During recovery from addiction, the biggest fear for many is the threat of relapse. In the early days, it can be difficult to stay on track, especially when you are suffering from cravings for alcohol or drugs. As an addict in recovery, though, you will know that you need to avoid these substances. You will have been taught how to deal with your cravings and, although it may be difficult at first, it will get easier over time.
However, certain feelings and emotions can be just as harmful to recovery and need to be addressed as soon as possible to prevent you from heading back down the slippery slope to addiction once more. Below we have listed a few of the most common emotions felt during recovery that we believe could affect your sobriety if not dealt with as soon as you notice them.
Many recovering addicts will experience feelings of low self-esteem in the early days. They may feel inadequate because they often have unrealistic expectations of themselves. They may overestimate those around them while undervaluing themselves, which can lead to feelings unworthiness. These feelings can be dangerous because they could lead to relapse. Working with a support group or counsellor can help overcome feelings of low self-esteem.
Another common feeling is anxiety, with many recovering addicts suffering from panic attacks. Feelings of tension, worry and fear can lead to panic attacks as your imagination runs wild with thoughts of things that might happen. Physical symptoms often accompany anxiety and panic attacks – many people suffer from a rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, and sweating. Others find it difficult to breathe, and some experience shaking, nausea, stomach pain, and dizziness. Panic attacks are common during recovery from addiction, so it is important to learn how to deal with these in order to calm yourself down. Learning how to practice meditation techniques will help, as will identifying triggers.
Many recovering addicts are convinced that they are going to fail in their recovery, and this can eat away at them until they give in to their fear. Learning that fear is natural but does not have to become debilitating is imperative. It can be difficult to picture a future in which drugs or alcohol do not play a part, but now that you have come this far, it is essential to learn to believe in your ability to move forward and continue to stay sober. You deserve credit for coming this far, and each milestone you reach is another victory that you should be proud of. As you progress, you will lose this fear and can start to become more confident about living the rest of your life free from addiction.
If you hurt people while you were addicted to alcohol or drugs, then you will naturally be feeling guilty about this now that you are sober. You may have upset your spouse, parents, or children with your actions, but you need to remember that you were suffering from an illness at the time that caused you to act the way you did. Feeling guilty is natural but you must not let these feelings take over your life. You cannot change the past – all you can do is learn from it and make amends with those you have wronged. It may take a while to rebuild relationships with your loved ones but, as long as you keep trying, you can show them that you have changed and are doing everything in your power to earn their respect again.