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Managing Anxiety and Sobriety

February 16, 2021

In many cases, alcohol use and anxiety tend to go together. Since alcohol affects the serotonin levels and other transmitters in your brain, it can cause your anxiety to worsen. Once the alcohol begins to wear off, you may feel even more anxious than usual.

There are many people who have social anxiety and use alcohol to cope. While this may work as a temporary solution since alcohol is a sedative and a depressant, this can lead to alcohol dependence and elevated anxiety.
Based on research done by Healthline, 20% of people who have a social anxiety disorder also suffer from alcohol dependence. There are a variety of ways to manage your anxiety while maintaining your sobriety.

Yoga to Soothe and Heal

Yoga is a very relaxing activity, and many types of yoga also focus on meditation, which is another effective way to relieve anxiety. Yoga works to calm anxiety through stretching, chants, and other relaxing techniques that are included in the practice. Those maintaining their sobriety can even practice Yoga for 12-step Recovery, which incorporates the regular practice of yoga with the 12 steps and recovery ideas.

Grounding Techniques

Grounding exercises are another great way to help those with anxiety find a healthier outlet. The method for those with anxiety is called 5-4-3-2-1. This five-step grounding technique helps to relieve symptoms of anxiety. For this exercise, you want to start by acknowledging five things you can see in the room you are in. You will then want to acknowledge four things that you can touch. List those four things to yourself.

You then want to acknowledge three things you can hear and then acknowledge two things that you can smell. For the final step, acknowledge one thing in the room you can taste. These five steps should help ground and get you into the physical moment and out of your head.

Talk To A Friend

Keeping your anxiety bottled up is the worse thing for an anxiety disorder. When kept in the dark, anxiety will continue to thrive and fester, especially if you are working on your sobriety. It is important to talk to someone about what is making you anxious. This gives a voice to your anxiety and makes it more manageable. You might also get some advice that can help ease your anxiety as well.

Take on a Healthy Hobby

If you’ve used alcohol or drugs over the years, you will have to find new ways to distract yourself and soothe your anxiety. Consider exercising to create healthy endorphins or find a podcast to listen to on a subject matter you enjoy. Other healthy hobbies include writing, creating art, cooking, going to the theater, etc. can help to keep your mind, and your heart occupied until your anxiety passes. Keep in mind that distraction can be healthy, but don’t avoid your anxiety, what is triggering it, and how you can prevent it.


While meditation seems like a simple practice, it can also be transformative. Meditation is great because it does not have to be perfect. You can start anywhere, with whatever you have available to you. You can download a variety of apps on your smartphone that provides guided meditations, soothing music, and even recovery-themed meditation.

Anxiety Treatment and Sobriety

While sobriety and anxiety may go hand in hand, there are healthy ways to handle your anxiety when it comes up. You are not alone in dealing with your anxiety and working on your sobriety. South Hills Recovery Project is here to help by offering anxiety treatment in South Hills. Contact us today to learn more!

Dr. Clark
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