I heard someone new in their recovery say, “I feel scared and alone when I’m sober.” I so get this. Fortunately, there are solutions to feeling scared in recovery. My drug of choice (DOC) was my best friend and confidante in active addiction. Until it wasn’t, of course. In early recovery, I was stripped bare of my DOC’s mind-body-spirit numbing effects. My obsession continuously drove me to look anywhere except deep into the core of the pain underneath it all. The craving and aversion energy of addiction was a constant companion. I, too, felt scared and lonely in my sobriety.
Finding courage while feeling scared and alone
In recovery, I somehow found the courage to cast my best friend to the side. Yet it arose again and again from my unconscious mind, and it wanted my attention. It tried to steal my attention away from everything but itself. So, it dogged me. I had to find some leverage in my recovery to hold this unrelenting voice at bay. Why? Because I felt scared and lonely when I was sober. Addiction is a liar. It told me I was alone without it. But it was not true. It just seemed that way.
I was so grateful that I had a yoga practice and a Qi Gong practice to help me find safety in my body once again. I suffered from physical and emotional chronic pain for decades. I felt so uncomfortable in my body, and that scared me. I was afraid of feeling my emotions and fearful of the body’s sensations. Yoga and Qi Gong both served to help me find embodiment and begin to find a sense of safety in the body.
Here are some solutions to finding leverage over feeling scared and alone in recovery:
- Our commitment to our healing needs to be stronger than our addiction is. We do this with the help of a Higher Power of our understanding
- going to meetings to find a supportive and understanding community
- get a sponsor and connect with him/her regularly
- work with a therapist or counselor
- go outside into nature
- do some focused physical movement like yoga or Qi Gong, and we
- develop a consistent meditation practice.
- connect with your Self
- journal your experience
- take a nap
- be of service to others
- Call the Veteran’s hotline 1-800-273-8255, press 1
- Call the Suicide Prevention hotline
- Realize – you are not your thoughts; you are experiencing them, but they are not your identity
- Watch recovery videos
- Listen to recovery podcasts
- Hire a recovery coach
Bringing it all together
Together these elements constitute a powerful force in the recovery journey. They will help you to find grounding and steadiness, even in the headwinds of life when they arise.
When I feel scared and lonely when I am sober, I call someone in recovery – my sponsor or a recovery friend. And as I am punching in the number, I send the prayer, “Help!” up to my Higher Power. Then I get myself to the next meeting I can find.
What do you do when you feel scared and lonely in your recovery? Share your list in the comments below.