In addiction recovery, those with substance use disorders often have to confront painful emotions so that they can move forward on their recovery journey. If negative emotions are not dealt with through therapy and treatment, they will become risks for relapse after treatment is completed and addicts go back to their lives.
In order to get the most out of rehab, emotions must be explored and dealt with constructively; if they are, many of the triggers for continued use will resolve themselves and become less of a problem going forward.
One of the biggest reasons people abuse drugs and alcohol is to numb the emotional pain they feel in regards to their lives and traumas that have happened to them. At first, it seems easier and better to do whatever they can to avoid feeling the painful emotions, but they soon find that drugs and alcohol (or food, or whatever else they use) are only a temporary fix at best. The emotions always return eventually, and they often feel worse than before, leading to more substance abuse.
Learning how to cope with painful emotions can give addicts the resources they need to stop numbing themselves with harmful substances and can boost the success of recovery exponentially. It is not that the emotions will just go away. That may never happen, but they can be managed and controlled so that they do not keep controlling you or a loved one.
Letting Yourself Feel the Pain
You may have spent years running away from painful experiences and memories, but that has only served to strengthen their hold on you and give them more power in your life. If you stop running and let yourself feel the pain, it takes away the pain’s power. Many times, you find that it is not as bad as you think, and even if it is, you will feel at least somewhat better after you have walked through the pain and found that it did not destroy you.
Confronting the pain with a counselor or therapy group by your side can be an empowering experience that demonstrates you are stronger than you think. With help and support, you can build a framework for dealing with the pain and it can begin to heal.
Part of overcoming painful emotions is developing coping skills, things you can do when the pain begins to come back and hurt you all over again. During drug rehab is an ideal time to learn about and begin to practice these coping skills so you know how to handle painful emotions better when you are back home after treatment.
Turning Emotions Back On
When drugs and alcohol are used to avoid painful emotions, the person using them often finds that positive emotions–love, joy, happiness–are also turned off at the same time. Working through painful emotions can ultimately be one of your most positive experiences–not only do you get the satisfaction of coping with them in better ways, but you may also turn positive emotions back on and improve the overall quality of your life by leaps and bounds.
The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake is a Colorado drug and alcohol rehab facility that addresses all aspects of recovery including painful emotions. Contact us today to find out about treatment resources in your area.