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Sober Nation

Putting Recovery On The Map

06-04-13 | By

How to Deal with Anxiety in Recovery

Tips on How to Deal with Anxiety in Recovery

There are so many emotions that a person feels when they enter recovery, especially early recovery. A wave of feelings will hit you hard and head-on, because most of those feelings have been hidden away for years during your active addiction. One of the strongest feelings you might experience is anxiety. Feeling anxious is enough to threaten your sobriety, because using drugs or alcohol was your preferred method of dealing with anxiety in the past.

To learn how to deal with anxiety in recovery, you’ll need to use different tools. Self-medicating is no longer an option. Prescription medication might be necessary for severe cases of anxiety, but that is a decision for you to make along with a doctor who is familiar with your history of addiction. Addictive benzodiazepines are often prescribed for anxiety, but there are non-addictive options that you and your doctor can discuss. Once you learn how to deal with anxiety in recovery, you will no longer feel the need to take benzos and other drugs.

Without the use of medication,  it is still possible to manage your anxiety so that you’re able to live a healthy life. Here are some methods that can help you cope whenever you are feeling particularly anxious in recovery. Here are some tips for how to deal with anxiety in recovery.

Ask for Help

Asking for help is one of the most important skills you need to learn in order to stay sober. When things are difficult, you should reach out to trusted members of your support system. Tell your close family members, drug-free friends, and sponsor or other fellowship members about your feelings of anxiety. Sometimes just talking the problem out will help tremendously. It can also be very helpful to get another person’s perspective when you’re having trouble dealing with an issue.

Meditate

You don’t have to go into a deep meditative state to learn how to deal with anxiety in recovery, although you can learn to through practice if you desire. Anyone can meditate when they are anxious simply by sitting still in silence, closing their eyes, and trying to clear their mind. Concentrate on your slow, deep breaths, and be aware of the way your body feels in that moment. Try to let all thoughts of anything else in the past or future leave your mind so that you’re left with only the present. This technique can help when feelings of anxiety begin to take over.

Pray

If you believe in God or a Higher Power, try prayer. Ask God or your Higher Power to help relieve you of your feelings of anxiety, and ask for help in finding the right path to follow to deal with the problems that worry you. Putting your faith in God or your Higher Power and turning your feelings over to Him can help in many situations. This is a very common and useful tip when learning how to deal with anxiety in recovery.

Distract Yourself

Oftentimes, feelings of anxiety are very temporary. Within a short period of time, feelings of anxiety can pass. One way of learning how to deal with anxiety in recovery is to distract yourself from your feelings of anxiety. Have a plan for this, and know what you will do to distract yourself, whether it be engaging in a hobby, reading, or whatever it is that helps you escape in a healthy way. Just because you know how to deal with anxiety in recovery, doesn’t always mean your anxiety will go away. Distracting yourself is a good method until the anxiety passes.

Be Grateful

When you feel anxious, you can also try connecting to your recovery in order to put things in perspective. Take a moment to think about your sober life versus your past life in addiction, and think of all things that you’re grateful for now. Gratitude can help you switch to a positive and hopeful mindset and free yourself from current anxiety. Gratitude is a great tool which you can use to learn how to deal with anxiety in recovery.

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