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Sometimes when we are approaching recovery, it is relatively easy to identify our behavioral patterns. They’re pretty clear and easy to see. We can pinpoint our go-to drugs of choice and addictive behaviors fairly easily. What can sometimes be harder to identify are the emotional patterns underlying our behaviors. These patterns often drive our addictions, and when we can investigate them and work with them, we can empower ourselves in our healing and recovery.

Understanding our emotional patterns means going beneath the surface of our behaviors to look at what emotions are driving them. Let’s try to go beyond what we are doing and look at why. When you have an urge to drink, for example, what thoughts are you having? What feelings are you experiencing? What fears are you acting on? The more we practice paying attention to these things, the more we can identify the root causes of our pain which is usually what is powering the cycles of our addictions. What memories come up for you? What thought patterns does your mind default to?

Perhaps your emotional pattern is to feel unlovable, unworthy and undeserving. Perhaps your emotional pattern is to constantly revisit a childhood trauma and feel shame and blame for it. Maybe your emotional pattern is avoidance, of certain feelings, memories and triggers. Learning more about our emotional patterns and coming to understand them is a crucial step in figuring out who we are and taking back control of our lives from the addictions that have been running them.

Once we have become more conscious of our emotional patterns, we can start to work to create new ones. Where we defaulted to feeling inadequate, we can begin to tell ourselves a new truth. “You are more than good enough. You are loved. You are worthy.” Where we drowned ourselves in feeling ashamed and blaming ourselves, we can choose to tell ourselves instead, “I forgive you. You are forgiven. You are a good person. Your past and your mistakes do not define you.” Where we once avoided our pain, we can start to empower ourselves to face it. “You are strong enough to face your truth. You are brave. You are courageous.”

The emotional patterns we’ve learned and adopted in our daily lives are like the engine running our addictive behaviors. When we can identify them, we can begin to learn new ones, which sets us up to create entirely new, self-affirming and empowering behaviors.

Treatment at Riverside Recovery includes psychotherapy, family therapy, spirituality groups, and much more, to help you develop new emotional and behavioral patterns. Call (800) 871-5440.