Even though you may realise that you need to get clean, the thought of sobriety can be scary. Here are the most common fears, and tips for overcoming them.
Major life changes of any kind add stress to life. Compounding such stress is the fear of the changes themselves. This is certainly true of recovery, where fear of sobriety can be a major obstacle to becoming sober. In this blog, we will explore common fears of sobriety and how to handle them.
#1: Fear of Sobriety
It may seem counter-intuitive, but sobriety itself can induce fear. As the saying goes, better the devil you know, meaning that what we are familiar with is more comfortable than the unknown. Facing sobriety is a major unknown, so even when we recognise the benefits, a lot of fear can come up.
How to handle it: To overcome fear of sobriety, two strategies are helpful. First, acknowledging the fear can go a long way towards dispelling it. Second, focus on the benefits of being sober.
#2: Fear of Failure
This fear focuses on whether or not your attempt at sobriety will fail. You may have tried to clean up your act in the past, and it didn’t work. Or it may be the first time you are attempting to get clean. In either case, choosing sobriety has within it the potential for failure, and with it the fear of failure.
How to handle it: Facing this fear involves acknowledging it, and then building confidence in your ability to succeed based on strategies and resources gained in recovery treatment. It is possible that you may fail. And yet, resolving to be successful is a key to success. Knowing how to be successful will go great lengths in resolving this fear.
#3: Fear of Success
The fear of success is the flipside to the fear of failure. While fearing failure revolves around not believing you can succeed, fearing success focuses on your lack of value as a person who deserves success. You may believe that because of who you are, or because of your past, you cannot be successful.
How to Handle It: Understand that everyone is capable and deserving of sobriety. You are not alone in feeling this fear, and others can support you through this challenge. So, seek out support from people in your life, and this will help you believe in your ability to succeed.
#4: Fear of Rejection
When we make changes to our life, our old friends may not value these changes. This is particularly true in the case of addiction, where a large part of social bonding occurs around substance use. You may therefore fear the rejection of your old friends.
How to Handle It: Make new friends through recovery. Choosing a sober lifestyle means making many changes to your activities, and your social relationships will also change. Embrace these changes and the benefits they bring to your life, and value the new friends you make.
#5: Fear of Losing Identity
Alcoholics and others with addiction have their identity meshed with their addiction. So, when becoming sober, it means changing a part of how they think about themselves. This can invoke fear, as who you are changes and old parts of your identity are absolved.
How to Handle It: Redefine yourself in recovery with the support of your community. It is also beneficial to think about who you really want to be, and your ability to become that person.
#6: Fear of Suffering
Addiction brings its own brand of suffering to your life. However, getting clean does not mean that your life will suddenly become a fairy tale happy ending. On the contrary, remaining sober involves maturely facing life’s challenges without escaping through substance use. As a result, there can be a lot of fear of the suffering that naturally occurs in life.
How to Handle It: See how, as you face life sober, you grow as a person. The process of recovery is about growth, and there are challenges in this process. Believe in your ability to face them. Becoming sober will give you the confidence to face most challenges in life, so long as you remain sober.