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How to get over the fear of not getting into addiction again

October 14, 2021
Reviewed by: Lisa Misquith

The first few months of sobriety are the toughest when all kinds of thoughts emerge into the mind. The fear of relapse is real, daunting, and brings every emotion to the surface. Sobriety means letting go of your primary coping mechanism. Do questions such as will I fail ? will life be boring?, Or will people still like me come to mind? You’re not alone.

The risk of relapse never goes away. 50% of addicts relapse, but it doesn’t mean they’ve failed. Failure is when you don’t learn from your mistakes. It is important to understand that. With the help that mental health professionals give, there are underlying reasons that lead to an addiction to alcohol or substances that can be dealt with. It could be comorbidity, stress or any other factors. Facing the fear head-on and coming to terms with your addiction can help prevent relapse.

What works for another person may not work for you. Time spent in a rehab centre doesn’t mean you’re cured or healed. It is a lifelong process that takes a lot of time and willpower which is not at all easy to acquire on your own and it’s best to continue therapy sessions with a mental health professional. It is possible to remain sober your whole life if you yourself put in the effort and make up your mind that you really want to be clean.

Sober Days At Home

There are several things you can and must do to avoid relapse. Some of the  strategies that have a positive impact are:

  • Positive self-talk – Repeating positive self-motivating phrases to yourself at the beginning of your day can help in becoming confident and bring in coping mechanisms to help you manage stressful situations.
  • Practice mindfulness and yoga- Deep breathing and yoga asanas can help you relax your mind, keep you energised and that adrenaline high causes you to feel good and thus can help decrease the urge to drink or use substances.
  • Make lifestyle changes- Changing your old routine as an addict, mingling with a different crowd, working on revisiting your hobbies can help you avoid situations that trigger that could cause you to relapse.
  • Exercise- A good workout is an integral part of the healing process. Exercising helps reduce stress, engages you in an activity that forces you to be put in a lot of effort, and keeps you mentally and physically fit. Exercising will also help reduce withdrawal symptoms because you shift your focus to something that is super beneficial to your health.
  • Learn to let go and cope with your past- Sobriety brings feelings of guilt and shame due to mistakes made in the past. It is a stressor and can cause you to relapse. Talk to your therapist daily and the therapy that you undergo will help you overcome your past and learn to let go.

The Relation Between Addiction And Anxiety

Comorbidity refers to having two or more illnesses simultaneously. Addiction and the onset of an anxiety disorder are most common and are usually undiagnosed. The two illnesses are due to the circumstances the individual places himself in l and are not due to the patient’s lack of willpower. Sometimes, addiction becomes a way to self-medicate due to anxiety.

The symptoms aren’t worrying about your examinations or problems at work for a day or 2. An anxiety disorder is when a worry lasts for weeks, months or years. It becomes a disorder when it begins to hinder your daily life and should be assessed by a psychologist. There are different types of anxiety disorders, such as generalised anxiety disorder(GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD), and social anxiety.

Some of the symptoms are insomnia, difficulty focusing, feeling weak, obsessing over specific ideas, inability to think clearly, catastrophizing and unable to face stressful situations.

How to Manage Your Triggers to Avoid Relapse

You can use several methods to manage temptations and triggers that will help you not stray from the path of sobriety.

  1. Stress is a massive trigger for addiction and addiction relapse- Some examples are conflict with a co-worker and relationship problems. Grief also causes stress which can be due to the loss of a loved one. Stress, according to several studies, is among the biggest causes of addiction. Learning to manage stress with the help of a mental health professional can build you a toolkit of coping techniques that will serve you for your lifetime. Practicing mindfulness and deep breathing also helps to reduce stress.
  2. Getting rid of situations, people or things that cause you triggers are helpful- We have a certain amount of willpower and managing our triggers is undoubtedly the first step to avoid relapse.
  3. Find a support group or a caregiver to help you with sobriety- There’s nothing wrong or embarrassing about asking your loved ones for help. It’s okay to share your fears with them. Support groups also offer much-needed support, especially when it comes from people who have real-life and traumatising experiences.
  4. Finding things to do that calm your mind is necessary- Activities that you enjoy doing keep you active, stress-free, and happy.

How Therapy Can Decrease The Risk and Fear of Relapse

There are several approaches to therapy that work well for addiction, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Family Therapy. Psychotherapy can help you understand why you became addicted to alcohol or substances. Your therapist will also help you understand your moods, feelings and behaviours. It’s especially effective when you’re dealing with comorbidities.

Addiction not only causes you distress but also disturbs your family members. Including your family when you take your therapy sessions can be extremely effective to everyone involved. The therapist can help everyone become more aware of your situation and illness and show your family members ways in which they can help you avoid relapse. It is beneficial for you if your family understands your addiction and together, find ways to help you come out of it.

Worrying about addiction relapse is normal. Discussing your fears and concerns related to relapse can clarify why you became addicted to substance or alcohol, how you can avoid the triggers, cope with anxiety, and maintain a balanced routine with sobriety.


Building self-esteem, learning new things, self-love, and trusting yourself with sobriety is much needed when leading a sober life. It takes a lot of courage and willpower. There’ll be things you’ll have missed out on during years of addiction that you can now focus on doing such as completing your education, going to the gym, repairing a relationship or learning how to paint.

Saying nice things to yourself such as, “I am a good person” might sound silly but is an excellent way to boost your mood. Criticising yourself instead of learning from the mistake will always make you feel less worthy. You must also forgive yourself for your past mistakes to avoid feelings of anguish that could cause relapse. You must learn to let go of the shame and guilt of the past.

It’s called self-love and self-care. Take it slow, one day at a time. Learn to be content with your weaknesses, limitations and be okay with putting your mental health first. Practice spreading kindness by doing 1 good deed a day or week. Self-love is vital to lead a happy, addiction-free and content life.