we mull it over in our head. Eventually, our fears start to become our realities and the anxiety paralyzes us. In order to keep that fear managed and maintain our rational thoughts, we have to share what we’re afriad of. This is one of the most important things we can do with our sponsors. Our fear, when unmanaged, will ultimately lead to relapse. So talk to your sponsor about your fear and together you can work through the issues that are concerning you and make a plan to prevent the disaster that you’re worrying about. In some rare cases, your anxiety may need to be managed with professional help. In some cases, anxiety may need to be treated with medication, professional counseling, or both. Don’t be afraid to seek out this help if you feel you need it. A very high percentage of the American population struggles with anxiety on a regular basis. Getting help will ultimately lead to a decreased chance of relapse and a happier you.
Courage isn’t the opposite of fear.
Too often we believe that if we were just more courageous we wouldn’t experience fear like we do. But courage isn’t the opposite of fear. We can in fact, have both fear and courage. Fear is a natural response to the perception of danger. As mentioned before, fear is there to keep us safe. Having the self-confidence to know that you can handle the situation gives you wisdom. Being prepared for what you fear gives you confidence. Surrounding yourself with people who can help you in dangerous situations gives you strength. Using all of these resources available to you gives you the courage you need to face your fears and overcome them.
There is good fear and there is bad fear. Identifying which is which is the key. Your friends in recovery, sponsor, and professional counselors can help you make a decision about your fear and how to handle it. Sometime you need more help, and there are fantastic medical treatments for anxiety these days. But that’s not the case most of the time. You can develop the courage you need to handle your fear just by preparing for it, learning how to manage your fears, and by surrounding yourself with supportive people who are willing to help you in fearful situations. We have the tools we need at our fingertips to be successful and overcome fear. Applying those tools appropriately is the key to that success.
A Work In Progress is a community of women that have joined together to support and encourage each other in recovery. We know what fear in recovery looks like, and we work together to overcome it in each of our lives. If you’re interested in learning more about us and becoming part of our community, please call us at (818) 633-1719 or fill out the contact form on this page.