Alcoholism and drug addiction will put even the most stable individual on an emotional roller coaster. If that individual’s emotions continue to swing wildly when he gets into rehab and recovery and he has not developed mechanisms to work with his emotions, his chances of getting through recovery and living a sober and fulfilling life will be substantially reduced. Addiction recovery is more than just ending the unhealthy relationship that addicts have with the substances they are abusing. More critically, recovery requires an addict to achieve an emotional balance and to develop healthy mechanisms to address the peaks and to raise the valleys of the mood swings that the addict will inevitably experience.
The importance of emotional balance and stability is reflected in those addicts who are able to keep themselves away from drugs or alcohol but who continue to exhibit destructive behavior. Their emotions and mood swings continue to control their lives and they fail to demonstrate the level of emotional maturity that would otherwise help them lead a normal and productive life. Individuals succumb to drug or alcohol addiction when they begin to use these substances to cover or subdue negative emotions. Negative emotions and bad feelings will not end once an addict is able to wean himself away from addictive substances. If an addict does not learn healthy ways to deal with these emotions, he is more likely to experience a relapse and to fall back into drug or alcohol abuse.
Recovering addicts can work toward emotional balance and stability by following the path laid out for them by their counselors and therapists. The process is rarely as simple as doing a few exercises and coming out clean when those exercises are done. Recovering addicts and all other individuals who want to maintain any emotional balance should devote time every day, for example, to meditate and to develop a sense of mindfulness. They can participate in support groups with people who understand the difficulties of recovering from addiction and who can offer support and encouragement when a recovering addict’s emotions feel like they are getting out of hand. Rather than pushing negative feelings down and trying to cover them, recovering addicts should try to acknowledge and embrace those feelings and to respond to them in a mature and intelligent manner. Addicts who have had no practice in doing this will need to open themselves to suggestions and support from their therapists and support groups.
Emotional balance and stability will also be enhanced when a recovering addict accepts a level of spirituality into his life. Spirituality is not the same thing as a belief in God or accepting the belief systems of an organized religion. Instead, spirituality urges individuals to acknowledge some higher power in their life that they do not control, but which offers guidance and assistance to everyone. Individuals who adopt a spiritual mindset are often less fazed by life’s ups and downs and are better able to keep challenges in a greater perspective.
Achieving a sense of emotional balance will always be an art and not a science. If you are a recovering alcoholic or drug addict and you are struggling with your own sense of emotional balance, please call the counselors and therapists at the Last Resort Recovery Center (near Austin, Texas) at 512-360-3600 for help in working toward that balance. We can give you advice and encouragement on how to develop and maintain your emotional balance as you work toward a sober and drug or alcohol-free life.