There are a couple of things a former addict like me will generally have a difficult time overcoming: self loathing and a crippling sentiment of anguish. Itís no secret that the life you spent in the clutches of alcohol is not exactly one to be proud of, but these lingering feelings should not be allowed to haunt you for the rest of your days.
I for one was deathly afraid that I would not be able to find the strength to remain clean for long. I was also scared that sobriety implies renouncing a substantial part of my world, including drinking buddies, parties, bonding trips with my colleagues, and so on and so forth. At the same time, this overpowering fright made me feel disgusted with myself, which, as it turns out, is a vicious circle thatís not easy to escape. The bad part is that without learning how to let go, you wonít be able to progress and rebuilt a sturdy foundation for the rest of your life.
You Have Several Coping Methods at Your Disposal
After admitting that panic attacks and general anxiety were getting the best of me, I went into therapy. My first sigh of relief was when I learned that these negative emotions were quite frequent and even better, they can be countered and dismissed in time.
According to my therapist, an addictís life revolves so much around alcohol and a mixture between inappropriate behaviors and blurs that itís quite difficult to find parts of your former life that you can be proud of. In addition, the low self-esteem that develops alongside the addiction, the suppressed anger and frustration, the shame and guilt that can only be drowned in alcohol are just now coming around to bite you in the ass. The key is to analyze them, admit to them, and eventually accept them. Thereís no workaround.
The Clean Slate
One of the methods of coping with self-disgust and fear consists of turning a new leaf or, if you will, starting with a clean slate. What this means is that you accept the fact that irrespective of your past, you are determined to change and become a better person. Naturally, you can’t magically wipe all the unpleasant events from your memory; you can, however, make amends for them and prevent your old behavior from interfering with your current persona. Thatís what getting a fresh start is all about.
Uprooting the Source of Negative Emotions
While my therapy was based on the cognitive behavioral philosophy (altering my reaction to stimuli, emotions, situations, etc. rather than the cause of the problem), I learned that another approach involved dealing with the suppressed emotions that generated the reaction. In this particular case, it would mean discovering the real reasons why you resent yourself and what exactly triggers the fear and panic episodes.
Setting Tangible Goals For Yourself
Fear tends to become overpowering when the goals you set for the next period of your life are ambiguous or difficult to achieve. Even if you prefer to dream large, try splitting the goals into smaller, achievable ones in order to determine if youíre making progress. With each one you down, the fear of the unknown will subside a little and with it, the self-loathing.