Most people have heard the expression “fight or flight” – it describes every human’s reaction when they face fear. Often, being afraid of something is logical and healthy because it can help us make decisions about what action to take. On the other hand, too much fear can be a barrier to living our lives the way we want to.
Fears are common among people in recovery. We may be afraid of many things such as a fear of living sober (will it be boring? can I sustain it?). If this fear goes unchecked, it can easily lead to relapse.
Many of us have a fear of failure because we tend to be perfectionists and we are afraid to make mistakes or take risks. On the other hand, we may be afraid of success and the resulting expectations of ourselves and others. We may believe that we don’t deserve to “win” because of our bad behavior in the past. We hear the expression “self-sabotage” a lot, but it is more like “self-doubt”, causing us to not put forth our best efforts.
We may also fear losing our identity in sobriety (who am I when I am not drinking or using?) We are afraid to redefine ourselves and remember who we were and what interested us before our lives got so chaotic.
Overcoming all of these fears is hard work but by actively engaging in our recovery program and staying in the “now”, we can push ourselves to walk through the fears and live with peace of mind in sobriety.