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When in recovery, we know that our greatest challenge will be to keep ourselves sober, but we don’t always recognize all of the emotional components that our recovery work will entail. We don’t always understand just how much our emotional challenges can impact our happiness, our peace of mind, our self-control, and our willpower. We might not see the correlation between our emotional health and our sobriety. When it comes to staying sober long-term, addressing our emotional challenges and finding ways to move through them are some of the most important things we can do for ourselves and our recovery.

Facing Long-Buried Emotions

We all face different and unique emotional challenges around our sobriety, but many of us share in common the fact that we’re dealing with intense emotions that we’ve been suppressing for many years, emotions that we’re now finally confronting without anything to numb ourselves to them. Our addictions often became our means of emotional avoidance. We’ve been using our drugs of choice to help us escape the pain of our difficult emotions for so long that actually feeling them can be overwhelming and even debilitating. Facing these long-buried emotions is one of our greatest emotional challenges in sobriety. Many of us have become so numb to feeling our true emotions that when we get sober, we feel totally overpowered by them. What emotions have you been suppressing, avoiding, and resisting? Why have you been burying these feelings? How does it feel to allow yourself to actually experience your emotions instead of numbing yourself to them? Asking ourselves these questions helps us to develop more mindfulness around our emotions. The more mindful we become around our internal patterns, the more we can learn to manage our emotions and keep ourselves from using our drugs of choice to cope with them.

Being Triggered to Relapse

When we aren’t able to manage our emotions in healthy, effective ways, many of us can be easily triggered into patterns of relapse. When we relapse, it isn’t just because we lack self-control, discipline, conviction, or willpower. It’s also because our deep unhappiness and lack of inner peace are depleting our inner strength. We’re so emotionally overwhelmed that we have a hard time staying on track with our sobriety. We feel easily tempted by our drug of choice because our emotions are so painful, confusing, and destabilizing for us. When we’re triggered by a tough emotion like fear or sadness, for example, our instinctive coping mechanism is to use our drug of choice. We haven’t learned how to cope with our emotions in ways that are beneficial to us.

How We’ve Been Avoiding Our Emotions

As we’re assessing which emotions we’ve been resistant to, let’s also examine the ways in which we’ve been managing, or avoiding, those emotions. Do you keep yourself busy with work so that you don’t have to think about how you feel? Do you focus on your relationships with other people to distract yourself from your emotional well-being, or lack thereof? Do you project your painful emotions onto other people rather than doing the internal work to understand those emotions? We often come to believe that we’re managing our emotions just fine if we’re not depressed, or if we’re functioning in our regular lives and keeping up with our routines. Very often we’re not fine, though. We’re simply managing our emotions in ways that are counterproductive and that hurt us more in the long run. We’re not feeling our emotions. We’re not healing them. We’re not making peace with them. We’re simply finding ways to avoid feeling them.

Addressing Our Internal Disconnectedness

What are some of the difficult emotions we find ourselves confronting when newly sober? For many of us loneliness, boredom, and a lack of fulfillment have been major contributing factors to our addictive patterns for quite some time. Our drugs of choice become our companions. When we’re bored and have nothing we find fulfilling, we use our drugs of choice to occupy our time and to distract us. Feeling disconnected from our life’s purpose and from the things that bring us joy can drive us to become dependent upon our drug of choice. When we don’t feel a sense of meaning and connection in our lives, we often will turn to our drugs of choice to provide that for us, although it isn’t genuine or nourishing for us. When we don’t have a healthy relationship with our inner selves, we use our drugs of choice to avoid doing the work to understand, manage, and cope with our emotions. Have you been trying to escape your feelings of loneliness? Has your loneliness been a driving force behind your addictions? Do you feel bored, unfulfilled, and lacking in purpose in your life? Are there important parts of yourself you’ve sacrificed over the years, that you’ve used your addictions to distract you from? For example, you might have interests you pursued, things you loved to do, that you then abandoned when the addiction took over your life. You might have elements of yourself and your life that were important to you that got sacrificed over time to the destructive force of addiction. Let’s look at how and why we’ve become so disconnected from our inner selves. Reversing that disconnection, and rebuilding our internal connectedness, helps us to rise to the emotional challenges of sobriety and become the happiest, healthiest, strongest versions of ourselves we can possibly be.

At The Guest House Ocala, we are uniquely equipped to help our guests heal from trauma-induced substance abuse and process addictions in a safe, comfortable and confidential setting.

Call 855-483-7800 today for more information on our treatment programs.

3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488