The effects of drugs and alcohol cover up a person’s feelings when they are using. People who have a drug or alcohol addiction often start using to cope with emotions and feelings such as stress, anxiety, or depression. After using drugs or alcohol for a long time, the brain becomes dependent on the substance to function.
When a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol goes to treatment, he or she needs to adjust to a new substance-free lifestyle. Ending drug or alcohol use takes a lot of hard work and determination from the person who uses the substances. After treatment ends, the individual will begin to feel the emotions that were once subdued by the effects of drugs or alcohol. This can put the person at high risk of relapse due to the intensity of emotions he or she feels.
In early recovery, feelings and emotions will re-surface. The person can experience joy, sadness, and empathy in ways that can be overwhelming. The feelings that have mental associations with drugs or alcohol may trigger the urge to use. The individual should learn how to cope with triggers and not turn to familiar habits of using drugs or alcohol.
After years of responding to feelings or emotions by using, it will take time to break the association. Learning what feelings and emotions trigger the urge can help. Keeping a journal of the feelings and emotions will help the person become more aware of patterns and track progress.
The person in early recovery should find positive coping skills such as going for a walk, listening to music, reading, or playing with a pet helps to get through emotional triggers. Talking to sober, supportive friends can help a person cope with their emotions. The individual in recovery should get to know people in group meetings who can help during difficult times. When a person in early recovery is feeling triggered, he or she should call someone who can offer encouragement through challenging moments. The person in recovery should avoid triggers and have a plan for coping with the strong emotions that come with a new, sober lifestyle.
Emotions won’t kill you. Sustained drug and alcohol addiction can. When you choose to recover, you need to recover fully. Recovery needs to take place in mind, body, and spirit. That is why Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a holistic approach to treatment, providing a multi-faceted partial care program rooted in evidence-based therapies, proven healing methods, and 12-step inspired recovery. Call us today for information on our programs for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders: 833-801-5483.