How to Deal with Emotions during Addiction Recovery

Being emotional does not necessarily mean being unable to control your feelings. Even if you experience a wide range of various emotional states, you can regulate them the way you want. It’s especially important for those who are going through the addiction recovery process. People think that to stay sober and avoid cravings one needs to get rid of strong emotional reactions at all. But it’s not actually the best strategy in recovery from substance abuse. Sobriety can pose new challenges to an addict. One of the most common emotions experienced by people recovering from addiction is anger. Suppressed anger is especially dangerous as it can suddenly erupt and cause physical or psychological harm. Even buried ager affects people around you and destroys your relationships. Admitting negative feelings can be uncomfortable at first. But facing them helps you to work through your recovery process and prevent relapse in the future. Psychologists argue that it’s essential to learn how to take control over feelings instead of rejecting them. 

The changes that take place in the brain of a recovering addict may cause mood swings and emotional instability. It can be challenging to handle strong emotions, but for successful treatment at a free drug rehab (click here) a patient should be able to use self-regulation techniques that help to establish a healthy relationship with your feelings. 

Emotions and Substance Cravings
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Urges can trigger an intention to get back to substance intake because the intensity of negative feelings can be really high. At the moments of weakness you should try to take a step back and ask yourself the following questions: 

What am I feeling now?

What is happening right now?

What do I really want at this moment that I try to replace it with drugs?
Try to be aware of your feelings and notice what’s triggering them. Reflect on the reasons that caused negative emotions and decide if the behaviors or situations can be changed.

Most common emotions experienced in addiction recovery


Shame makes you think that something is wrong with you. Feeling ashamed causes social isolation and damages self-esteem. Unfortunately, it can make you retreat from support when you actually need it most. 


It’s natural to have some fear or anxiety when you get back to your duties at home or at the workplace. You may be worried about the reactions from others wondering what people will say about you and how they will treat you. Fear may be paralyzing and detrimental to your progress in recovery. Addressing your fears can help to cope with them and get back to your responsibilities after the free drug treatment program.


Traces of remorse are inevitable in addiction recovery when you come to the realization of how destructive your behavior was. But guilt because of any kind of damage you caused is a part of addiction recovery. Forgiving yourself is not always easy but it helps to start a new sober life.

Strong emotional reactions such as anger, despair, panic are an indicator of your blocked or altered feelings influenced by drugs. In this situation, you could get help from someone you trust about the way you feel. It may happen that just getting the feeling off your chest can make it less intense. If emotions are so intense that they don’t pass, turn to a mental health professional to find out what role brain chemistry plays in your suffering. A healthcare worker can help you with medical treatment or teach you to manage your emotions to stay sober. There is also another great option at free rehab centers which is support groups. Attending these groups can inspire you to reach your goal and get rid of doubts when there is too much discomfort from overwhelming emotions. 

Build resilience

Build resilience
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Being resilient to negative feelings means being able to face them and manage them. The first step to resilience is to be aware of your emotional states and their relation to your thoughts and behaviors. Having insight into these relations helps to confront negative feelings. Moreover, emotions are short-lived and sometimes it can be enough just to notice and observe them. Meditation and yoga are perfect tools for that. Resilience is built not only through managing negative feelings, but through experiencing more positive emotions too. Undoubtedly one should have multiple sources of pleasure to stay strong when facing undesirable feelings. Do activities that help you enjoy your life and encourage sobriety. These can be playing music, meditation, walking yoga, or anything that helps you to feel peaceful and happy. Another element of resilience is mindfulness that means staying focused on your purpose. Being mindful means to direct your thoughts to positive aspects of your journey to sobriety instead of ruminating negative thoughts. 

Note that resilience is not a trait that one either has or not. On the contrary, it is buoyed by thoughts and behaviors in your control. The way you act and manage your emotional states has an influence on resiliency which is a conscious choice. 

Restrain from addictive substances

In the beginning, urges can be so strong that you will crave substances to get emotional relief. But if you choose drugs or alcohol to deal with distressing feelings, you will never recover from addiction as they push negative emotions aside temporarily. It’s always possible to manage feelings in a healthy way that supports your sobriety. Try to keep things in perspective and make the right choice for a better life. There are a number of mental health residential services in Florida if you find you are in need of professional help getting through a difficult time.

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