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Sep 19, 2019 / by Spearhead Lodge

How to Handle Negative Emotions in Addiction Recovery

Substance misuse and emotions have a significant connection. Many people initially become hooked on drugs and alcohol because of the feelings they create. Over time, these substances become a substitute for healthy coping skills and emotional well-being. Drugs and alcohol may have served as a crutch when you felt stressed or anxious, and now that you are sober, you don’t know how to care for your emotional needs.

Breaking the Cycle of Negativity

Newly sober people often discover an overwhelming rush of feelings that they have pushed aside for years. Learning how to handle triggers is vital in the early stages of recovery, as you will be navigating the world without the familiar effects of drugs and alcohol for the first time in a long time. Negative feelings such as anger and stress are among the most common relapse triggers, so managing these strong emotions is a crucial part of protecting your sobriety.

Stress and anger also feed on each other, and prolonged exposure to both can take a toll on not only your emotional well-being, but your physical health. While it is impossible to prevent all stressful events from happening, the way you handle these emotions can make a world of difference. Learning the fundamentals of self-care can help you be a happier and healthier person.

Emotional Wellness Strategies

If negativity is threatening to overwhelm you, stop, take a deep breath and think about why you are feeling this way. Perhaps you’ve been under a lot of stress at work, or maybe there is a conflict brewing at home. For some people, the inability to let things go creates anger that festers until it is out of control. Keep a daily journal where you can record how you feel each day. Journaling is also a useful strategy because it allows you to look back and gauge how much progress you’ve made over time.

Another sobriety strategy to work on is strengthening your mind-body connection. After years of numbing the negativity with drugs and alcohol, it will take time to establish healthy habits. Practices like yoga, meditation and breathing exercises can make you more in tune with your body, and can help you find calm and inner peace. Something as simple as counting your breaths while you slowly inhale and exhale can send your nervous system signals to start calming you down when a craving hits. These crucial few seconds of mind-body awareness help you re-center yourself.

You Can Do It

Your support network of family and friends can be another essential resource in addiction recovery. If you are having a difficult day and the cravings are threatening to overwhelm you, it’s important to be able to call someone who understands what you’re going through and can help calm you down. They can remind you of your goals for getting sober and help you take stock of everything you’ve achieved in your recovery process so far.

If substance misuse issues are preventing you from living life to the fullest, Spearhead Lodge can help you learn to overcome addiction. We offer proven treatment methods for young men who need to achieve sobriety and rediscover joy. Reach out to us to learn more about admissions.