Initially, when you enter drug and/or alcohol detox, all you can think about is the pain you may experience from withdrawal. Then it hits you, a flood of emotions: The good, the bad and the ugly. People who aren’t addicts don’t understand this unnerving experience. Your mind races from incident to incident, reliving the thoughts. But without the buffer of drugs or alcohol, you’re experiencing the emotions for the first time. It feels like being hit by several trucks all at once.
Most addicts use drugs and alcohol to avoid these unwanted emotions. When you get sober, you must learn how to avoid a relapse during residual emotions.
Different life experiences and emotions from your past (when you were actively using) have a tremendous impact on you after detox. Many times you may experience feelings that trigger all of the emotions from your past. Those are the times you typically seek out substances to numb feelings such as anger, fear, sadness, depression, confusion and anxiety.
If you are aware of how your emotions affect you, you can handle them better when they arise. How do you cope with uncomfortable emotions and stay sober?
Your past will always be there and you cannot change that fact. You do have options on how you want to live the rest of your life: In the past or in the present. All addicts have made mistakes, but it is not good to continue focusing or punishing yourself for your mistakes.
Finding resolution through making amends, forgiving and setting healthy boundaries is essential to managing your uncomfortable emotions. In drug rehab you learn about the steps to make positive changes in your life to promote sobriety. Your treatment therapist can help you cope with the past and present events causing you pain and discomfort.
By: Mark S. Gold, MD & Dr. Drew W. Edwards, EdD, MS 1. What Drives the Onset, Progression, and...
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