How to Deal with Anxiety in Sobriety
For the person dealing with anxiety, remembering that anxiety is a part of life, it is not bigger than life, comes with its own set of challenges. When you add addiction recovery to the mix, sometimes it can feel like too much is coming at you all at once, or altogether, it’s just too much to deal with. So, oftentimes anxiety is treated in isolation, and sobriety is as well. However, anxiety and alcoholism go hand in hand, as the effects of alcohol can worsen anxiety.
Alcohol is a depressant, so while it seems to provide temporary relief, using it as a coping mechanism will have adverse effects on your anxiety. It is estimated that roughly 20% of people with anxiety also abuse alcohol. So, what for those who have moved on into recovery? What for those who have realized that alcohol is not a genuine quick fix? Here are some methods to help you deal with anxiety in sobriety.
Engage Your Senses
Engaging your 5 senses can help keep you in the moment of where you are and what’s happening, and limit the negative self-talk in your head.
The exercise goes like this:
- First, notice and count out 5 things you can see around you.
- Next, notice 4 things around you that you could touch.
- Third, 3 things you can hear, right now in your surroundings.
- Breathe and observe the subtle and overt aromas in the air. You may also breathe and notice the air itself as you breathe. For example, is the air humid, dry, warm and dry, warm and humid, cold and dry, and more. Try to observe 2 things about the air you are breathing.
- Now, observe 1 thing that you could taste.
Some have noted that by the time they get to the third step, they feel relief in their anxiety.
This method is simple but effective. It’s called meditation. Do you feel that you’ve had failed attempts at meditation before? If so, before you tune me out, listen. The best thing about this method is it doesn’t have to be perfect and can even be done on the go. If you find yourself breaking focus during meditation and your mind starts to wander, just gently guide yourself back and remember that this is a natural part of meditation that even the experts experience.
The goal is not to be able to just focus intently with your mind not wandering at all. The beauty of meditation is that even as your mind wanders and you practice guiding it back, you are still successfully meditating. Through the noise in the background and all, you are still successfully meditating in all the imperfections of places you may find yourself. Even if it’s only done for a minute or two; or you do something as simple as just focusing on your breathing during that time. At that moment, you are one step closer to relaxation and one step further away from anxiety.
Choose You, Through the Fear
In ancient times, our fear was there as a survival mechanism. For example, it is normal to have a healthy fear or respect of a lion or bear. Observing the limitations of this fear could save your life! So, there’s a major difference in having a real fear that could save your life or having a fear that is truly keeping you from living. If your fear is keeping you from living your most whole, fulfilled, and expressive life, it’s time to put that thought process in perspective.
The journey through anxiety and sobriety can often feel lonely, and like you are just observing life rather than living it. If this is you, choose yourself and take small steps towards the things that make you feel more fulfilled in life, even if it’s just being in nature, a walk on the beach, or watching the sunrise or set.
If you are in the Palmdale, Lancaster, or Santa Clarita, CA, area and dealing with anxiety and struggling with sobriety, reach out to Lake Hughes Recovery, where we provide complete solutions in men’s recovery. Contact us today.