Feeling isn’t always fun. That’s a hard fact to face when you are in recovery. Day in and day out of various clinical therapy groups, life coaching, mentoring, and more, brings up a lot of feelings. We don’t usually turn to drugs and alcohol to honestly confront our emotions. Usually, we turn to them to escape our feelings. Years on end of substance abuse causes a great disconnect between ourselves and our feelings. Without the euphoric crutch of drugs and alcohol, it can be overwhelming to have to feel feelings, all the time- especially the difficult ones. As a result, we do what we know. We find ways to stuff, hide, ignore, and avoid our feelings. Whether we find ourselves a replacement addiction, some new obsession, or revert to old coping behaviors like anger, rage, or depression, we run from our feelings. Unfortunately, these methods simply don’t work the way they used to. Drugs and alcohol didn’t make our feelings go away, they just put them on mute. Doing everything we can to make feelings go away also isn’t effective. Eventually, those feelings back up, stack up, and come out- one way or another. With the vulnerable disease of addiction, that way isn’t always healthy. All too often, the way stored up emotional stress comes out is through relapse. Before you reach your breaking point, look for these signs to now that your breaking point is coming. Talk to your therapist, your sponsor, life coach, or mentor, about finding a healthy way to let your emotions out and start to process what is really going on.
Stress is not just an emotional experience, it is a physical one as well. Stress is actually created by the release of stress hormones lie adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can become toxins if they are built up in our body for too long without release. Headaches, muscle pain, back pain, tense neck and shoulders, exhaustion, digestive issues, weight fluctuation- all of these can be physical manifestations of stress. Acne, skin changes, shifts in sexual drive, problems sleeping can also be signs of emotional stress. Likely, the appearance of any of these issues is doubly stressful, because you probably know they are resulting from your inability to feel whatever you need to feel.
When we are resisting feeling emotionally vulnerable, we usually cop an attitude. We become resentful, cocky, entitled, angry, judgmental, rude, and lack in comparison. We might become lazy, unmotivated, uninterested, and melancholy. Angry outbursts, blatant defiance, and a loss of respect toward others is common. Underneath the surface, we’re typically miserable about acting this way. Yet, these behaviors seem easier and more practical than dealing with our emotions.
Once we have an emotional breakthrough and move beyond what we are struggling with, we feel relief. Like magic, all of our physical and emotional symptoms of stress disappears. It takes trust, willingness, and courage to get there.
LEAD Recovery Center is an extended care program designed to help clients take practical life skills and create an autonomous life of health, balance, and happiness. For information on our residential and non-residential programs, call us today at 1-800-380-0012.