Friday afternoon, everything is going great. The birds are chirping, the sun is out, and you’ll be getting off work in just a little bit. Everything is going so well today, what could ever possibly go wrong? A lot. Suddenly, a hot flash kind of wiggles its way up your body. There’s a little resemblance of irritation but you brush it off, or try to at least. For some reason though your heart had started beating rapidly with it. I mean, were talking double time here. No earthly reason should that have happened. You try to brush that off as well but then the voices come in. “Maybe you’re about to have a heart attack”. “Maybe you shouldn’t drink so much coffee in the mornings”. You ask yourself why you’re this way. Discomfort begins to stir.
All voices then begin evolving into white noise as you find yourself thinking about your health and every decision you’ve ever possibly made leading up to this moment. Your eyes widen as your body freezes up like the tin man from The Wizard of Oz (before he was oiled up). Somebody asks a question only for you to mumble in response, too focused on the unsettling feeling that spawned out of nowhere. You catch Paul yawning across the room glancing for a mere second in you direction, but naturally convince yourself he’s staring at your odd behavior of just sitting there. The voices make themselves clear again. “Everybody is watching you”. “You’re doing everything wrong”. “You’re so weird”.
This. Is. Anxiety. We all have it to a degree, and some worse than others unluckily. The mind never stops working, and in this process it will play mind games with its host from time to time. Many customarily take a pill for this, have a smoke, or do whatever they fancy to handle such discomfort. Then there are those in sobriety who don’t really have the luxury to do whatever they want to deal with it; their options are of course limited. But managing anxiety in recovery is much easier than it seems, and the techniques applied could be used by anybody dealing with such flustering emotions.
Managing Recovery in Anxiety
Again, anxiety sweeps over all of us. In managing anxiety in recovery, know that you are never alone in that battle. We all undergo similar trials and tribulations upstairs. The only place that differs is between being chemically imbalanced or mentally challenged. Some individuals are diagnosed with chronic anxiety and do need pharmaceutical assistance, and there’s nothing wrong about that. However, for the majority of us, it is a passing feeling that never remains in permanence. Nothing is truly permanent except death. We have the power to change any and everything in our lives if we make the decision to do so. So we have the same power to overlook the anxiety, or at the very least not feed the flames of the fire.
As far as managing anxiety in recovery, much of the time, our apprehension is irrationally based as we upturn molehills into mountains. Even in our more serious of moments in life, we end up blowing things out of proportion as we overthink the situation. At some point it becomes a matter of taking a step back and realizing that some of the things we fret over and over about in our heads, well, it’s just that. They’re in our heads. They are figments that we’ve demonized. We’ve given them power and worried ourselves into a heart failure over something that we have absolutely no control over.
That being said, when battling the built up tenseness of anxiety, it is of vital importance to keep in mind that a lot of it is stress related. Most of which are stresses that can be eliminated, and if they can’t, then there’s different ways to go about them to increase normalcy. Taking a look at some of your patterns and/or habits is a good place to start. Maybe there is something in your life that is creating stress and inducing the constant feeling of anxiety you may be experiencing. Much of managing anxiety in recovery can be related to fixing problems such as:
- Lack of Sleep
- Lack of Eating
- Lack of Spirituality
- Lack of Honesty/ Having a Guilty Conscience
- Caring Too Much About What Others Think
Fixing some of these patterns is one things, but a large mass of it falls under plain old cynicism. We are often our own worst enemies(hence having to get sober in the first place), and we convince ourselves things aren’t as they seem. We convince ourselves the world is out to get us, and this and that, and blah blah blah. That’s how the world has been conditioned though. Through television, radio, and media, we are taught to be a specific way all our lives. The second we persuade ourselves our actions weren’t up to par, our whole worlds come crashing down internally. So what?! We are all human beings pretending we know what we’re doing. Nobody has it figured out better than the next, sober or not.
Anxiety Riddled Recovery
So in managing anxiety in recovery, there are all the little pieces to take care of with our general everyday health that induces the nervousness we experience, but there is also the elusiveness of control we have to remind ourselves of. If we can learn to stop fighting everything because we don’t agree with it, then this will bring inner peace that is less likely to provoke anxiety in the first place. It just takes a bit of practice, but the calming sanity can and will return if everything is put into perspective. If you or a loved one i