Balanced Emotional Regulation in Addiction Recovery
One of the most common myths in addiction treatment is that once you start your recovery, your whole life will be perfect and you will be a ray of sunshine. But is that really how things work—or even should work? Emotional regulation can help you gain some of that sunshine.
Positivity is highly encouraged in the addiction community. To paraphrase the founder of Moderation Management, Audrey Kishline, the best predictor of how effective addiction treatment will be is how effective clients think the treatment will be. If you have positive feelings and about the outcome of your treatment, your treatment will most likely yield positive outcomes.
Yet many people in recovery think that having more positivity means ignoring and suppressing negative feelings. Unfortunately, this mindset often brings people more troubles than benefits.
Suppressing Negative Emotions Intensifies Them
Tal Ben-Shahar, professor of a popular Harvard University class entitled “Positive Psychology,” says that suppressing your negative emotions will actually intensify them. Not only does suppressing negative emotions intensify them, it also blocks your ability to have positive emotions. “When we suppress these painful emotions, they intensify, they become stronger, they prevent us, often, from experiencing positive emotions,” says Ben-Shahar. This is what emotional regulation is all about.
Instead of feeling negative for a moment and then moving to a new emotion, you will sit and stew in the negative emotion while attempting to suppress it. However, by allowing yourself to have the negative feelings, you will accept your own humanity. These feelings include:
The key to allowing yourself to move on to more positive feelings and grow in emotional regulation is to allow yourself to feel all emotions.
You Don’t Have to Change You to be Happier
Positivity is an important tool in sober recovery, but positivity doesn’t mean you have to change your personality. You don’t have to become a bubbly, outgoing, charismatic extrovert. Being a normal person who has faith in the power of treatment will make the difference on its own without you changing yourself.
The key to recovery is to have a healthy emotional life. To accomplish this, you must feel free to experience both sides of the emotional spectrum. Allow yourself to be human, and to be yourself.
If you are looking for substance abuse treatment that places an emphasis on developing a healthy emotional life, call Serenity House Detox today at 866-294-5306. Our team of medical detox experts will get your recovery started the right way.