Fears in Early Recovery

While addiction is scary and an addict or alcoholic lives in constant fears: what if I am caught? How am I going to get my next fix? What’s going to happen to my job, my marriage, my health, my future?

Recovery has its share of fears too, especially the early phase.

He (or she) is told that since he is an addict, he cannot afford to drink or use again. That is scary. He cannot see himself clean and dry forever. That is one reason AA has a slogan – ‘one day at a time’. It is easier to think of sobriety on a daily basis rather than a lifetime of abstinence.

In early recovery, as the addict faces himself and discovers facets of his personality, he is overwhelmed with other fears. His old defense mechanism begins to crumble and he comes face-to-face with himself. He may discover that he is not as ‘successful’ as he imagined himself to be, that he is actually a dishonest person who very few trust, that he is unemployable, that his relationships are far more damaged than he thought… His first fear is ‘what will I think of myself?’

His second fear in early recovery is ‘what will others think of me?’ As he begins to accept the fact that he is an addict with all the attendant damages and defects, he fears what others actually think of him and if he is a changed person will others accept the ‘new me’?

The antidote to fear is faith. A recovering person is urged to develop faith in a ‘higher power’ – be it a sponsor, counselor or ultimately ‘God’. Faith replaces fear and the addict is able to travel with courage on the road to recovery.