One of the most difficult challenges addicts and alcoholics in recovery face is confronting their issues. It is possible to confront them and learn to live with them in a safe and sustainable manner. You will learn to live a life where you don’t have to use to feel, or not feel.
Remind yourself of “Your issues, your tissues”
There is a rule which often gets used in group processing therapy sessions in treatment. Nobody wants to see a fellow peer in recovery suffer. Crying, pain, and uncomfortable emotions can make people uncomfortable. Wanting to help someone who is struggling with pain, and in a way, try to repress having to cope with our own emotions, we reach for the tissue box, grab a tissue and hand it to another person. We might want to tell them it’s okay, that they don’t have to cry, and that everything is going to be alright. We could try to pat their back, give them a gentle touch, and soothe them. However, their emotions are not our responsibility. It is not our job to take care of others who feel bad. It’s okay to feel feelings. Through our treatment and therapeutic development we are learning to feel our feelings and not just be okay with them, but take responsibility for them. Your issues, your tissues. Take responsibility for yourself and your feelings. Own what you’re going through. Then look deeper.
Identify your emotional issues
You first learn to identify the fact that you have emotions. This might seem absurd. For addicts and alcoholics who chased their emotions away as long as possible with as much drugs and alcohol as possible, it is not absurd. It can feel like a revelation in life to have feelings, recognize feelings when they are happening, and then feel them. Next, you learn to identify them and identify the root of them. Often our emotional reactions are just our defense response. Underneath our surface level emotional experience there is a deeper emotional experience taking place. For example, if we are suddenly overcome with anger, we might truly be experiencing fear, sadness, or both. Furthermore, the roots of our fear, sadness, and/or anger also have roots. Our emotional responses are connected to emotional experiences. We go through triggers and circumstances which set off our emotional reactions because we’ve had experiences which created that response. Soon, you’ll learn how to choose your emotions and be empowered in your ability to choose your emotions after identifying what you are feeling. Maybe you want to remain mad. Maybe you want to let go of the anger and move into forgiveness and understanding instead. Maybe you need to feel through the sadness and the fear. You get to decide.
Recovery is empowering. The hope and freedom people find in recovery gives them a chance at life like they’ve never had before. By working the steps, healing holistically, and focusing on life development, patients at Design For Change are able to find long term recovery and refuge from addiction. For more information on our treatment programs and recovery services, call us today at (877) 267-3646.