Seeking recovery from addiction will necessitate huge transformation over all areas of your life. Facing something so big, it is normal to feel fear, trepidation, and worry. Fear can be among one of the hardest emotions to overcome, but it can helped significantly by gaining the support of others, and becoming aware that you are not alone.
Many people have to face these same fears, and have survived coming out stronger. This means you can too. Here are some of the fears you are likely to face as you seek treatment and recovery.
1) Fear of facing life without a familiar coping mechanism
Drugs and alcohol sometimes provide a way to "dropping out" of life when things get stressful or traumatic, a way of forgetting your problems. In recovery, you gradually begin to realize that addiction brings with it more problems then it "solves," but when you stop using, that means that old tensions will arise back to the surface.
Having to deal with these problems more directly is one thing that can make the process of sobriety seem scary and uncomfortable.
2) Fear of failure or relapse
Recovery is often a lot of hard work, with life and death hanging in the balance. It is a new way of living that requires a total overhaul in everything you thought you knew about yourself. It may feel like old habits and temptations can rear their ugly head at any moment.
Whether you have been sober for one day or many years, there is going to be moments where remaining sober might feel like an enormous struggle.
3) Fear of lost relationships
You did not get caught up in the pain of addiction all by yourself. There were lots of people encouraging, enabling, teaching you how to be an addict, and celebrating mutual addictions in a way that often feels fun in the moment.
Making the radical change to no longer pursue substance abuse may force you to say goodbye to people who can't understand or support you in your decision. Letting go of those relationships can be painful.
4) Fear of losing your identity
Addiction overtakes your understanding of who you are, wiping out your true identity as every moment of your behavior is controlled by either being under the influence of a substance, or having a craving for it. But if you are not addict, then who are you?
Letting go of that identity gives you a unique opportunity to define yourself, but that can be frightening. Change, even when it's clearly for the better, can sometimes be a painful process of shedding what is comfortable, and venturing into the unknown.
5) Fear of judgment from others, or yourself
Addiction is fueled by denial. You lie to yourself, and to others, about actions you feel powerless to stop, and this hides the true cost of your behavior.
Admitting you need sobriety requires that you drop the mask of a healthy person, facing your fears and failures head on. You may be afraid that others will judge you for being an addict. Even worse, you may be afraid of facing yourself as a person helpless to stop using of your own power.
How to deal with fear
Having feelings of fear is a normal part of being human, especially in facing something new and unknown. Bravery does not come from suppressing or ignoring these feelings of fear, but rather, facing them and choosing to go on anyway. By taking one step towards recovery, in spite of your fear, you will gradually make the fear smaller.
Surround yourself with people who have made it before you, and who support your decision to pursue sobriety. Through experiences of conquering fear, you will learn that fear need not get in the way of healing.