Skip to content

Common Fears in Recovery

image of the word fear being erased with a pencil

Everyone has fears, but for many in recovery, these fears can hold back progress and cause a lot of worries. When you were using, you probably were able to suppress some of your anxiety. As a person in recovery, however, fears will crop up now and then. Some types of fear are healthy and can be motivated to make a change. For example, if you’re afraid your temper will make you lose a relationship, you might decide to go to anger management classes and learn new coping skills.

Other fears can make you stagnant, however. Some people fear change, for example. They’ll do anything to keep from changing, even when changing would benefit them.

Anyone can change, however, and anyone can learn how to cope with their fears.

Many of these fears are ones that are experienced regularly – and you’ll want to learn how to cope with them. Luckily, as time goes on, you’ll learn to be less frozen by fear and begin to walk through your concerns.


What are some of the most common fears in recovery?


  1. Getting sober: A lot of people fear the “unknown” when it comes to sobriety. Will you be able to cope? Make friends? Will you be bored in recovery? Change is scary, and that’s true for almost everyone. Don’t let these fears get in the way of seeking help. These questions will be answered in time, once you get sober. You’ll probably find that the answers are pleasing.
  2. Fear of failure (or success): A lot of people fear failure because they are worried about what people think. At the same time, others fear success because they’re not sure what it will bring or if it will be satisfying to them. Addiction is a disease. There is no failure or success for the person suffering from it. If you can’t get clean, it’s not that you failed. It’s that you’re sick and the treatment hasn’t “taken” yet. Keep getting help for your illness, just like you would for any other serious disease.
  3. The future: A lot of people fear what tomorrow will bring. Will you be able to live a life free of drugs? Find a job? Live happily? The future can seem like a vague and frighteningly blank canvas. Take life a day at a time while you’re getting sober. Making goals can help with this fear, but your primary goal is to get and stay clean.
  4. Fear of feeling: Emotions can be scary, and when you’ve been using for a while, you may be used to the sense of “numbness.” Getting clean and learning to cope with emotions -not only fear- can be difficult. Being afraid of how you’ll feel is natural. You can’t control your feelings, but you can control how you react to them. When you’re feeling something that scares you, pick up the phone or go to a meeting. Other people can share their experience with coping.
  5. Fear of rejection: What if you change so much that people don’t accept you anymore? Fear of rejection is something everyone has faced. You’re not getting clean and sober for anyone but yourself. People in 12-step meetings are there to help you grow and will lend their support if you need it. All are welcome there! If you face other rejection, your time in treatment will help you learn how to cope with it.


These are just a few of the fears many people face in early recovery. You may have others that crop up along the way. Fear is a universal emotion that you will learn to cope with after you have walked through it a few times. Don’t hesitate to share your worries with others – they, too, have had to face many of them. Although it’s not a “fun” emotion, it is a normal one. If you let it control you, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on a lot of good things in life.


How Sober Living Can Help

In recovery, it’s often said to take things “one day at a time.” This is an excellent mantra to live by, especially when you feel overwhelmed by various emotions. Things will get better, and this too shall pass. A supportive environment can help make things more comfortable when you've started your journey.

Living in a community of supportive peers can help make your recovery journey easier. By the Sea Recovery in San Diego sets the tone for the top recovery houses, offering help with aftercare and day-to-day living in a group setting. Please give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options. All calls are 100% confidential, and we are happy to answer your questions.

Inner Page Form 2