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Why Are Emotions Important in Addiction Recovery?

Dr. Gary Oliver, author of Mad About Us: Moving From Anger to Intimacy With Your Spouse, has said, “If you bury an emotion, you bury it alive.” This is incredibly true for those in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD) and for any person trying to live their best life. We must all permit ourselves to feel. Allowing ourselves to feel the wide spectrum of human emotions will allow us to achieve success and well-being in our mental, physical, and spiritual lives.

We often get asked, “How are you feeling?” and we usually answer with the standard, “fine,” “good,” and ever so popular, “not bad.” These responses may be true in some circumstances; however, they are often rote responses. These responses deny ourselves and the person asking the question the opportunity to connect. Connecting with others is important; however, of greater importance is our ability to connect with ourselves.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor and reflect on one’s personal emotions and the emotions of others, identify and label them properly, and use the emotional information to appropriately guide thinking and behavior. It is a set of skills that are involved in communication and relating to others.

Recognizing and managing our emotions allows us to persevere in difficult circumstances. As we pursue recovery, we must face our emotions and develop a method of coping with uncomfortable feelings. Recovery may be one of the most challenging times in our lives. We must face the actions of our past, our emotions, and the feelings of others as we begin to recognize the effects of our past actions.

Being able to cope with our own regrets and the feelings and regrets of others regarding our behaviors helps us develop resilience. Resilience will enable us to avoid relapse.

How Does Resilience Help Us Avoid Relapse?

Resilience is one’s ability to withstand pressures and recover despite adverse circumstances. Resilience can be one of the most crucial factors in preventing and avoiding relapse for individuals with a SUD. The development of resilience is critical to avoiding relapse as it enables us to cope with triggers and our emotions relative to the difficult aspects of recovery.

At Enlightened Solutions, through our various treatment modalities, we help our clients develop resilience. Through treatment and focusing on whole-person health, we can develop emotional intelligence and further develop our resilience.

Emotional Intelligence Improves Physical Health

Having the ability to moderate our emotional responses can improve our ability to maintain good health. According to the article “Emotional Intelligence and Physical Health,” published in the journal Assessing Emotional Intelligence, the leading causes of death today are “chronic stress and unhealthy lifestyles,” which can be linked to a lack of ability to cope with one’s emotions.

As we improve our ability to cope with emotions, our heart health improves, our diet improves, and our willingness to care for our bodies improves. Our ability to recognize our emotions as reactions to the world and stressors can improve health outcomes by making us more capable of managing unhealthy emotional responses. Overeating, undereating, and essentially avoiding life have made us unhealthy and resulted in the abuse of our bodies.

How Can We Change Our Responses?

We can care for ourselves in such a way as to avoid the unhealthy ramifications of physical illness. First, we must face our emotions. When asked how we are feeling, we need to pause and really assess.

As a society, we have shifted from facing our feelings to doing what feels good in the moment. When we face our feelings, we can grow and allow ourselves to feel better and have a better life long-term.

Changing our response to life by facing our feelings will create resilience. Resilience is the key to our success in recovery from SUD. Our difficulty with facing emotions is often what prompted our disease. We are capable of recovery, but first, we must face our feelings.

Face Your Feelings and Find Recovery

Recovery takes time and effort. A challenging aspect of recovery is coming to grips with our emotions. Overcoming knee-jerk responses is what will enable us to succeed in recovery. Recovery is brutal when we hide from our feelings. So, we must face our emotions and develop coping skills. At Enlightened Solutions, we help our clients learn how to cope with their feelings and develop the needed lifelong skills to ensure resilience in recovery.

Life does not have to be lived hiding from emotions that make us feel uncomfortable. Discomfort promotes growth. As we face our emotions, our physical health will improve, as well as our overall well-being.

Facing one’s emotions is quite possibly the most difficult aspect of recovery from addiction. However, when a person is capable of facing their emotions, growth happens and the risk for relapse is reduced. At Enlightened Solutions, we recognize how difficult facing one’s emotions can be, which is why we focus on holistic healing. We want you to recover in your mind, body, and spirit. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to alcohol and/or other substances or behaviors, we can help. We recognize the power addiction can have over one’s life and offer solutions through detoxification, residential, outpatient care, and sober living. We recognize you and your ability to overcome substance use disorder. You are not alone. Reach out to us at (833) 801-LIVE and learn how we can help. You deserve recovery and the life you always wanted. 

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