Whether you are an alcoholic or alcohol-dependent and thinking about getting clean and sober, you are bound to worry about what that kind of life would be like without alcohol. There are many common fears about sobriety that you should put to rest once and for all. Here are some of the most common fears about sobriety and how you can overcome them.
“I Will Not Be Able to Have Fun Anymore”
You may think that you will no longer be able to have fun without alcohol. However, real fun does not involve drinking or doing extremely dangerous and potentially hurtful things when you are under the influence of alcohol. With your new sober life, you should find new friends who do not drink or do drugs. This will allow you to join groups where you can participate in activities you always wanted to do, but could not due to your addiction. Here are some examples of hobbies to try when enjoying your new sober lifestyle:
- Playing music
- Going to the beach
- Movies and concerts
Another benefit of doing these activities sober is that now they will be much more enjoyable. The experience will be much more vivid, and you will be able to remember them more fully. What you once thought of as fun will pale in comparison to a life rich in reality, one that is completely drug and alcohol-free.
“No One Will Want to Be With Me”
As an addict, you probably worry that once you are clean and sober, you will not have any friends. You might also think that the people you meet will not want to be around you because you do not engage in the same activities they do. This is untrue. This fear is rooted in the insecurity and feelings of worthlessness that addiction causes an individual. Part of the treatment you will receive will be to help you discover what is good and loveable about yourself.
Sobriety will build your self-esteem, confidence, and communication skills. You will start to feel better about yourself, which will lead you to be more comfortable in engaging in conversation with others. The new you, clean and sober, will have so much more to offer that you will be amazed at the quality of friendships you will attract.
“I Will Not Be Able to Talk to People”
Most alcoholics do feel like they have a silver tongue, and many do. Many drinkers seem like they are the life of the party because they are able to tell jokes and stories. However, this all ends when they become so intoxicated that they are unable to interact with people appropriately. They may start falling down, slurring their words, or nodding off. Then, their antics become comic or tragic. Additionally, the intoxicated individual rarely remembers what they did, or what they will remember is untrue.
If you fear that you will not be able to talk to people when you are sober, remember the consequences of drinking too much. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, but it also makes you say things and do things you may regret. This is hardly a trait others admire. Concentrate on learning new coping and communication skills. You will do just fine in recovery.
“I Am Afraid of What it Will Be Like to be Sober”
If this is one of your common fears about sobriety, it has probably been a long time since you have been free of alcohol and/or drugs. Chronic drug or alcohol dependence clouds your mind and robs you of memory. You may also have difficulty making plans or learning new things. Therefore, it is no surprise that you would fear what you cannot imagine.
Learning to live in a drug and alcohol-free manner involves making a genuine commitment to a new and permanent lifestyle. This is scary to a lot of people and deters many from seeking or completing treatment. However, you should not hide behind this excuse. You can do live a life without drugs or alcohol, and you owe it to yourself to try. For the time being, try to envision a life full of promise, where there are no limits to what you can achieve. Then, enter into treatment.
“I Am Afraid I Cannot Make it Through Stressful Days Without Drinking”
You may have been using alcohol as a crutch to dull whatever might bother you. What began as a drink here or there after work soon wound up being much more than that, to the point where you could not wait to get home and get drunk. Maybe you even tossed back a few at work, in the car on the way home, or in the morning to get you going.
What you may not realize is that the more you drink, the more stressful things become. Life does not disappear while you drink. Life goes on as before—just as stressful and just as hectic. But when you are in treatment, you learn how to deal with stress so that it does not build up and immobilize you. New coping skills and behavior modifications will enable you to tackle whatever life throws your way. Additionally, you will always have the support of your group and allies to help talk you through any crises that arise. There is hope for coping with life’s stresses without drinking if you commit to it.
“I Cannot Handle Responsibility”
Another common fear of sobriety is that you cannot handle responsibility. It may have been easier not to deal with anything substantial while you were drinking. These responsibilities could include:
- Paying bills
- Being a good husband/wife/parent/sibling/friend
- Taking care of your duties at work
- Driving responsibly
If you do not think you can handle responsibility, you may have used drinking as an excuse. Try to remember back before you drank. You were not always irresponsible. As human beings, we all have the capability to handle responsibility. It is part of the natural instinct to survive. While you are in treatment, you will learn about accepting responsibility, and you will learn ways to ensure that you follow through on your commitments.
