There are a number of emotional processes that we go through in recovery.
At the time when we first get clean and sober, most of us suffer from at least some degree of emotional turmoil. Specifically, here are a couple of common issues that many recovering addicts might be dealing with in early recovery:
1) Emotional roller coaster – ups and downs of early recovery, this is very common
2) Resentments – bottled up anger that we might be holding on to, very toxic to our overall emotional health
3) Self-pity – Another toxic emotional struggle some will go through.
4) Emotional immaturity – reacting to our emotions in an unhealthy way
5) Poor communication – lacking the ability to effectively communicate our emotions with others
A large part of the growth that we make in recovery is in learning how to better deal with these emotional challenges.
An example: eliminating self-pity
I was especially prone to self-pity in early recovery, and had to learn how to effectively deal with it and eliminate it from my life. This was a learning process.
What did the process consist of? I had to:
1) Become aware of the problem – feedback from others can help us identify our emotional issues
2) Make a decision – to take action and work on eliminating self-pity
3) Increase awareness – if you want to eliminate an unhealthy emotion, you have to be on guard against it
4) Use a zero tolerance policy – forcing myself to find other ways to deal with my emotions, instead of lapsing into self-pity
5) Practice gratitude – as suggested to my by others who had overcome self-pity
How did I go about accomplishing this? I didn’t sit down and write out a bunch of processes. Instead, I saw that my habit of self-pity was dragging me down in a number of ways, and I envisioned my life without it. This was the motivating factor that drove me to take action.
After envisioning an emotionally healthy life for myself (without the “crutch” of self-pity), I was able to make progress towards that goal, through a simple willingness and taking some basic suggestions. The processes revealed themselves to me, without really having to search for them.
This is a key point: the overall vision that you hold is more important than focusing on processes. That’s because the vision holds so much creative potential. The processes will tend to care of themselves.
Strive for emotional balance and stability in your life and you’ll enjoy a much smoother recovery.