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Dealing With Anxiety When You’re In Recovery

Not only do you enter recovery feeling vulnerable from dealing with anxiety and previous trauma, but you also may encounter new areas of difficulty during your recovery process.  Because life continues to go on regardless of your own circumstances, you may find yourself dealing with anxiety from the most struggling scenarios, whether it involves the death of a loved one, a break up with your significant other, losing your job, becoming severely sick, or even finding out that your house could be foreclosed.  As an addict, you already struggle with the business of living, but in recovery, you have to face these very real, serious situations sober.  What can you do when it comes to dealing with anxiety from these traumatic events?

Dealing With Anxiety

It can be tough dealing with anxiety, but for your own health and sanity, you learn ways to deal because you ultimately have no other choice.  In recovery, many will see that they can stay clean and sober much longer than they ever thought they were capable of.  This is where you see strength and triumph in yourself.  But how do you get there from dealing with anxiety?  First, you have to allow yourself to feel.  Without your substances numbing you or making you feel how you would rather feel, you are left with raw, genuine emotions.  If someone you love has died, or if you are in the midst of a horrid end of a relationship, you need to remind yourself that your feelings of sadness, hurt, frustration, and loneliness are entirely valid.  The only way to deal with your feelings is to let them be felt, by experiencing them and even talking or writing about them.

Dealing with anxiety begins with accepting the things you cannot change, simply because you have no power over them.  Nothing that anyone can say or do will make the hurt go away any quicker or slower.  It would be great to have some support from a healthy network of family, friends, sober supports, or therapists, but in the end, dealing with anxiety and traumatic events simply just takes time.  Everybody will heal at their own pace and that is OK.  The most imperative part of all this is to know that you are not alone and to stick with your network because you need support.  Even if you don’t feel like verbally communicating with anyone, you should not set yourself up to be alone.

When events are thrown at you like losing your job, ending up sick in the hospital, or finding out your home will be foreclosed, you may tend to forget about dealing with anxiety and end up ignoring the problem or running straight to your addiction instead.  In recovery, you realize that you are given new ways to face life on life’s terms.  You may get angry at these situations, but then you have to take a look at what is going on and what you can do to be proactive about it.  Meditating, turning to a sponsor if in a 12-Step Fellowship, and going over your options are your best bet at handling matters.  It should not be forgotten that no matter how hard the situation may be, you must stay away from substances at all costs because that will only worsen the state you are in.

Getting clean and going through the process of recovery doesn’t make you indestructible or invulnerable to triggers brought on by dealing with anxiety and trauma.  You have to remember this, because your disease can seem falsely appealing in times of difficulty, but you need to turn the focus on building strength and dealing with anxiety.  It is possible to suffer the absolute worst experiences but still make it through them sober.

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