Anxiety in Addiction Recovery

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[ang- zahy-i-tee]

distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune: He felt anxiety about the possible loss of his job.
earnest but tense desire; eagerness: He had a keen anxiety to succeed in his work.
Psychiatry. a state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder.


Hi it's Dermot again. If you read my last blog from 27th March, you will know that this is a follow up to that blog and part of a "Recovery from Addiction Series", If not read on:

When I first came into recovery and for a long time, I suffered from anxiety. My anxiety wasn’t specific, but general. It wasn’t till I started studying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, that I realised that I was suffering from Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

My anxiety in recovery would be categorised as a character defect, but no matter what the label first and foremost it is a feeling and a horrible one at that. I have not met a single person in recovery who hasn’t suffered from anxiety.

Many of us would have drank/used because of anxiety. The feeling was overwhelming and the only solution at the time was to get wasted. That respite did not last long as once you sobered up the anxiety came back tenfold, then we would just get wasted again.

Anxiety in recovery has to be faced as we cannot use alcohol or drugs as a crutch or antidote. This is extremely uncomfortable initially to do and every person in early recovery needs support here.

Anxiety plainly is a fear of an unknown future. So we know that it is fear based. How do we beat our fears? By facing our fears, head on.  As anxiety is also future based, how do we deal with that? By bringing our focus to the here and now.

Our subconscious mind cannot differentiate between real or actual from perceived. When we feel anxious, we trigger “Fight or Flight” and have an adrenaline surge. This worked well when we where cavemen, but not so now, unless someone or something is actually chasing you. In most cases though it is all in our minds (thoughts)

So there is the solution, live in the here and now and face your fears. Wish it was that easy. Dealing with your anxiety feelings and thoughts is like peeling an onion, one layer at a time. Seems like a mountain, yes, it can be.

Recovery is part of life and life is a journey, so instead of spending the rest of your life trying to combat all your anxieties, as will be like a quest for the Holy Grail, then turn your focus not on fighting the negative, but focusing on the positive.

I find if I am practising gratitude, for everything, my mood lifts and I have fewer anxious thoughts & feelings. When I do get an anxious thought, the emotional impact is now a lot less severe. No more heart stopping moments, sweats, or panic attacks. That is me, but it is important to find something that lifts your mood and really focus on this.

Facing fear with more fear creates even more fear, facing fear with love creates love.

My next article is on Anger, stay tuned.

The article "Recovery from Addiction Series" Anxiety is the opinion of the author and if you would like to contribute to it, please leave a comment in the comment box below. If you want to subscribe, for free, to any further blogs of mine please click on the blue box below.

Growth in Recovery and in life, takes commitment & courage, but if you are not willing to take a risk, and push your boundaries, even a little then you will be stuck where you are, until you do.

If, like me & you are in recovery, then I know your pain & you have been to hell and back. But think of this, you are not a victim, but a survivor and as a survivor you deserve to give yourself every opportunity you possibly can. "Keep breaking the mould and keep it real"

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Thank you for reading.


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