When someone suffers from addiction, in many cases they use their drug or alcohol abuse as a way to escape their feelings. Addicts become drunk or high to numb their pain and avoid dealing with any of their painful feelings.
People who have been an addict for years may have trauma and emotional pain that is deeply buried in their psyche. They may feel emotionally numb because of their addiction and not have the tools to work through their problems and move on.
For people that are just beginning to get clean and sober, recovery can be an emotional rollercoaster. Suddenly they have no escape from their feelings and must deal with every emotion that comes up head on.
It can be overwhelming for people recovering from their addictions to become "emotionally sober" as well as physically sober. However, it is an opportunity for them to address some of the issues that contributed to their addiction and heal from past emotional scars.
Dealing with Emotions in Recovery
One of the hardest aspects of being abstinent for people in recovery is no longer having a method of escape when things become stressful or difficult. With nowhere to run to avoid emotional pain, addicts have to begin to "feel their feelings".
There will be many negative emotions that come up in the early months of recovery and it can be challenging for the person's ability to remain sober. Fortunately, in a treatment center there are multiple resources to learn the tools to deal with your emotions.
Individual and group counseling is available for patients so that they can speak openly about their feelings and get feedback that helps them gain a new perspective. Addicts can also benefit from twelve step programs as a way to tell their story to a group that will understand and not judge them.
Therapy and support groups provide a safe space for addicts to get through the emotional trials of early recovery. It is also a place for them to heal and find peace after working through their pain.
The Highs and Lows of Treatment
Recovery can involve a lot of ups and downs because it is such a life-changing decision. Addicts may feel relieved and empowered that they have finally quit and experience the highs of being sober.
They will also experience the lows of facing up to the past and dealing with the guilt of what they may have done during the years of their addiction. With all the changes that they go through it is hard not to get emotional.
They may have to say goodbye to some of their old friends and acquaintances that could endanger their sobriety and make new friends in their support group that will keep them on track. There will be difficult conversations with friends and family members as they make amends and apologize if they have wronged them in any way.
This emotional rollercoaster is something they have to face every day for months with no relief from substance abuse.
Although there may be ups and downs while getting clean, ultimately it can be a cathartic experience that reshapes a person's life for the better. People can finally resolve issues that have been problematic for years and even face the issues that contributed to the development of their addiction.
It is an opportunity to repair relationships and create a new lifestyle that is more positive and healthy mentally and physically. In treatment, addicts can face their emotions and work through their guilt and pain so that in the end they will experience peace and harmony in their life again.