Embracing Your Emotions in Treatment and Recovery
With addiction, you substitute drugs and alcohol for your emotions. If something good happens, you turn to a drink or pick up a drug to celebrate. If something bad happens, you do the same; but this time to numb it out. When you get sober, your emotions become real. They become something you need to face head on. It’s uncomfortable and difficult at first, but it is something that becomes easier over time and eventually becomes normal throughout treatment and recovery.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment is an Emotional Time
A huge part of addiction treatment is working through your emotions. Things will come up from your past that you have not faced in years. Treatment is the absolute best place to face these kinds of emotions because you are in a safe and supported environment.
If you are on your own, the temptation to turn to drugs and alcohol might be so strong that you give in to the urge. In treatment, you have time to process your emotions and figure things out rationally without turning to a substance.
Therapy is an Important Part of Addiction Treatment
During treatment and recovery, you’ll find yourself spending most of your day in various kinds of therapy. Here’s how they help you process your emotions:
- Individual Therapy: This one-on-one therapy helps you to go over your emotions and your particular situation with your therapist. The conversation is completely confidential and safe, so you can divulge everything you have been afraid to say during the length of your addiction. Your therapist will provide advice for you to handle life’s curve balls without getting drunk or high.
- Group Therapy: Often called processing group, in these groups, you will be amongst your peers and therapist. Together, you will discuss certain topics pertaining to drug and alcohol addiction. It’s a great time to realize that you are not alone in the disease of addiction and that many people are going through the same thing as you. While cross-talk is limited, you can learn from one another and count on each other for support.
- Art and Writing Therapy: These creative groups are designed to take you out of your head and into the moment. You’ll learn how to channel your emotions into creative outlets instead of addiction. You might even discover a hidden talent that you didn’t know you had.
- Family Therapy: During treatment and recovery, it is essential for the entire family to do healing of their own, both together and apart. In family therapy, your closest loved ones will be a part of your therapy session. Together, you can discuss any unresolved issues and emotions with a therapist present, to help guide the discussion.
In treatment, you’ll also have access to meditation classes and light exercise like yoga. Both are great holistic therapies that can help keep your addiction at bay when a craving comes up. Treatment is rewiring your brain to think beyond your drug of choice. Emotions are scary, but it’s important to confront them in order to move forward.
Recovery Involves Putting What You Learned in Treatment to the Test
Once you are out of treatment and are focused on recovery, it’s essential to put everything you learned while in rehab to use. Even though you may not have as much supervision, you now have the tools to handle your emotions, and getting high or drunk isn’t an option.
A 30-plus day rehab course may not be all that you need to learn how to handle things on your own, so it is important to consider ongoing support for your recovery even after you leave rehab. There are plenty of options out there, ranging from full-time outpatient programs to once-a-week sessions with a therapist. No matter which route you take, at least you will have someone you can come to on a regular basis to discuss how to handle emotional situations, past or present, as they come up.
Dealing with Emotions Alone is Challenging
Emotional situations like a break-up, death in the family, or job loss are a leading reason for relapse. While you learn everything you need in rehab to get past these situations without using, the fact is that we are still human, and life gets difficult at times. Doing it all on your own is a challenge, but one that will get easier over time.
As soon as you get out of rehab, start building a support network of people you can trust with any issues that arise. Talking through your problems is a great way to get your emotions out without making a rash decision to use your drug of choice. A listening ear is great, and those people can help you see things from a different perspective.
If you find yourself dealing with intense emotions, think about the lessons you learned in treatment. Choose a group class you enjoyed, like writing or drawing, and pick it up in your spare time. Get your emotions out creatively, instead of snuffing them out with drugs and alcohol.
Dealing with emotions in treatment and recovery is a constant learning process. While in treatment, listen, learn, and participate as much as possible so that you can get as strong as you can. In recovery, work for your sobriety daily and remember how to channel your emotions elsewhere. All people experience emotions; that’s just life. Learn to embrace them instead of ignoring them and you’ll be stronger every day.