5 Fears About Sobriety Dispelled
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” – HP Lovecraft
Metathesiophobia: It’s the fear of change. Many people have a fear of change and it can, many times, prevent them from doing things, striving to better themselves, and achieving in life. But often, fear of change boils down to a fear of the unknown. Many people avoiding the choice of sobriety are, partially at least, obstructed by the fear of change to the unknown.
So, we’re shedding light on 4 common fears associated with sober living and exposing them, in fact, as misconceptions:
- I Don’t Have the Discipline or Willpower
This is a common obstacle that stops people from achieving not just sobriety but many things in life. Many experts suggest a way to overcome this fear is to think of the worst-case scenario if you don’t try vs the worst-case scenario if you do try. In this case, if you don’t try the worst-case may be that you end up devolving into your addiction, potentially leading to catastrophic illness or death (for you or someone else). The worst-case scenario, if you do try, is that you fail or relapse, essentially leaving you in the same place you are now.
Others advise that it’s not really about willpower. It’s about choice. There are many who will tell you that if it were about having discipline or willpower, they wouldn’t be sober today. Instead, they espouse that it is a conscious choice to reframe your relationship with your addiction, seeking out and obtaining the knowledge, tools, and support systems you need to act on your decision.
- I Won’t be Able to Cope With…
Fill in the blank. Pain. Stress. Anger. Rejection. Loss. In many cases, addiction to drugs or alcohol takes hold because of one or all of these underlying issues. You may have been using as a crutch, “self-medicating” to numb whatever might bother you. For many addicts, this will be one of the most vivid fears of getting sober. However, nothing much changes while you are using. The stressful and hectic parts of life don’t go away. But part of getting sober is learning how to deal with these stressors so they don’t pile up and immobilize you. You will learn coping skills and behavior modifications that will enable you to cope with whatever life throws your way. Learning the healthy coping skills to deal with the pain and struggle that life sometimes presents is key to not only getting sober but to maintaining a healthy and sober lifestyle.
- My Friends Won’t Want to Hang With Me Anymore
You may worry that once you’re clean and sober you won’t have any friends or that people will decide they don’t want to be around you because you no longer engage in the same activities they do. You will not lose your real friends. You will, however, most definitely lose people that were in your life because of things or behaviors related to your addition. That’s a good thing. Some, however, may just need an adjustment period to get used to the new you. Likewise, you may need a break from some of them in order for you to adjust – to them and to your new sober lifestyle. The new you, clean and sober, will have so much more to offer that you will be amazed at how it will inject new depth into existing relationships and the quality of new friendships you will attract.
- I’ll be Boring or “I Won’t Be Able to Talk to People
Drugs and alcohol remove inhibitions. Really, that’s just removing your filters and you act without thinking it over enough. Most addicts feel like they are more social or have a silver tongue when they’re using or drinking. And, sure, there are times when you’re the life of the party, regaling everyone with jokes and stories or dancing the night away – until you get to the point that you’re falling down, slurring your speech, getting confrontational, or nodding off. Or maybe you don’t ever get that bad, but if you’re damaging your health so that you have the “courage” to be social, how social are you going to be from that hospital bed or grave? The truth is: once you’re sober, you’ll lose the artificial highs and lows and people will enjoy being around the “even,” “stable,” “consistent” version of you.
Certainly, this is not an exhaustive list. But hopefully, it’s enough that you can see the pattern. The fears can be dispelled and while they may be real fears, none of them are valid enough to prevent you from making the choice you need to make. If you or a loved one are suffering from substance abuse or addiction and have other fears or uncertainties about what a sober lifestyle has in store, it’s important to seek the help of professionals or people who have tackled these issues and talk it through. You’ll find the pattern will hold for any fear or concern you may have.