Stuck. It happens customarily. Time halts over and this familiar gust of apprehension breezes past. There’s hesitation as you quickly glance around but sadly those innocent orbs in your face can not speak. If they could, what would they say? You begin to ponder that question and lose the translation through a rush of adrenaline. Hot chills wriggle from your core to your lower neck. All voices and thoughts evolve into white noise. Ladies and gentleman, upstairs has now reached its full capacity as the mind and body fall out of sync. The heart starts beating double-time, discomfort is excelling quite well, and the star player is now frozen rigid in resemblance to that of the “Tin Man” without his oil can. It’s all imaginarily intimidating but enough to bring the whole production to a standstill. Then it starts getting louder and preventing all concentration. The unwelcome nervousness starts building up like a fully dysfunctional game of Tetris- stacking squares of anxiety where they don’t belong. Anxious butterflies timidly bounce around your insides. Then time becomes the enemy. You glance at the clock to see how much time has passed because it feels like at least two hours since last checked. Three and a half minutes? Oh….wonderful.
We’ve all had it happen whether it’s walking the dog, shopping for groceries, going to an Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous meeting and everything is fine as we float on our oblivious pink cloud. Then without a trace of warning, our dear friend anxiety sweeps on over filling every nook and cranny within our heads. It can be and usually is at the most inconvenient of times. No one ever prepared us for anxiety in sobriety and for the crippling effects that would be sure to follow. As uncomfortable as this unease gets, rest assured that it is not a death sentence and can be handled if we take care of ourselves properly. Being diagnosed with anxiety may call for appropriate medications pending a licensed doctor’s opinion but general bouts of anxiety in sobriety can be combated or even prevented.
When battling all this built up tenseness, it is of vital importance to keep in mind that a lot of anxiety can be stress related. So taking a look at some of the patterns and things that are routine in your life is of sound advice. It’s wise to look at the things that are bothering you most in life and to come up with a solution of sorts whether you feel anxiety ridden or not. Chances are that there is something weighing us down causing our thoughts to go berserk. Then there are also the little pieces to take care of with our general everyday health. For instance, healthy sleeping and eating patterns are imperative in this aspect. Eating poorly coupled with sleep deprivation will make most people feel a level of discomfort. To top that off, those things both will cause even the most intelligent of men to act irrationally. Our bodies need time to rejuvenate whether we like it or not. Finding a regular routine with food and rest will improve the quality of life dramatically and will be less costly in the stress department. If you’re feeling really frisky, go ahead and throw some exercise into that routine. Releasing the dopamine and raising your heart rate naturally will help you to feel good while also distracting your thoughts from the outside world. For some, it is viewed upon as a form of meditation that soothes the gears spinning wildly inside our thick skulls.
Then there’s the part of anxiety in sobriety that we love to deal with. I’m talking of course about acceptance. Everybody and their mother love to discuss accepting the things we have no control over right? Wrong. Much of the time, our apprehension is irrationally based as we turn the molehills we are creating into mountains. Even in more serious situations we end up blowing things out of proportion as we play out every possible scenario that could happen. Every day we come across different sets of problems and obstacles that we want to change. When things work out the way we want them to, that’s when life is good- or so we think. There’s a reason everything happens the way it does, and it’s because of the bigger picture that we usually fail to see. When we give up our will to a higher power– be it Buddha, God, Satan, or what have you, we are admitting that we don’t know everything or can’t control everything. At some point, it’s 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 and given power to as we worry ourselves into a heart attack over something that we have absolutely no control over.
We have to teach ourselves to take that step back and realize that everything in our lives has a destiny. This is a crucial way of lowering the noise upstairs. If we can learn to stop fighting everything because we don’t agree with it, then this will bring peace into our consciousness. It just takes a bit of practice, but the calming sanity returns once we start putting everything into perspective and realizing there’s a flipside to every coin tossed in the air. Sometimes things really aren’t as bad as we make them up to be between our ears.
Ever been in that space where it’s impossible just to walk out the door because the anxiety is so defying? Please don’t worry any more than you have to because you are not alone. Fighting anxiety in addiction is a team effort and requires a bit of a push and a shove sometimes. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 1-844-244-7837 or visit www.firststepsrecovery.com. We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.