Many addicts and alcoholics in early sobriety walk emotional tightropes, vacillating between leftover negative emotions and the newfound freedom of recovery. Unfortunately, despite anyone’s length of time sober, encountering tough times and troubling feelings are an unavoidable part of life. How well an addict in recovery can manage his or herself through negativity can certainly have a great impact on their sobriety and well-being.
Addicts and alcoholics tend to be at high risk for emotional dysregulation. The addiction cycle can be prompted to activate by emotional distress, and attention diverted to drugs and alcohol to relieve negative emotions. One of the fundamental principles of recovery is emotional sobriety; the idea that one must learn to regulate the negative thoughts and feelings that lead to craving and ultimately relapse. The good news is that you don’t have to be a slave to negative emotions.
There is the negative feeling that nothing will ever be okay again, and this can take an individual back to their addiction in a heartbeat. In early recovery, it’s advised to take one day at a time and do whatever necessary (be it prayer, journaling, exercise or twelve-step meetings) to just not pick up. Once working a strong program with a good support system, evaluating distressing feelings will yield tools for managing them positively.
Turning Negative Emotions into Positive Thinking
The saying “this too shall pass,” is one of the strongest reinforcements for providing an individual with the strength to endure through troubling times. Life is consistently filled with up’s and down’s, and no one gets a guarantee of bliss 100% of the time. The struggles we endure make the periods of happiness more meaningful, and we grow and change the most when we are challenged.
When encountering negative emotions, honor yourself by respecting your feelings and acknowledging there are most likely changes taking place, or changes that will be discovered are necessary to stay balanced. This is a good time to take a break, talk with someone trustworthy, and get in touch with yourself through meditation, exercise, or journaling. The most important thing to remember is that nothing lasts forever, and the best thing you can do is to focus on staying sober one day at a time.
Treatment approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy help addicts and alcoholics recognize their distorted thinking and turn those negative emotions into positive thoughts. Your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs directly affect your behaviors and emotions, especially in recovery. During the course of treatment at Restore Health and Wellness Center, our addiction specialists and group facilitators focus on rechanneling those negative emotions into more positive thoughts that will strengthen your sobriety. Visit our addiction treatment center in Thousand Oaks at 6918 Owensmouth Ave Canoga Park, CA 91303. 24/7 Admissions (818) 722-9019. On-Site Contact (818) 806-3914.