There is an odd notion upon getting sober that once we are through withdrawals and the drugs have left our system we are immune to any negativity. All the wonderful things of the world we have been missing out on should come rushing in and gather at our feet. No more pain, no more addiction, no more being broke, and no more sadness. Unfortunately, this just isn’t so. No matter the recovery we are in, life still happens. As human beings, we still continue to respond emotionally to life. Life is not always happy and neither are we. Negative emotions like sadness are just part of the deal.
The true gift of recovery is learning to live life on life’s terms. Essentially, learning to live life on life’s terms means taking all of life in stride- the good and the bad- then showing up to it. “Showing up” to life means meeting life as it demands to be met- dealing with negative when there is negative without being consumed, altered, or destructive. The work we do in recovery equips us to stand strong through all of life’s ups and downs. More importantly, recovery teaches us how to rise to all of these challenges without picking up drugs, picking up a drink, or reverting to old behavior.
Why it’s OK to Feel Sad in Recovery
Sadness is a natural emotion and a primary emotion. Other emotional experiences like anger are actually rooted in sadness. Feeling sad is characterized as negative but is actually a very positive experience, especially in recovery. To feel sad means to recognize loss, pain, injustice, or stress. Sadness means one is beginning to recognize the entire spectrum of emotion and not just adhering to one side of the scale.
Allowing Yourself To Feel Sad
Upon seeing someone crying or sad, there is a survivalist instinct that kicks in, called “caring”. We care that someone else is sad. Our society has been conditioned to think that sadness is threatening or wrong and should be corrected, fixed, or stopped as soon as possible. The best way to embrace and allow sadness to pass is to embrace and allow sadness to pass. Quite often, our emotions are trying to teach us something, show us something, or inform us of something.
Instead of fighting our emotions, when we authentically allow ourselves to feel, we find a deeper sense of peace once the feeling passes. We allow ourselves to be human and experience our very human emotions.
Avalon By The Sea is one of California’s only mental health facilities certified to treat psychiatric disorders as a primary diagnosis. Our beautiful estate is the perfect environment for getting back in touch with who you really are. For more information call 1 888-958-7511.