How to Cope Positively with Unwanted Emotions

By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: May 4, 2020

Your defense mechanism to escape from uncomfortable emotions (or emotions in general) doesn’t ever seem to go away. For so long, it has seemed easier to just be high or numbed out from any emotional experience, especially the icky ones. But while high you miss out on so much: Being available for family, friends and your children during both good and bad times. You have to learn how to manage your emotions better and not see ones such as loss as an excuse for picking up a drink or drugs. Through addiction therapy services at a professional drug rehab, you learn how to cope with unwanted emotions without the abuse of illicit substances.

Why Do Some Emotions Hurt So Badly?

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 prevent relapse during residual emotions.

How to Cope with Unwanted 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?

  1. Be aware of your emotions.
  2. Examine your present situation objectively.
  3. Ask yourself if your emotions match your current situation.
  4. Separate your past experiences from present experiences.
  5. Have a list of coping behaviors, such as exercise, prayer, or talking to a friend to offset uncomfortable emotions.
  6. Work with your sponsor and therapist to resolve underlying issues.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

One of the best ways to learn how to cope with unwanted emotions is through a cognitive-behavioral therapy program. CBT aims to change negative patterns of thinking and behavior and teach healthier, more positive patterns. A therapist works closely with the client to identify these negative patterns and create goals for making the necessary changes.

Staying Sober After Drug Rehab

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.

Help at Lakeview Health

At Lakeview Health, we understand the importance of teaching our clients how to cope with unwanted emotions in a healthy and productive way.

To learn more about how to cope with unwanted emotions through therapy and other services, contact Lakeview Health.

We also understand how coping with unwanted emotions can be even more difficult now with the current global pandemic. Our team is taking COVID-19 very seriously and taking all precautions necessary to keep our clients and staff safe during this time.

We work with most major insurance carriers.