When you stop drinking or using your drug of choice, you have to start learning other ways to deal with negative feelings. Anxiety is one of the worst because you can’t find a direct solution.
It is normal to feel anxiety in early sobriety, as you start to feel the changes involved in physical, mental and spiritual recovery. You still can’t imagine what your life will be like as you practice your new way of living, and it can feel overwhelming.
Here are some great ways to deal with anxiety in sobriety:
Live in the now.
There’s a reason that one of the first slogans you learn is “One day at a time.” No human could handle living in different moments at the same time. You will eventually have fewer regrets about the past and fewer fears about the future, but in the beginning, you can remind yourself that you only have to deal with one day at a time.
Most people find it helpful to break that down when they feel particularly anxious. You can tell yourself you only have to get through this afternoon, this hour, this minute, or this second before you move to the next one. Life is less stressful when you handle it in small bites.
If you haven’t practiced it before, you will hopefully be learning some useful meditation techniques in your treatment program. You can practice meditation anywhere at almost any time during any break in your day. You can even use an App to get guided meditations. The less time you feel like you have to meditate, the greater need you have for it.
This is a great way to help focus your mind that also supports your physical recovery. Yoga relieves stress and helps you learn to focus on and control your breathing. There are even 12-step yoga meetings where the focus is on recovery.
Talk to someone.
Addiction is a disease of isolation. It’s easy once you start feeling anxious to lose perspective and begin to skew the way you’re looking at things. You can convince yourself of almost any terrible thing if you don’t talk to someone to get perspective. Alone, you can obsess over the smallest thing and turn it into a disaster.
You don’t have to just use a professional therapist, although individual therapy is helpful for many issues. You can also keep handy the phone number of your sponsor, other AA or NA members, trusted friends, and family. Even dropping in on a meeting and letting strangers know that you’re feeling anxious can help tremendously.
Learn to identify what stresses you out.
Your triggers might not be rational at all. You may feel anxious in the afternoon, because that was the time you used to go drink, or when you pass certain locations in your neighborhood. You will find it easier to deal with your feelings by identifying your triggers and being ready for them.
If it bothers you to pass the bar where you used to drink, it wouldn’t hurt anything to take a different route. If you feel anxious in the evening, set up a regular call to your sponsor at that time. While you won’t be able to identify every single thing in your life that causes you anxiety, you can practice self-awareness and identify as many as possible. Then you can make a plan to be proactive and deal with all your triggers head-on.
Your Journey to Recovery Can Begin Today
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you don’t have to wait to get help. At Grace Recovery, we offer abstinence-based treatment in the heart of Hollywood, CA. You can start your road to recovery in our luxurious accommodations, without the distractions of the outside world. Don’t wait to start your new way of living — call today to see if we can help.