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Turnbridge operates leading mental health and substance abuse treatment programs throughout Connecticut. This blog is a resource for people seeking addiction and mental health recovery information and inspiration, and the latest Turnbridge news and events.

Fear of the Unknown: Identifying Fears in Addiction Recovery

ducharme clinician's corner

Fear of the Unknown

By Katherine Ducharme, LMSW



The things you think

You cannot do.

-Eleanor Roosevelt


Recovery is not just about abstinence from drugs and/or alcohol – that’s only the beginning.

The process can feel as though one is on an emotional rollercoaster. One day you could be feeling relief, excitement, and hope while the next day experiencing doubt, denial and fear. It is an ongoing journey of growth, patience and acceptance. It requires adapting to new and healthy experiences, while learning new ways to cope without the use of substances. Addictions allow one to hide behind feelings and emotions and therefore, behind their fears.


Identifying fears in recovery is an important and often necessary step clients must take if they want to live a healthy, rewarding, and productive life. The first step in this process is the willingness to face and acknowledge these fears. The following are some common fears in recovery:

  1. Fear of Sobriety
  2. Fear of Failure
  3. Fear of Success
  4. Fear of Rejection
  5. Fear of Losing your Identity
  6. Fear of Perceptual Misery


Recently I ran a group for our Phase II clients and experienced each group member actively participating while being honest and open with one another regarding their fears. Something changed within that group and in the way everyone related to one another. Those struggling with anxiety or participation appeared more relaxed, and I saw each member laughing and enjoying making these connections and perhaps letting go of something that had held onto for so long.


Group therapy for addiction can be very beneficial when discussing this subject. It allows clients to begin thinking about what holds them back in recovery and identifies a focus to work on. This also means allowing oneself to be vulnerable and honest, which is difficult when you have struggled with this. It requires the ability to take a look at yourself and for many this may be the first time.