Anxiety is a natural human emotion we all experience that is generated around fear of harm or loss. Like most emotions, anxiety is not all bad if used appropriately, as it can keep us focused, push us to stop procrastinating and even protect us. However, when we are ill-prepared to deal with anxiety, unwanted behaviors and thinking can return to our lives.
As addicts, our minds are very good at taking normal life situations, such as problems with relationships, finances, housing, or even shame and embarrassment, and turning them into crippling events that leave us in a panic. When this occurs, we gain an apprehension about the future, which causes us to engage in impulsive behavior. The longer this apprehension lingers, the further we get from being who we want to be. To mitigate this behavior change, we must question our anxiety-influenced thinking by asking, "what evidence do I have to support these beliefs and behaviors?” Anxiety that is evidence-based always has an identifiable source. By identifying the source of our anxiety, we have taken the first step in finding a solution. With purposeful action and persistence, we can strategically address the root issues that have created our anxiety. The danger comes when our anxiety is generated by perceived threats or made-up stuff that isn't reality-based. When fiction is driving our thoughts, we have given our addiction free rein inside our heads. That is, we allow our negative thinking to build upon itself until we are in a hopeless state of panic or depression. In this state, shame returns, and our self-worth vanishes, leaving us with little hope for what lies ahead. With no hope, it is easy for us to abandon our principles and begin rationalizing why anything that brings comfort is a good idea. However, regardless of what level our anxiety is at, it is solvable. Anxiety is a secondary emotion that often can be tempered with exercise, meditation, meetings, and/or activities like journaling. If we have let our anxiety build into something unmanageable, solutions are still available as long as we choose to confront it honestly. Reaching out to our supports, therapist, doctor, or attending group counseling can be valuable tools when anxiety has gained control over us. The fact is, a life based on the principles of recovery is designed to limit anxiety, and when it does appear, to use it as a motivator for advancement. Be proactive in managing anxiety:
Practice mindfulness through meditation, prayer, journaling, or similar, and be honest with yourself and others.
Be disciplined with your sleep patterns – 7 to 8-hours per night with the intent to be in bed around the same time every day.
Drink at least 100 ounces of water per day while limiting caffeine and sugar, especially after 2 pm.
Eat three meals per day, ensuring your body receives the protein it needs.
Exercise in some capacity four or more times per week.
Attend recovery meetings, visit with your therapist or participate in group counseling, if needed. And,
Choose to accept life on life’s terms.
When our anxiety gets out of control, it will not magically go away. Our job is to address the anxiety we have in a healthy manner. If we don't, it will simply continue to expand its presence in our mind and body.
ABOUT CHOICE RECOVERY
Choice Recovery is an outpatient addiction treatment center in Mesa, Arizona. We offer morning, evening, and weekend intensive outpatient treatment designed to help those looking to overcome alcohol and drug addiction. Our evidence-based program motivates individuals to find purpose and passion in all that they do. A life in recovery is full of opportunity and Choice is here to help those willing to put in the work find it.
Choice Recovery accepts AHCCCS insurance as well as private insurance. We offer a stepdown level of care focused on building a well-rounded foundation of recovery. Every individual enrolled in our program is offered coaching services and one on one counseling. For more information please email us at email@example.com or call us at 480-527-0337.