When you begin your journey towards recovery, there is no denying that emotions play a big part. Your emotional response will be varied and personal, ranging from extreme highs to extreme lows. It is important to learn how to regulate your emotions in order to successfully complete your treatment and sustain long-term recovery.
Many of the emotions you experience during recovery will be negative, and they will be strong. You may experience any or all of the following at some point in your journey:
These emotions can either be destructive or constructive to your recovery. Below are some helpful hints to help you understand how to make sure your emotions help rather than hinder your recovery.
Shame Promotes Relapse
A recent study done by the University of British Columbia reveals striking data about the correlation between feeling shame and relapsing into your addiction. Behavioral displays of shame during an interview for the study highly predicted whether or not the addict relapsed before a second interview.
Feelings of shame can be a huge barrier to recovery, but they do not have to be.
Understand that shame and guilt are two different emotions. Guilt is specific to past behavior, as in “I feel guilty that I hurt that person.” Shame is specific to your overall feeling as an individual, such as “I am worthless; I am a bad person.”
Guilt can be constructive to your recovery, while shame is destructive. Let go of feelings of shame, acknowledge any guilt, and make progress with your recovery. Be proud of your courage in facing your addiction, and let that pride carry you forward.
Make Time for Honest Reflection
Honest self-examination is a major step in any recovery process, and can create long-term success. Negative emotions can make it difficult it look inward with a clear focus; they cloud your mind and cause you to judge yourself harshly.
When you notice your emotions are having a destructive influence, try to utilize these healthy coping mechanisms:
- Recognize and accept the emotion.
- Take an objective view.
- Ask for and receive support.
Accepting and exploring negative emotions is an integral part of recovery. Do not ignore them, but do not let them interfere with your healing process.
Employing ‘thankfulness’ or gratitude during your recovery is an excellent way to manage destructive emotions. There are so many reasons to be grateful while in treatment; you can be grateful for your improving health, for your support network, for good food, and a roof over your head.
Most of all, feeling grateful for your treatment gives it value, which in turn ensures long-term success. Remember to think of something you are grateful for the next time a negative emotion comes up, and you will soon see the positive effects gratitude brings.
Healthy Recovery Environment
Learning to interrupt and change your destructive emotional responses will help you create a calm, healthy environment in which to recover, inside and out. Remember, when you notice a destructive emotion taking over your mind, follow these steps:
Try finding a new hobby or another source of pleasure to help you change your negative emotions into positive ones. At Recovery Village at Palmer Lake in Colorado, we highly recommend outdoor activities and exercise to complement a successful treatment plan. Walking or jogging in nature, lifting weights, or practicing yoga are all excellent ways to improve your health and create an ideal environment in which you can begin to make real changes.
If you are ready to take the first step towards recovery in Colorado, contact us today. We know what you are going through, and we are here to help.