Those of us struggling with addictions have a tendency to want to ignore our emotions and avoid feeling them because they can be painful and difficult to cope with. Our addictive behaviors are very often what we use to try to escape our emotions, but when we can look at them closely and figure out what they are trying to communicate to us, we can make great strides in our healing.
When we are actively using or engaging in our addictive behaviors, we often don’t have clarity around our thoughts and emotions. It can be so hard to see clearly through our feelings of confusion and hopelessness, not to mention the fog that can come from the drugs and behaviors themselves. As much as we can, let’s try to wade through all of that to reach the calm and stillness of our inner light. We can use meditation, visualization and journaling to connect to our inner voice. As we gain some clarity, we can look at our emotions and ask them questions. What am I feeling right now? When have I felt this before? What old, unhealed wounds are these emotions triggering? What unresolved fears are these feelings bringing up?
Answers to these questions might not come to us immediately. We might need to meditate on them, pray with them, journal with them, and seek out the help of a therapist, mentor or spiritual guide. When we can’t figure out why we’re feeling the pain we’re feeling, our instincts are sometimes to feel frustrated and impatient. We might feel anxious and start to panic. We want to be done with our suffering. It’s gone on long enough. Try to be patient with yourself and with the process. Our emotional patterns took years to develop, and it will take us some time to understand them.
Here are some common things our emotions might be trying to communicate with us. If we are feeling deep sadness about a relationship we know needs to end but are having a hard time detaching, we might have unresolved pain around a death, loss or separation in our families. We might still be consumed with fear of abandonment. If we are feeling anxious about the future, we might have a hard time living with uncertainty, which can mean we don’t have faith in ourselves to be able to cope with any challenges that arise.
It often takes us some soul searching and reflection to figure out what our emotions are trying to tell us. The energy we invest in this process will help us immeasurably in our recovery.
Treatment at Riverside includes multiple kinds of therapy, among other programs to help you in your recovery. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.