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Dealing with Intense Moments

Recovering from addiction is an experience that often includes intense emotion. We all know the highs and lows of drug use, the inner turmoil, the moments of anxiety, and panic. In these moments, we can find ourselves feeling overwhelmed. We don’t know how to cope with our intense emotional responses and thought patterns during these moments. It can feel as though the world is ending or like we’re literally going insane. Our thoughts begin to race, and we can feel as though we’re spiraling out of control. Obsessions and compulsions begin to develop as we dwell on the things we find bothersome or upsetting. How can we deal with these intense moments? What are some ways we can help ourselves calm our thoughts and ease our minds? How can we help ourselves to feel better in those moments?


Meditation is a powerful way to bring ourselves more clarity and stillness, especially in times when we’re feeling distressed. When we meditate regularly, we’re able to handle difficult moments with incredible poise. We’re able to bring those feelings of stillness and serenity that we’ve been cultivating through meditation. Once we know how to ease our minds through meditation, we can call upon this practice even during tough moments. Meditation teaches us to slow down our thoughts and calm ourselves. There are many different types of meditation, so experiment with one until you find what helps you. You can practice breath awareness meditation, which emphasizes paying attention to your breathing instead of your wandering thoughts. You can try walking meditation. Others prefer concentrative meditation, where you focus intentionally on one thing, whether it’s candlelight, a sacred image, or a mantra. 


We often associate meditation with sitting in total silence, but another very helpful way to meditate is by repeating affirmations. We can choose positive, affirmative statements that reflect our ideal emotional state. We tend to think that we have no control over our thoughts, especially when our minds are racing. With affirmations, we can consciously choose our thoughts and begin to reprogram the wiring of our subconscious minds. This rewiring begins to replace our distress with calm, tranquility, faith, and peace. In those moments of crisis or emotional distress, we can pause, breathe, and repeat words that calm and soothe us. “I am at peace. I will get through this. This too shall pass” – whatever makes us feel better at that moment.


Recovery brings up a ton of different emotions. At various points, we will feel as though we can’t handle them. We become overwhelmed by the many different thoughts we’re thinking simultaneously. Our inner thought life becomes one of chaos and confusion. A helpful practice in those moments is to write everything down that we’re thinking and feeling. Get it all out on paper, or on your phone or computer. Release all that pent-up negative energy from the anxiety, sadness, and anger you’re feeling. Let your ideas and feelings flow, rather than trying to stop them, silence them, or sweep them under the rug. Writing out what we’re feeling during difficult moments can help us to express our thoughts and emotions. Rather than suppressing our feelings like we used to, we can use writing as a safe pressure-release system. Seeing everything in written form can help us to organize and process our thoughts. Even the physical act of writing can be therapeutic in its own way. The act of writing by hand can be comforting and soothing. In time, our thoughts become easier to understand and sort through. Words written in ink are easier to understand than abstract concepts floating around our brains. We are also giving ourselves a task to focus on, and this gives us a way to direct our energy in a way that is productive and helpful. Instead of lashing out at a loved one or saying something we regret, we can write. We also feel calmer when we focus our attention on just one thing. If writing isn’t your thing, there are other ways to achieve a similar sense of peace. You could mindfully focus on cleaning your house or finishing a task. Almost any singular and detail-oriented task can be meditative if practiced mindfully. 


When we’re feeling intense emotions, our thoughts often go in very negative directions. We fear the worst and jump to worst-case scenarios. Pessimistic thoughts, feelings of dread, intense insecurity, and self-doubt threaten to overwhelm us. One way to quickly and easily shift our thinking is to focus on gratitude. It’s very hard to stay angry, sad, or panicked when we’re looking for reasons to be grateful. Focusing on appreciation and thankfulness can make us feel light, calm, and peaceful. Choosing gratitude is a way of comforting and uplifting ourselves. After all, our negative thoughts and worst impulses thrive in the darkness of a pessimistic mind. By regularly lifting our thoughts toward positivity, we can slowly turn the tides against the grim nonsense that lurks in the corners of our minds. 

If you’re interested in practicing meditation or learning how to cope with persistent negative thoughts, we can help. At The Guest House Ocala, our experience with addiction and recovery makes us uniquely equipped to be able to understand the struggles you’re experiencing. We’re here to help. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information on our treatment programs.