We tend to think of our addictions in much the same way we view our mental health issues, as powerful forces beyond our control, as illnesses we were born with or inherited but can’t heal from. We fail to realize that the patterns we develop, the mental and emotional habits we practice and repeat over time, can actually form the basis of our addictions, creating the foundation upon which our addictions have a chance to grow. These habits are most often unconscious, and we aren’t aware of them even though they’re causing us considerable pain. They are fueled by the beliefs we have stored in our subconscious mind, and they feed the programming that informs our entire way of life, our routines, our lifestyles, our behaviors and choices. The habits that make up our everyday lives have the power to impact both our mental and emotional health, and therefore the development of our addictions.
Some of the mental and emotional habits that can contribute to our addictive patterns are suppression, avoidance, denial, dishonesty and secrecy. When we suppress, avoid and deny our emotions, we give them a dangerous level of power over us to control our lives and corrupt how we feel about ourselves. When we lie to ourselves and keep our difficult emotions a secret from other people, we give up valuable opportunities to learn how to heal ourselves and move through our feelings in healthy ways. We become self-destructive and self-sabotaging. We suffer from self-hatred, insecurity and self-rejection. Our self-perception, self-image and self-talk can all be tainted. We don’t learn healthy coping mechanisms for the difficult emotions that are a natural part of life, and we start using addictive substances and behaviors to cope instead. We don’t learn from our emotions, we resist them. We don’t confront them, we turn away from them. When we don’t accept our emotions, they become destructive, overwhelming and overpowering forces that create inner turmoil within us, disturbances in our relationships, and chaos in our lives.
We might think of these habits as harmless, but that assumption doesn’t take into account the power our emotions have in our lives. Our feelings, and how we handle them or don’t handle them, can affect everything from our self-esteem and self-worth to how we operate in the world, how we function on a daily basis, and how we live our lives. When we develop unhealthy habits, our mental and emotional health can suffer, our overall health can deteriorate, and we can be that much more vulnerable to developing addictions.
The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and the feelings of hopelessness and disconnection that come with it. We’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.