Overcoming the emotional pain of addiction recovery is one of the most challenging aspects of recovery.
You might already know that making the decision to recover from addiction doesn’t mean that all the emotional pain will suddenly go away. Yes, recovery can definitely make it better, but the emotional pain, the struggle, and the hardships may still be there for a period of time. In fact, that’s a big part of recovery–learning how to face that emotional pain and struggle in new ways.
But still, you might find recovery challenging.
Although you’ve learned new coping tools, you’ve still got to learn how to implement them. Although you’re learning about how to live a balanced life with the nutrition, the right amount of sleep, and self-care, you’ve still got to learn how to practice this healthy lifestyle every day.
But that’s not the only kind of struggle you may be facing. When you’re in recovery, you might fear being around triggers, old and familiar places, or friends who are still using. You might be concerned that all that you’ve worked hard for in recovery will disappear with one small bad choice. You might feel anxiety when you run into an old friend and see the little tricks she still uses to deny, blame, and cheat her way through life. And the hardest part is that you see yourself in her!
In fact, running into an old friend might actually make you start rethinking the whole thing. “Gosh, those times were fun!” you might think to yourself! “Sure, it’s crazy to have to manipulate all the time, but the highs are incredible!” Suddenly, just because you’re witnessing the manipulative tactics of your old friend, you’re caught again in the life you used to know. And perhaps you feel torn between an old life and a new life. It’s almost like having two parts of you. At times, recovery can make you feel as though you have one foot in an old life and another foot in a new one. This alone can create anxiety, stress, and emotional turmoil.
However, perhaps you’re keenly aware of the health of your children, how important your job means to you, or the love of your spouse. Perhaps you’re making those healthy and positive choices for a very good purpose. So that each time you run into an old friend or find yourself in the old neighborhood, you have a vision of your future. You know you want to be a good parent or excel in your career or be there for your spouse. And if you’ve got a purpose, then you have a plan. You know the decisions to make and you know which foot you want to stand on – the one rooted in recovery.
Although there is plenty of pain and struggle that can come with recovery from addiction, there’s also plenty of support along the way. And all you need to do is reach out for it when you need it.