DETOX / RESIDENTIAL INPATIENT / AFTERCARE
How To Cope With Anxiety In Recovery
Anxiety is not something that should be dismissed easily. Some people feel anxious when they are outside, socializing, and/or hanging out with a group. Some people are anxious thinking about their future. Different people have different reasons to be anxious. However, for those who are in recovery, anxiety can be overwhelming and unmanageable. The self-control required to say no to alcohol and other substances they were earlier dependent on is enough to induce anxiety. Add days of following a strict schedule and a goal to achieve sobriety, and the anxiety doubles.
So, do you feel even more anxious during recovery? It is normal if you do. This current phase in your life is the most difficult part. You are not supposed to go to that bar you were used to and order anything that contains alcohol. Heck, you cannot even drink while you’re at home. Things that were your “comfort” during the time you felt alone or dejected, are no longer with you. Once you choose the path to sobriety, you will experience the uncomfortable feelings that anxiety brings, though you will not be able to lean on old and harmful coping mechanisms to get through. It is also the same moment when you will realize that alcohol isn’t the solution.
Then, how to tackle anxiety? Here’s how you can cope with it:
Find Coping Mechanisms
What worked for your friend may not work for you. Maybe he is benefiting from writing about anxiety, maybe you can benefit from enjoying healthy distractions such as exercising, reading, music, etc. The point is, you need to find something that works for you. And for that, the type of anxiety you are facing plays a crucial role.
Meditation has the power to change your perspective, health, and personality to an extent you can’t imagine. People don’t fathom that this simple practice can be so effective and useful. However, it works only when you are completely dedicated and focused. The best thing about meditating is that it needs no fancy equipment to start with. All you need is a floor and you’re all set! Sit, close your eyes, concentrate, and channel all your energy and focus to the center of your forehead. You have a smartphone as well? That’s the icing on the cake! Play any soothing music which will help you keep calm and focused. Even a minute of meditation per day can do wonders!
Talk To Someone You Trust
Anxiety and depression are two things that fester and thrive for as long as they are kept in dark. If you try to fake it and pretend that it’s not there, especially during recovery, it will keep increasing until it becomes absolutely uncomfortable for you. So, always reach out to someone who you trust. Friends, family, relatives, colleagues, or anyone you feel good with. Talk about your feelings with them and discuss even the smallest things that you don’t think are worth sharing. Talking about what’s causing anxiety can make it manageable for you and who knows, you might even get some helpful advice!
When in doubt, exercise! This quote is commonly used by gym enthusiasts to ignite the power within, but it is also paving a way for you to deal with your anxiety. If you have observed a gym-goer or basically anyone who exercises, you will notice that although exhausted, they do say that they feel good after a workout session. It is because exercising is refreshing not only for the body but for the mind as well. It is the best distraction you can gift yourself during recovery. Be consistent and keep track of your progress. The moment you see yourself progressing, anxiety can no longer bother you. It is only dedication and passion from there.
If you think yoga is just stretching and chanting mantras, and it is not helpful to cure anxiety, you are highly mistaken. Yoga sure does have many poses, stretching, soothing techniques, and chanting but they are all extremely helpful for a variety of problems. Yoga enables you to move and stretch your body in a way that calms your mind and relieves anxiety. Include yoga in your recovery program, and witness the results yourself.
Dedicated Your Time To Healthy Distractions
People often choose alcohol and drugs as a part of distraction from their anxiety and stress that drowns them straight into addiction. When in recovery, you can make good use of these distractions, minus the alcohol and drugs part. Call them healthy distractions and include things that keep your mind occupied and bring value. Be it cooking, reading, writing, creating art, or even playing music. Anything that can get you through the anxiety is well acceptable. However, ignoring anxiety, for the time being, is also not good. Until and unless you overpower it and take full control so that it doesn’t come back, you will have to keep fighting. Address the issues that are causing anxiety, talk about it, and heal.
Get To Know New Environments
An unfamiliar setting can cause anxiety to shoot up and become worse. If you are in a new place or are planning to visit one, take a moment to have a quick tour of the place, memorizing the entry and exit points. This will help you feel good in case you get an anxiety attack and you feel trapped. Since you know the exit points, it will provide you a sense of security which would be extremely helpful to calm yourself.
All these things work only if you are determined to be sober. Make sure to choose coping mechanisms that do not put you back to your old habits. If talking or hanging out with your friends make you want to drink or consume, find a different way to treat anxiety. Ask your therapist about personalized solutions based on your symptoms and lifestyle. The point is, if something is pushing you to drink/consume again, it is better to leave it and try something else. Ultimately, your goal is to achieve sobriety with no anxiety. Don’t compromise on that.