“I Will Lose My Friends”
It is true that you may lose your old drinking and drug-using buddies. However, you should embrace this as a positive sign that you are on the right track. Being clean and sober means that you will avoid the temptations that come with certain people, places, and things. You cannot afford to be around them any longer. After you have been through treatment and are in recovery, you may realize that they were not really your friends anyway. True friends do not enable each other to poison their existence in an endless cycle of drinking and drugs. You will be making new friends in treatment and recovery, as well as through your support group meetings and new activities you will now start to enjoy.
“It Will Be Too Much for Me”
You will be surprised at how much courage you have inside you. What you need to do is give yourself a chance. The first step is to admit you have a problem with alcohol or drugs and then genuinely commit to seeking treatment. Do not worry about how much bravery you need. We all have sufficient bravery in our DNA to handle such a challenge. But many of us use the excuse that we are cowards just so we can keep on using. If you truly want to live a clean and sober life, you are already ahead of the game. Intention and commitment are crucial to having a successful recovery.
In treatment, you will have individual and group counseling and learn that you are not alone in your struggle. There are other people just like you that are meeting their fears head-on and are coming out on the other side with a bright and limitless future.
“I Am Afraid I will Actually Feel Something”
You should embrace the possibility of again being able to feel strong emotions like love, joy, pride in yourself, hope for the future, and belief in your inner goodness. It has probably been such a long time since you did that you are afraid you are not capable of it. However, this is just not true. In fact, one of the many benefits of being clean and sober in recovery is that you are able to both feel and express your emotions.
“I Will Be Bored”
You probably abuse substances now because you are bored. This is an untrue common fear about sobriety. When you are in recovery, you will be clear-headed enough to do the kinds of things you have always wanted to, whether that is learning a new sport, making new friends, falling in love, getting a new job, studying for a degree, or pursuing any other new and exciting dream.
“I Am Afraid I Will Lose My Courage”
This is one of the most common fears of sobriety. It is natural to wonder whether you will be able to complete treatment, especially if you do not have any idea what it entails. The best solution is to find out more about the kinds of treatment available to you and choose the one that best suits your needs. Research drug and alcohol treatment centers in your area and be sure to ask questions so you will be able to find a treatment center that meets your needs.
“I Am Afraid I Will Not Be Able to Sleep”
Some people use alcohol or drugs to help them sleep. For others, it keeps them up at night. Part of alcohol and drug withdrawal does involve insomnia, but this is temporary. During treatment, you will be working on achieving balance in your physical and mental well-being through nutrition, exercise, counseling, and activities. Your treatment center will address your ability to sleep through the night along with your other fears, cravings, and physical or psychological symptoms.
“I Will No Longer Be Sexy”
Sexiness really has nothing to do with drinking or doing drugs. You only fear that you will lose your sex appeal because you think that you will become inhibited and closed-off if you do not drink or do drugs. Again, this is a total falsehood. Real sexiness comes from within, from who we are and how we display our real selves to others. You should look forward to discovering the real you that you have buried deep inside. The only way to truly do that is by going through treatment and becoming clean and sober.
“I Do Not Want to Feel the Pain”
The professional staff at your rehab center will minimize whatever pain you may feel during detox or the cravings you will experience during treatment. Some pain in the process will be necessary in order to overcome and understand the reason for your addiction. You cannot get better if you do not recognize and learn to overcome the reasons that have kept you from being the self-actualized person you are meant to be.
When you are sober, the colors will be brighter, the sounds will be more intense, and the presence of other human beings will be more apparent. All of these are good things. Do not misinterpret the ability to feel for pain. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that whatever pain you will feel in treatment is only temporary. You will learn how to deal with painful situations as part of your overall treatment so that pain will not be a scary thing in the future.
“My Emotions Will Overwhelm Me”
You have probably been closed off for so long that you are understandably afraid to do, to see, to hear, and to fail. You look at treatment as this big, mysterious black hole that you will fall into and never come out of. The reality is far from it. By entering addiction treatment, you are liberating yourself from the shackles of alcohol and drugs. However, this is only possible if you genuinely want to be clean and sober and commit to the process.
During your individual counseling and group sessions, your emotions may feel overwhelming. That is because you may need to cleanse and purge yourself of years of piled-up negative emotions, memories, and past bad behavior. This emotional cleansing is a necessary part of healing, just as detox is a physical elimination of toxic substances. Once you are in treatment, and then in recovery, you will learn how to effectively deal with your emotions, no matter what circumstances arise.