8 Fears people have that create barriers to recovery from addiction

8 Fears people have that create barriers to recovery from addiction

When we struggle with an addiction our minds are constantly filled with fear and anxiety.  

There are many fears that can become overwhelming as the many problems created by the addictive behaviour mount.  

These fears become magnified by the substance due to the effect they produce. 

When the substance is consumed it provides a comforting or false sense of coping. 

But as the effects of the substance wears off the anxieties are increased tenfold which can create symptoms of depression and this fuels a more negative outlook. 

The result of this is that when the individual is not intoxicated, they suffer with very deep feelings of excessive worry and anxiety. 

This is not all though; stress levels also increase and a sense of panic can incur. 

Placing the addict into a constant state of fear. 

It stands to reason then that many people who are struggling with an alcohol use disorder will be tormented regarding fears about going into recovery. 

This can create a huge barrier that stops people from getting the help and support they so desperately need. 

Forcing the cycle of the habit. 

the fear of recovery

There are some specific fears that someone you may know may be experiencing regarding the recovery journey: 

  • Fear of the withdrawal and detoxification. 
  • Fear of living without their usual form of self-medication or coping mechanism. 
  • Fear of the unknown (Living a sober life can be difficult to even imagine for many). 
  • Fear that life in recovery will be difficult due to the problems they have formed through active addiction. 
  • Fear of failure. 
  • Fear of judgements. 
  • Fear of people finding out about their alcohol problem. 
  • Fear of taking responsibility and being accountable for their past actions. 

This is why it is important that if we want to help a loved one into recovery, we take the time to let the addicted person know that talking to you is a safe space by showing understanding. 

One of the things I feared regarding reaching for help was being shrugged off, judged and not heard. 

Had someone come to me who had an understanding of how I was feeling inside I may have opened up sooner and got the help and support that I needed. 

By letting someone know that you understand and are willing to hear out their fears you can make a huge difference in breaking down those barriers. 

fearing recovery

One important point to note! 

Showing understanding and acting as though you know what the addict is going through are two completely different things.  

People who are struggling with active addiction can often become offended when someone who has not been in their position begins to talk as if they have. 

What's important here is a listening ear, without judgement and working with them to find a possible solution to help. 

While showing understanding about their fears without pretending you have stood in their shoes. 

We want to be able to begin the conversation without getting on our high horse. 

So instead of: 

I know how you feel 


I have been reading up on addiction as I am trying to understand what you're going through. I would really like to hear what's on your mind and how you're feeling. 

Do so in a calm way as its important you let them know you have an open mind; this is a place of non judgement and you are trying to understand so that you can help them. 

If they are not ready to talk about going into recovery don’t get pushy, allow them to come to you when they are ready. 

The fear of recovery is very real for many people who are struggling, if we want to see our loved one progress, we need to understand this and from that point it can be possible to open the doorway to productive discussion. 

Which will be a huge step forward.