How Do I Manage My Emotions In Recovery?
Updated: Oct 20
Anyone in early recovery will tell you that there are times their feelings can be intensely overwhelming. Years of active addiction can have the mind, body, and spirit feeling like it’s been short-circuited.
Depletion of natural serotonin, a draining of the needed daily vitamins that keep us running at optimal levels, and a warped perspective are just a few components of the problem. Good news is that these can all be restored, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
Add to that the dark spiritual reality that people struggling with addiction have subjected themselves to, and it can at times feel like hurricane force winds raging within. But there is hope!
Millions of people, and 1 in 10 Americans, are living free and healed from addiction. A good part of healthy recovery is found in learning how to be in charge of our feelings, rather then our feelings being in charge of us.
Feelings are meant to be simple indicators of how the internal engine is running. Picture your emotions being like the lights on the dashboard that show what needs your attention under the hood.
Feelings are wonderful slaves, but terrible masters. Feelings (or emotions) are rarely a perfectly painted picture of reality, but they can be a pinpoint GPS of the area within us that is in need of some love and attention.
“...emotions are absolutely core to basic human functionality. We need them to operate and perform in the world, as well as interact with other people,” says Tor Wager, Director of the cognitive and effective neuroscience laboratory at the University of Colorado at Boulder, in an article about human emotions.
I remember being 100% clueless to this reality during my 13 years of active addiction. Even in my first year or so of recovery, it took work and intentionality to go from my emotions governing me to me governing my emotions.
Now over 12 years into my recovery from a deadly drug and alcohol addiction I’m not perfect, but I’ve been able to live in peace and health in regards to my emotional well being.