Coming to recovery, we have a fair few ducks to align before we can feel that we are doing well: we need to detox, we need to complete a treatment program, we need to find a sponsor, go to meetings, and start working the steps. These often feel like loose ends that need to be tied up immediately, and as addicts and alcoholics we like quick results. Many of us worry that we are not doing these things quickly enough, and some of us worry that we may be doing too much too fast. As addicts and alcoholics, excessive worry is part of our nature. But the fact is that worrying can affect our bodies in ways that we may not realize. When worrying becomes excessive, it can lead to feelings of high anxiety and even cause us to become physically ill.
Chronic worrying affects our daily lives so much that it can interfere with our appetites, lifestyle habits, relationships, sleep, and job performances. Many of us who worry excessively are so anxiety-ridden that we the seek relief provided in harmful lifestyle habits such as using alcohol and drugs.
In the midst of our excessive worrying, we may suffer high anxiety—even panic—during waking hours. Many addicts and alcoholics who are also chronic worriers describe a feeling or sense of impending doom or unrealistic fears that only increase their worries. The drugs, in this case, can only exacerbate this high level of anxiety. We addicts and alcoholics are ultra-sensitive to our environments and to the criticism of others—we can see anything and anyone as something to worry about.
Worrying is the emotional state of feeling uneasy or being overly concerned about a great many situations or problems. In our excessive worrying, our minds and bodies go into overdrive as we obsess about “what might transpire.” To this effect, we are making plans for the things we DON’T want to happen, and it’s enough to drive anyone crazy.