Are You Afraid to Be Sober? Common Fears You’ll Face Through Recovery

Fear in Recovery, illustration in blue - imprisoned by fear

Is it possible to be afraid of recovering from addiction?

It may not seem like a logical fear. You’ve battled this far through detox and made the decision to get help. Why are you afraid of what’s to come?
Many people fear what happens in rehab. They worry about the process and pain of detox. They struggle with the thought that they need to open up about their past scars. Many people simply do not know if it will work. They worry they will never get to the point of recovery. They may worry about what’s on the other side of rehab.

  • Will my family and friends forgive me or give me support when it gets really hard?
  • Will I spend the rest of my life thinking about oxy, heroin, or alcohol?
  • Can I really face the issues that have put me in this place again?
  • Am I strong enough to live life without this substance?
  • What if I fail?

These are thoughts that run through every addict’s mind. In some cases, it’s the addiction talking. In others, it is the natural human instinct to worry about the unknown.

Think About Fear in General

Every person faces fear at various times in their lives. The fear of living alone without a loved one, the fear of failure, the fear of success, and even the fear that tomorrow will not come are fears all people – whether addicted to drugs and alcohol or not – face. The type of response we have to situations differs from one person to the next. It is quite common for some to worry significantly about a therapy session while others worry about not opening up.

Fear isn’t a bad thing. For example, why are some people afraid of scary movies or roller coasters? The reason is simple. In the mind, there is a negative, high-risk situation here. Scary movies often involve gore and death – both topics most people fear. There’s always the fear of a ride malfunction on a roller coaster. Your brain knows this, and, as a result, it becomes afraid.

Fear itself is a scientific, physical occurrence in the body. It’s not just a “mind game” or a sign of weakness. There are benefits to it.

  • Fear makes our body and brain work harder. You’re more alert and focused on the perceived risk.
  • Fear also helps us to make better decisions. You’re more likely to think things through if you face your fear.
  • Fear can also give you a bit of pause: “Is this really what I should be doing right now?”

The problem with fear, though, is that too much fear or uncontrolled fear leads us to limit ourselves. You’ve heard the saying many times: Don’t let fear stop you from doing the things you want or need to do. For those facing addiction, the biggest obstacle is being afraid to enter rehabilitation and being afraid to be sober.

It’s Time to Talk About Your Worries

Now, before you enter drug and alcohol treatment, you worry about what rehab will be like. When you make the decision to get help, you’ll find fear of living life sober creep into your day. Later, you’ll see fear creep into your daily life through the recovery process. It will be present, but you can learn to deal with it, overcome it, and never let it stop you. The key here is not just to know that fear is common, but to know what to look for so you can take steps to avoid a relapse spurred by fear.

A Series to Help You Break Through Those Fears

Fear in recovery isn’t something you can avoid, but it is something you can overcome and work through every day in your journey towards recovery. No matter who you are or what your biggest worries are, you can learn to recognize, seek help, and get through the obstacle of fear.
In this series, we’ll talk about not just what fear is, but also how to overcome each type. Over the next few weeks, we’ll touch on some of the most profound causes of fear in people facing addiction. We’ll also provide specific steps to take when your heart starts racing and your mind starts wandering.

We’ll discuss what you’ll face on your path towards recovery including:

  • The fear of being sober, which ultimately means you’ll need to find a way to put your usual coping mechanism aside to achieve and maintain sobriety.
  • The fear of failure and how to realize you have what it takes to get back up if you do fall down.
  • The fear of succeeding, which may not seem like a challenge but can lead to relapse. We’ll talk about how to succeed long term.
  • The fear of rejection and facing the people who may have judged you (and may still be doing so) and how to move your life past that.
  • The terrifying fear that you will always be suffering; this is a common fear but one you can overcome.
  • And, for many people, the fear of becoming a brand new person. We’ll address this fear, too. Who you were is no longer who you will be.

Take the time to work with us over the next few weeks. The Ranch at Dove Tree offers the resources you need no matter what your current fears and concerns are. You’re ready to take that step towards recovery.

the ranch at dove tree - drug and alcohol treatment center in lubbock, texas

To learn more about our programs at Ranch at Dove Tree, please contact us today at 800.218.6727.

Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Fear of Recovery. Psychology Today.
Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders.
Scary Science: How Your Body Responds to Fear. Live Science.