The term “anxiety” describes an intense feeling of unease, nervousness and worry, typically surrounding a situation with an uncertain outcome. Most people experience from some form of anxiety, whether mild or extreme, at some point in their lives – and is commonly found in recovery. In this entry we will offer up some tips and tricks to help you stay positive and sober throughout your recovery.
Anxiety and addiction often go hand in hand. Studies suggest that many addicts experience some type of anxiety; OCD, Social Anxiety, PTSD, Phobias, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder to name a handful. Addicts often utilize substances to hide or mask these issues in an effort to combat the discomfort associated with the condition. Whether the anxiety is due to un-treated addiction or alcoholism or a separate mental health disorder depends on the individual patient.
1 – Acknowledge your feelings. It may seem difficult or even embarrassing to admit to stress or anxiety during recovery. Understand that this condition is completely normal, and that in order to deal with it properly, it must first be recognized.
2 – Ask yourself what you are stressing about. For example, you may be concerned about the life you’ve left behind or are reliving past traumas hidden by the substance abuse. Narrowing down exactly what you’re anxious about to place you in position to deal with the real issue properly.
3 - Educate yourself. The more you know about anxiety, the better equipped you will be to deal with it. Talk to your counselor, and create a plan to deal with attacks when they come about. The better prepared you are, the easier they will be to brush off.
4 – Focus on something positive! Dive into a good book or hobby. Choosing to immerse yourself in something outside your own head will offer escape and confidence throughout recovery. The more time you devote to living your life, the less time you will have for worry.
5 – Consider a daily journal. For some, putting thoughts to paper can serve as a wonderful stress relief. It may even help you work through your fears!