5 Ways To Overcome Fear In Recovery
There are lots of reasons to feel afraid. Some fear is legitimate, protecting us from danger. However, a lot of the time, fear is counterproductive, keeping us from taking steps towards positive change or improved relationships, and maintaining a harmful but comfortable status quo. Recovery is a huge change, and some hard actions you take to alter behavior, and so it can bring a lot of powerful fearful emotions along with it. Rather then letting fear hold you back, here are some ways you can learn how to respond to fear, listen to it, and ignore it enough to do what is right for you.
1) Identify the thing that makes you afraid
Naming fears is the first step to dealing with them. Often fear comes amorphously, a simple feeling of dread that feels unexplainable. Rather then give in; pause to ask yourself, “What do I really have to be afraid of? What worst-case scenario am I picturing that’s making me want to hold back?” Sometimes simply by stating your fear of change outright, you can realize that in reality, you have nothing to be afraid of. If the fear remains even after being named, you can analyze the fear and figure out how to best approach the situation with a more a level head.
2) Use gratitude and a positive mindset to focus on good in life
Look around at your life, and realize that you’ve made it through hard times before. There is a lot that is going well in the world, and by brining your focus on that, you can take it off the parts that feel intimidating. Realize too that there will continue to be good things in your life no matter what will allow you to have less anxiety about the future, allowing you to accept whatever outcome happens.
3) Do the thing that you are afraid of, one baby step at a time
Such a huge goal as “get sober” is too much for any person to do at once. Naturally, with such a huge task ahead of them, it would be easy to feel fear at the possibility of failure. The way to address such a huge fear is by taking small steps, making smaller goals, and realizing you have the capacity to meet them. In this way, you will not allow fear to stop you from doing something, but in small ways that will boost your confidence. Like the man moving a mountain with a spoon, who simply keeps at doing a small action, again and again, until it all adds up to something huge.
4) Share your fears with others who are supportive, especially with a group of people also in recovery
There is an African proverb that goes “sharing joy multiples it, and sharing trouble divides it.” Although it may sometimes feel like it, you are not the only person who has ever faced whatever you are going through. A good support group or trusted friend may be facing issues very similar to what your own fear. They can encourage you, empathize with you, and tell their story of getting over their fear, in a way that could be encouraging to you.
5) Visualize yourself as you would most like to be
A lot of times, fear is rooted in the imagination. Your mind creates scenes of things going badly, and your body responds by trying to retreat or panic, so the bad thing imagined doesn’t happen. Counteract this tendency by creating your own visualizations, but ones that are full of gratefulness and hope. Imagine yourself, living confidently and victorious over your addictions, able to lead a happy life where you are in control of doing what’s truly enjoyable and good for you. This exercise will give you confidence as you go through life, and helping you face your worst fears.