At Avalon Malibu, we know addiction can take away many things from you, including your ability to feel emotions. Individuals in recovery from addiction sometimes notice that emotions feel more intense. This can be a normal response to sobriety because often, in active addiction, the substance or alcohol numbs out your emotions. Seeking help for your addiction and feeling your emotions may sound scary, but what sobriety and recovery have to offer is worth the temporary discomfort. Addiction treatment can help you begin learning from emotions, which can allow you to understand what your needs are and help you to get those needs met in healthy ways instead of numbing them.
Why Learning From Emotions Is Important in Recovery
In treatment for addiction at Avalon Malibu, we offer many different therapies. These therapies can help you to recover from addiction and can do so in part by helping you to understand your emotions. Learning from emotions in recovery can be crucial. We understand that not all people who struggle with addiction are actively numbing their emotions. Addiction is complicated. However, whether your addiction has developed in part because of overwhelming emotions or not, once sober, you will likely notice a heightened sense of your emotions. It can be important to pay attention to these emotions and explore what they may be signaling to you.
The journal Addiction published an article written on August 11, 2022, which found that people with substance use disorders (SUDs) have greater difficulties with emotional regulation than people without SUDs. From this, we can conclude that learning from emotions in recovery, although potentially difficult, is vital to your overall well-being and ability to regulate your emotions.
The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine published an article on January 12, 2022, which stated, “Mental health is a critical component of overall well-being and exists on a continuum much like physical health.” This article discusses multiple practices in which you can regulate your emotions with therapy. The findings suggest that emotional regulation is important to mental health.
Essentially, learning from your emotions in recovery is beneficial to your mental health and can help prevent relapses later. When you have an understanding of your emotions, you can navigate life without numbing your feelings. This can allow you to experience life in new ways.
Types of Therapy and Emotions as Signals
Emotions can be thought of as signals. For example, when you notice the emotion of anger, you can pause and think about what that means for you. Try exploring what triggered that emotion and decide what you need to do, if anything, to navigate the emotion safely. Sometimes, all you need to do with an emotion is notice it, and feel it. Emotions are temporary and it is important to remember that when you try to suppress emotions that feel difficult or uncomfortable, it will not make them go away.
In treatment for addiction at Avalon Malibu, you may learn and utilize cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT. CBT is one therapeutic way in which you can learn about your emotions and how they relate to your thoughts and behaviors. Learning from emotions in this way can help you to challenge negative thought patterns as well. Another therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, is a different way to learn from your emotions. DBT helps you regulate your emotions and control any overwhelming emotions you experience with coping skills.
Getting Your Needs Met in Healthy Ways
When you can notice your emotions as signals instead of a negative response that needs to be numbed with substances or alcohol, you can work on getting your needs met in healthy ways. Asking for what you need can be intimidating or uncomfortable for some people. You may fear being an inconvenience or worry that your needs are not important enough. These fears are not accurate, and you deserve to have your needs met. A safe way to start asking for what you need could start in therapy. Working in a safe space with your therapist and discussing what your needs are, even in a hypothetical way, could help prepare you for a real situation later.
One example of a need you can ask for could include boundaries. When you are in recovery, setting new boundaries will likely come into play. You may need to ask the people in your life not to have substances around you, or another example could include conflict resolution. You may need to ask someone not to yell when there is conflict. Learning from emotions can take time, and as humans, we are always growing and evolving. With this in mind, remember to be gentle with yourself as you are on your recovery journey. You deserve recovery, and you deserve to express your emotions to have your needs met in healthy ways.
At Avalon Malibu, we understand that addiction can sometimes be connected to numbing your emotions in some way. Choosing to recover from addiction and deciding to get sober may seem difficult and scary. The idea of feeling your emotions again may be intimidating as well. Initially, your emotions may feel out of control and overwhelming, but it will be temporary. Our methods and the many different therapies that we have to offer can help you learn from your emotions. Your emotions can be signals to help you get your needs met in healthy ways. Please call (844) 857-5992 for more information on how Avalon Malibu can help you begin your addiction recovery journey today.