Do you ever have butterflies in your stomach or feel your pulse quicken when you think of something you’re scared to do? Many people in recovery experience anxiety in recovery, but it may be difficult for you to deal with in your first few years. Let’s take a look at what anxiety is and how you can cope with it in a healthy way.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion that’s perfectly normal, even for people who don’t have a substance use disorder. When you’re feeling afraid of an event or situation, it causes your body to flood with adrenaline. You may shake, feel your face flushing or your stomach tighten, or even feel like you’re breathing too fast or can’t breath enough air. (This last symptom is considered to be an anxiety attack.)
Anxiety is the body’s reaction to what it deciphers as immenent danger. The way the body responds to the fear of this danger is to initiate what is called a “fight of flight” response. This response dates back to our ancestors, who often had to make split-second decisions to survive the many dangers of the world. The body gave them two decisions; fight or flight. This adrenaline rush helped them when they decided between these two things.
Today, your body may activate the fight or flight response even if there isn’t imminen danger. Your mind may then feel like the danger is greater than it is, which can cause a lot of fear even if you’re not in any physical danger.
A lot of people find that their anxiety is less when they share it with others, such as a therapist, sponsor or good friend. If you’re having anxiety attacks, you may want to seek professional help to get your anxiety under control. When anxiety causes you to miss out on things in life, it’s time to get help to get it under control.
Anxiety that doesn’t cause panic attacks can be managed more easily. You may want to role-play situations that make you anxious with a trusted friend or therapist. When you feel anxious, a brisk walk or a long bath may calm your nerves. Getting regular exercise and going to 12-step meetings can help you, too. Find something you love to do and do it when you’re feeling stressed. Often, self-care can be the answer to feeling anxious.
Self-care such as meditation, journaling, exercise or just reading a book can help you stay calm in your daily life. Remember that if you’re anxious, this too shall pass. Using self-care to help this feeling pass more quickly.
Sober Living Can help
A lot of people in sobriety have fears about returning to the “real world” after treatment. Living with other people who have the same goals can help quell your anxiety and gain confidence when you’re new to recovery. Learn more about your sober living options and how we can help by calling us at 760-216-2077.