The Importance of Emotional Recovery When Overcoming Addiction
- Kate Pindera
- 27 Aug 2020
Emotional recovery plays a pivotal part in the complete healing process from addiction. It helps unpack painful emotional trauma that may have led to substance abuse and provides continuous support to make sure it doesn’t hold any power over them anymore as they transition into a new life of sobriety. Without it, relapse will always be a possibility.
The emotional recovery process is not only limited to the person who struggled with addiction but to loved ones, such as spouses, parents, siblings, and children as well, who were perhaps hurt, stressed, depressed, or traumatized by the entire ordeal as well.
The Connection Between Emotional Trauma & Addiction
Addiction is 50 to 60% due to genetics. Still, countless studies have also established a definite connection between substance use disorder and severe emotional trauma, stemming from:
- Sexual or physical abuse
- The sudden death of a loved one
- Neglect from childhood
Overwhelmed and not knowing how to deal with anger, loneliness, shame, and despair, individuals who have been through situations like these oftentimes turn to alcohol or illicit drugs in the hopes that they can escape and forget their trauma.
It becomes exponentially more problematic when the person is also suffering from a misdiagnosed mental illness. They have twice the risk of developing an addiction than the general population due to the neurological component that makes their brain more vulnerable and unable to resist the intense urge to seek and abuse highly addictive substances compulsively. When this happens, dual diagnosis treatment involving integrated addiction and psychiatric therapies is implemented to address the underlying mental illness and guarantee emotional recovery.
Emotions That May Be Harmful to Addiction Recovery
Addiction is a chronic brain disease that creates distortions on a person’s emotions, perceptions, and way of thinking. It messes up their emotional stability, which means that they may not yet have what it takes to properly process how they feel about themselves, their friends and family, or their lives sober.
Some examples of strong emotions that can threaten one’s recovery include:
A person who once struggled with addiction can fear many things. They fear the stigma and being unaccepted back into society. They fear that no one or no life is waiting out there for them.
Suppressed anger is another potent emotional trigger that should be addressed during emotional recovery programs. There’s anger at one’s self for getting into addiction and not having the strength and willpower to overcome it on their own. There may also be unconfronted anger towards family members or abusers who have caused them emotional turmoil since childhood, contributing to substance use.
A person may also be dealing with overwhelming guilt from knowing that they have brought stress, shame, and heartache to their family and friends while they were deep into the addiction. They may feel unworthy of affection, pushing loved ones away, refusing help, and becoming distant and depressed. Guilt is not healthy and can set a person up for relapse.
The Emotional Impact of Addiction on Loved Ones
Watching a child or a spouse become a different person because of alcoholism or drug addiction can be devastating beyond words. Oftentimes, there is also anger, guilt, shame, and depression, rooting from the helplessness in the situation or blaming themselves for causing what had happened.
Siblings of people dealing with addiction may also harbour a lot of painful emotions. There could be jealousy and hate from being taken for granted by the parents as they become consumed from looking after the other child with addiction. They could blame themselves, too, for not doing everything they can to stop the addiction. There’s also fear and anxiety that they would suffer the same fate because addiction runs in the family.
Without addressing addiction’s emotional scars in the family, it may not be safe for someone who once struggled with addiction to come home yet even after recovery. There’s a risk of getting triggered again and falling into relapse if family members are not yet ready, become hostile, or unequipped to provide emotional support.
How Do Behavioural Therapies Help in Emotional Recovery?
Sobriety can be emotionally stressful. Emotional recovery not only teaches people how to identify and overcome harmful emotions and thought patterns but also replaces them with healthy coping techniques that one can use when confronted with difficult situations that may challenge their recovery and sobriety.
At Freedom From Addiction, we have a comprehensive emotional recovery program that is designed to fit each patient’s age, personal history, and personality. Some of the behavioural therapies we offer include:
Individual counselling is key to a successful emotional recovery. Unlike other treatment centres, we concentrate on intensive one-on-one counselling with over four sessions a week. These sessions are tailored to the client’s individual needs as the challenges that come with alcoholism will differ from those that come with drug addiction.
This form of cognitive behavioural therapy addresses anger that may have been bottled up inside the patient for a long time, which may have caused the addiction. In our anger management therapy, we educate people about the damaging ramifications of uncontrolled and unaddressed anger in one’s life. We also teach them to handle situations differently using techniques like positive mentalization.
Addiction can be equally hard for family members as it is for the patient. We offer family treatment programs that encourage loved ones to take an active role in understanding the disease and participate in the healing process. We have found that it effectively achieves emotional recovery for everyone in the family as they recognize that some behaviours were done as an effect of a disease, not out of spite.
For more information about our emotional recovery program, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. A member of our team will get back to you shortly.
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