Coping With Painful Emotions in Rehab
Humans are emotional beings hardwired to resist negative emotions. It is natural to try to protect yourself from painful experiences, but sometimes that process goes too far. Often, addiction is the result of turning to drugs or alcohol in order to numb yourself to painful emotions.
As you fall deeper into addiction, you lose the skills needed to effectively cope with and manage difficult emotional turmoil. This skill can be relearned in a professional recovery program, which teaches you healthier coping mechanisms through a variety of exercises. There are multiple ways to deal with painful emotions, and it is important to find the ones that work best for you and practice them every day.
Negative Emotions In Rehab
Much of the emotions you experience during recovery will be negative, and they will be strong. You may experience any or all of the following at some point in your journey:
These emotions can either be destructive or constructive to your recovery. Participation in therapy can help you navigate your emotional landscape and help you develop healthy strategies to deal with painful feelings.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is widely recognized as one of the most effective therapies to help patients learn healthy ways to manage stressful situations and negative thought-patterns. CBT is based on the belief that you have the power to make positive changes in your life by actively working to modify destructive thoughts and behaviors.
Therapists use CBT methods to empower recovering addicts in a variety of ways:
- Providing simple, effective tools for changing negative beliefs
- Strengthening confidence and sense of self-determination
- Helping to visualize the future in a positive way
- Working to develop stronger, more trusting relationships
- Teaching practical ways to prevent relapse
- Helping to cultivate sober activities to replace substance abuse
This type of therapy is effective in individual, group, and family therapy sessions. It employs a wide array of activities and tools to help you identify which ones work for you and how you can incorporate these strategies into your everyday life.
Tools to Cope
Every individual will respond differently to the tools and strategies they learn in rehab. Here are a few that can be effective when relearning how to handle painful emotions:
- Replacement Activities—These are alternative activities that you can do to replace drug use. These include healthy options such as playing a sport, starting a DIY project, listening to or playing music, or going to a movie.
- Journaling – This is an extremely effective tool to help addicts recognize painful emotions or thought patterns and replace them with a positive outlook. It can also be a valuable outlet to explore fully any negative emotions that arise during recovery and allow inward reflection throughout the process.
- Holistic Management—This means finding ways to successfully manage and overcome cravings or other stressful situations. Developing practices such as yoga, meditation, or daily exercise creates a healthy outlet for stress, while simultaneously addressing your mind, body, and spiritual needs.
- Life Skills—These skills help you recognize a situation and respond appropriately. Knowing how to say no to drugs or alcohol offers, when to call a friend or therapist, and how to navigate situations that might trigger relapse are all skills that can be learned with professional treatment.
Start Your Journey
If you or a loved one are battling addiction in Washington State, Recovery Village Ridgefield is here to help. Our peaceful mountain retreat provides the perfect setting with which to re-connect with yourself and learn the skills you need to lead a meaningful life. Our multi-disciplinary treatment plans are developed to suit your individual needs and combine multiple methods that address your mind, body, and soul. Contact us today to learn more.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.