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The Emotions of Addiction

When we are dealing with addictions, we often experience layers of emotions. Sometimes we are conscious of these emotions, and sometimes we bury them underneath our addictive behaviors and thought patterns. We often avoid dealing with our emotions because of how difficult and painful they can be. This avoidance has a way of exacerbating our addictions and compounding our pain. Here are some of the emotions we commonly feel when living with addictions.


When struggling with addictions, we often feel a deep sense of shame, for letting the people we care about down and for disappointing them, not to mention ourselves, for failing to reach our goals of sobriety, for not living up to our potential. We are caught in cycles of behaviors that we know we need to stop, that we want to stop. When we can’t stop, we feel weak, pathetic, ashamed and embarrassed. We are often consumed with regret and remorse. We feel unable to forgive ourselves. This painful buildup of shame often compels us to want to escape via our drugs of choice, which, as we know, only increases our shame.


Because addiction is often judged and stigmatized, sometimes we forget that at the root of people’s addictions there often lies a deep sadness. We carry grief from our traumatic childhoods, past relationships and other difficult life experiences. As we self-destruct with our addictive behaviors, we accumulate more sadness- about our feelings of unworthiness, about the pain we’ve caused other people and ourselves. We see the effects our addictions have on us and the people we care about, and it can be very sad, for everyone involved. Sometimes trying to escape our sadness was what initially prompted us to engage in our addictive behaviors in the first place.


Addiction and depression often go hand in hand. As we try to quit and can’t, we often become more and more depressed. Feelings of despair and hopelessness are common in both addiction and depression. Sometimes we don’t know where to turn or who to ask for help. Sometimes we feel so convinced that there’s no hope that we feel it’s useless to seek help. We feel deeply alone, scared, lost, overwhelmed and confused. Maybe we’ve already sought help, even received treatment, but our relapses cause us to believe we’ll never fully recover. We’ve been in darkness so long that we not only can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, we believe there is no light at all. We seek comfort in our drugs of choice, thus perpetuating the cycle. The painful hopelessness we feel drives many of us to consider taking our own lives.

We can learn how to work through our painful emotions. It is far from easy but so necessary for our healing.

There is hope. Recovering from our addictions means facing our emotions, and the community at Enlightened Solutions is here to help. Call (833) 801-LIVE.

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