Drug and alcohol addiction can cause feelings and behaviors that the addict would have never predicted. At some point, the clutches of addiction become too strong, so an addict decides to seek treatment.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a main point of principles of addiction treatment is to address all of a patient’s needs rather than only substance abuse. One needs that must be met in rehab is the ability to control your emotions, as it can vastly improve your treatment experience.
How Emotions Affect Addiction
Addiction recovery is a time of great change, which often brings a variety of emotions. As addicts begin to experience freedom from drug and alcohol abuse, the following positive emotions may surface:
Although there are endless reasons to feel positive throughout treatment, recovery from addiction is difficult, so every addict will experience trials and setbacks. In other words, negative emotions are common during recovery, which can devastate addicts who are unprepared. Recovering addicts may feel any of the following negative emotions:
- Feeling unnerved
InsecurityAddicts in rehab usually experience many positive and negative emotions at the same time. Furthermore, addicts may experience emotional shifts often during the recovery process: an addict may feel hopeful after therapy, but she may quickly become unsettled at the onset of a craving.
Benefits of Emotional Control During Rehab
Even before checking into rehab, your situation may seem out of control. People who enter rehab may have suffered from the consequences of addiction, like social isolation, financial ruin or self-doubt. These damaging results of addiction play into a sense of helplessness during rehab, which is why patients must learn to control their emotions. Being able to recognize, acknowledge and rationalize your emotions can help you have a more productive, focused time in rehab.
Benefits of Emotional Control After Rehab
Even after rehab ends, recovering addicts must maintain emotional control. When leaving rehab, people return to environments where relapse becomes a real concern. When the urge to use drugs or alcohol becomes overwhelming, many addicts fall back into the self-destructive habits as before rehab began. In other words, being able to control your emotions can go a long way to help addicts prevent relapse.
Gaining Control over Emotions
According to Narconon International—a non-profit organization dedicated to drug prevention, education, and rehab efforts—a successful rehab program provides courses on life skills, like coping with emotions from day to day. However, not all rehab programs offer these courses, but you can still master your emotions to foster a healthier recovery.
One of the first steps to controlling your emotions in and after rehab is by recognizing them. Many addicts struggle to recognize what emotions they feel in specific situations, so some self-awareness will help you acknowledge, rationalize and control your feelings. For example, an addict may experience vulnerability in rehab, but, after recognizing her reaction, she can take steps to address it. If you struggle to recognize your emotions, print out a detailed list of different feelings to use as a reference.
Once you can recognize what emotions you feel in a particular situation, simply acknowledge them—tell yourself that your emotions are valid, and that it is okay to feel this way. Unfortunately, this step is difficult for recovering drug addicts, as they often tell themselves that they should not be feeling apprehension, hopelessness, agitation or regret. However, these reactions to your feelings are also normal. If you are uncomfortable with the feelings you experience, remind yourself that it is natural to feel this way, and that you can control the emotion later.
Rationalizing your emotions in and after rehab is difficult, so it may require the most time and effort. While in rehab, rationalizing your emotions is typically done in a therapy setting. Your therapist can help you understand why you are feeling a particular emotion, which you can then turn into a more positive experience.
Get Help for Drug or Alcohol Addiction
You may feel intimidated to learn how your emotions influence your treatment experience and recovery efforts, so find a treatment program that will help you with this task. Call our toll-free helpline now, as our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.