Learning to live life on its own terms is not always as easy as it sounds to the newcomer. In the first place, we hide our feelings in active addiction and numb any pain or worry with drugs and alcohol. So, it’s not surprising when we become sober and emotions arise out of thin air, we feel vulnerable. It’s been said “the good news is you have feelings, and the bad news is you have feelings” So, shutting down our feelings is no longer a choice, but rather dealing with them in a healthy, meaningful way. Of course, this takes time and is an acquired skill and not intrinsic in people who have been living in a fog of drugs or booze for years.
What Can I Do?
The key to this question is community support. While your family loves and supports you, they don’t understand addiction recovery like the people who are actually going through it. Instead, turn to support groups like Alcoholic Anonymous, a church group or by regularly seeing a therapist. As difficult as it may be for some people to accept, creating a sober support system has been shown to be pivotal to achieving and maintaining sobriety. In fact, working with a support group sponsor, in conjunction with addiction therapy has proved to be the most effective method.
There are many approaches for handling the emotional rollercoaster that early recovery brings about. For example, medication assisted treatment (MAT) can stave off acute withdrawal symptoms. In this way, people can normalize their emotions. Also, sharing your feelings with others is the old “standby”. Most importantly, developing coping strategies for stress (imagery, mindfulness, distraction) are keys to affect steadiness and prevent relapse prevention. Cognitive behavioral therapies can also help you develop a healthy relationship with your feelings—rather than turning them off. Ultimately, the goal is to improve through practice and self-awareness.
Continuing Care and Alumni Participation
Many people have the impression that going to rehab is a one-time event – you came, you went and now you are cured. That’s the movies and not the real world of recovery. In fact, anyone who has put developed a substantial amount of sobriety will tell you “completing treating is a commencement, a beginning. While one size does not fit all, most would agree that continued outpatient programs, continuing care and NEW telehealth are essential to creating a strong footing for long-term sobriety. In addition to continuing care, people can and should participate in their alumni program to bolster support from your treatment peer group. Finally, creating positive behaviors to replace addictive behaviors takes practice. In the long run, having a healthy lifestyle is more important than fear of relapse. Bottom line – you didn’t get into addiction trouble overnight and cannot get out of it overnight. Recovery takes time, perseverance, along with community and professional support.
Simple Path Recovery is a beach side, boutique addiction treatment center located in Pompano Beach, FL. Recognized as an intimate Florida Drug & Alcohol Rehab, Simple Path is committed to individualized care, 12-step integration, and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). Their addiction helpline is available 24/7 at 855-467-3625.
About the Author
Matthew Koenig is the principal of Last Call Marketing, which devotes their efforts to Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, Website Design and SEO, primarily in healthcare and tourism concerns. Mr. Koenig is based out of South Florida. His sober date is June 10, 2013.