Making a decision to stop drinking or using drugs is a life-changing choice, and with this decision arises a number of complicated feelings.
These feelings include but are not limited to fear, sadness, loneliness, boredom, and, one of the most dangerous, anxiety. For those in early sobriety, it’s extremely important to learn how to deal with anxiety in recovery. With the proper guidance and help, having awareness around anxiety and tools to deal with it can indeed prevent one from relapsing.
Here are some ways to deal with anxiety in recovery.
- Stay in the moment. Anxiety usually comes about from fear of the past or future. Remind yourself where you are today – right now. You can do this by breathing deeply and narrating actions, such as, “I’m at my home walking to the kitchen to get water.”
- Pray and/or meditate. When we pray, we ask for help, and in early sobriety we often forget to ask our Higher Power for help. When we meditate, we attempt to quiet our mind. This also helps us to stay in the moment.
- Call your sponsor or a friend in the program. By having a strong support system, we can ‘reason things out’ with someone who is not in our situation. When we talk, if often offers a better perspective on what is worrying us.
- Watch your coffee and sugar intake. Excessive coffee and sugar stimulates your body in a way that can create the jitters and worsen anxiety symptoms. Everything in moderation!
- Get busy. When we help someone else in need, it shifts our focus from ourselves onto someone else, hence offering no ‘thinking time’ to worry.
Being aware of excessive fear and worry is the first step in knowing how to deal with anxiety in recovery. Know that the tools that work for someone else may not work for you. Rest assured that you will get through these bouts of anxiety, and you are not alone. If you believe you may be suffering from General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), contact your doctor or therapist in order to be evaluated.