Managing Your Emotions in Recovery
Clinically Reviewed by:
13 January, 2022
One of the most challenging aspects during and after drug & alcohol addiction treatment is managing your emotions.
During addiction treatment, you’re experiencing new feelings, thoughts, and ideas. After treatment, you experience more of the same: you have more freedom, options, and choices to make. There are more stressors and different temptations.
How can you manage your emotions after you leave treatment and experience recovery on your own?
One of the ways to stay on top of yourself and your emotions is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is defined as “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” This awareness allows you to look at your emotions for what they are and react accordingly. So, how can you practice mindfulness?
Focus on the sensations you’re feeling in your body when a new emotion arises. Listen to your thoughts without acting on them to understand where they’re coming from. Take a moment to pause and listen to yourself.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a daily journal or diary is one of the most remarkable ways to track your emotions, write how you feel, and better understand yourself. When you’re writing how you feel or how your day went, it’s like you’re mapping out your brain. You get to see the different connections from event to event and how they affected you. Of course, hindsight is 20/20.
Try writing in a journal nightly for 15 minutes. Jot down what happened, how you felt that day, big dreams, doodles, etc. It’s not necessarily important what you write or how well you write, just that you get the energy out. It’s also okay to miss days; the main point is to get your feelings onto the page to start recognizing patterns within yourself.
Talk to Someone You Trust
Whether you love to talk about your feelings or prefer to keep things to yourself, we all benefit from sharing how we feel with someone we can trust. This person can be a close friend, family member, or professional. It doesn’t matter who they are, as long as you trust them, and they understand you.
Try calling up a friend when things get rough, or even weekly to stay on top of your emotions. Be open and honest with them, asking for their advice and opinions. Listen to what they have the offer. Be sure to do the same for them; that’s what friends are for.
We’ve all heard the saying “just walk away” since we were children. Even though this statement seems like a cliche, it’s actually decent advice. Take time with what’s bothering you so you can think about it and address it adequately. Remember, you can always step away from a situation to gain a better and bigger perspective.
It’s also important to remember; you can walk away from your emotions as well. This can be both positive and negative at times, depending on how you use it.
Positively, you can “walk away” from feelings of anxiety and not allow it to interfere with your day-to-day life. Negatively, you may also “walk away” from feelings that need to be answered. Be sure only to walk away beneficially to avoid potential tidal waves later on.
One thing that can’t be stated enough is to stay positive. You’ve made it this far, and you should be ecstatic and proud about it. As you know from living and experiencing life, everything passes in time. Whatever you are feeling and dealing with will pass as well.
Stay optimistic about your situation, emotions, and yourself. Keep in mind; positivity can become a crutch in some cases. Look at the problems for what they are and try to see the silver lining. Find something humorous about your emotional state and laugh at it. Life is incredibly too short to miss out on the good parts of every situation.
You may think this tip is about trying new hobbies or interests. That’s not the case. Reading allows us to learn from others. Whether it’s in the form of nonfiction or fiction, we can learn from the characters and, in turn, learn about ourselves.
Try reading nightly or weekly. Not only will reading act as a form of catharsis and stress relief, but as self-discovery as well. Pay attention to how you relate to the characters, what you admire in them, or what you dislike. These things can all further your understanding of your emotional nature.
Managing your emotions during, after, and just in general can be incredibly challenging. During treatment, you’re experiencing new feelings, thoughts, people, and ideas. After that, a sober lifestyle is filled with temptations, doubts, excitement, and fear. The good news is you can be shown how to manage your emotions.
At The Edge Treatment Center, we provide various therapies that can give you or your loved ones the tools to manage your emotions in a healthy way. Our clients learn coping strategies and practical communication skills through individual and group therapy and broaden their understanding. Individual therapy ensures our clients are developing a higher sense of self-esteem and awareness. Our group therapy sessions allow our clients to create meaningful relationships and learn how to connect in healthy ways.
If you or a loved one is interested in taking the first step to recovery or need more information, call us today at (800) 778-1772.
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