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Working to recover from addiction is as much about working with our emotional health as it is abstaining from our drugs of choice. In order to recover, we have to develop new emotional patterns to replace the ones that were contributing to our unwellness. We have to create and practice healthy emotional coping skills. Very often when we’re struggling with addiction and mental illness, we have a very unhealthy relationship to our emotions. We suppress and deny them. We try to numb them with our drugs of choice, or escape them with our many distractions. We self-medicate so that we can avoid feeling them. We deny and avoid our emotions, since the weight of them can feel overwhelming. We don’t want to feel our pain because it’s unbearable. Working to develop better emotional patterns starts with examining all of the feelings we’ve been ignoring and burying deep within us.

What are your go-to emotions? These are the feelings we default to when we’re not actively trying to monitor our emotions or change how we feel. Many of us fall back on pessimism, or negativity. We default to worrying. We feel hopeless and desperate. We anticipate the worst-case scenario rather than hoping for the best. We manifest with this negative energy, bringing about the things we don’t want in our lives rather than actively working to manifest the things we do want. When these toxic emotions are deeply rooted in us, in our subconscious minds, they are working against our conscious desires to get better. They are essentially sabotaging our efforts.

One of our most deeply ingrained emotional patterns is the way we hold onto our limiting beliefs. The beliefs we have about ourselves inform how we feel about ourselves and therefore how we move through the world and how we live our lives. When we think we’re not good enough, not strong enough, not worthy enough, not deserving enough, we’re telling ourselves that recovery is out of reach. We’re telling ourselves to give up. We’re telling ourselves we don’t deserve to be happy or well, that we’re not worthy of recovery or success. Consciously we want to recover, but subconsciously we’re still suffering from the self-hate and self-rejection that fuel our addictions. We’re still deeply self-destructive.

To heal ourselves and our emotional patterns, first we must take inventory of them and address them head on. Our avoidance and denial cause them to fester and worsen. We want to be able to look at our thoughts and feelings with honesty and openness, so that we can work through them and replace them with new emotional patterns that serve us better in our healing.

Riverside Recovery believes in the importance of holistic healing and education, mindfulness and mind-body-spirit wellness. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information on our treatment programs.