Anxiety can be a reaction to stress that is a challenge to cope with in early recovery. While it’s a normal emotion that almost all human beings experiences, the unique challenges it poses for people who are new to recovery must be addressed.
If you’re new to recovery, you may experience anxiety more frequently. After all, a lot has changed in your life, and you’re probably experiencing some aspects of life like it’s the first time. For many people, the resulting anxiety can be caused by fear of the unknown.
Why Do People Experience Anxiety?
Stress is nothing new for most of us. But for people in recovery, especially newbies, the reaction to stress is often a craving for drugs or alcohol. The brain that’s addicted changed while you were using, wiring it to make you very sensitive to stressors of any kind. So when you experience fear, stress, or negative emotions, your reactions might go into overdrive.
Every time you used your drug of choice, your brain flooded with a feel-good chemical called dopamine. Now that this chemical process has been removed from your body, it will crave it when anxiety is triggered.
Anxiety is a natural emotion that can be triggered whenever there is stress or fear. Learning to live with it and find new coping mechanisms is vital to your ongoing recovery.
Coping with Anxiety
Anxiety often starts with physical symptoms such as facial flushing, a knot in the stomach, shaking or adrenaline. These symptoms are called the “fight or flight” response. This response once told our ancestors they were in danger and had to make a life or death decision.
When you recognize the symptoms of anxiety, there are many ways you can react to it. Can you sit down and journal? Go for a walk? Call your sponsor or a trusted friend? Maybe you can go to a meeting and share it.
If you regularly experience anxiety, seeking help from a professional to help you work through it is always an option. Professional help is especially helpful if you have anxiety attacks or can’t sleep because of worrying.
Finally, learning mindfulness and meditation can help you cope with anxiety on an everyday basis. There are many websites, such as Youtube, that can help you learn these valuable tools at your convenience.
Do you or somebody you love have a problem with drugs or alcohol? At Orange County Recovery, our clinical support team can help you learn to live clean and sober, in a beautiful and caring setting, one day at a time. Give us a call at 1-866-227-1437 to learn more about your options. Give yourself a chance for a new way of life.