Life can be overwhelming and confusing. The range of human emotion is vast and uncontrollable. We feel what we feel. We can experience joy and fear and rage and love in the spread of a moment. Our state of mind depends on our feelings and the stress they create, either good or bad. While we cannot dictate what we feel or when we feel we can determine how we react. As people in recovery, we need to know how to get through both the smooth and the rough. Not having the skills to tolerate stress can lead to disaster.
Some people seem to have a natural ability to handle stress. Some of that comes from genetics. It is possible to inherit the effects stress had on our ancestors. If our ancestors coped well, we inherit a more resilient make-up. The opposite is also true. Resiliency is heavily determined by our parents, not only genetically but behaviorally. If we grew up watching the most important people in our lives managing well with stress, we absorb those lessons, directly and indirectly. If we were surrounded by people who lacked these skills, then we how could learn them? It is important, whether or not it is good or bad, stress is stress.
As people in addiction, we have demonstrated that we sometimes lack the ability to deal with stress. We learned, somewhere, somehow, to manage our feelings through our addiction. Instead of facing them, we hide. We drown them. Or we celebrate them to the point of intemperance. In recovery, we need to build the skills to cope.
First, if we build an open and honest awareness of our emotions and how they affect us. Doing this, we can decide to respond thoughtfully rather than reacting impulsively. Attending groups or seeing a therapist helps us identify the skills we have and to learn the skills we don’t. If we can find the things that create a sense of accomplishment, like going back to school or doing well at a job, we can use that to steady ourselves when things get rocky. Spiritual practices, like meditation or yoga, can help us build a distance the space to sort what we feel and how we want to react.
Where to get help
Do you find yourself treating stress with drugs and alcohol? Are you overwhelmed by your emotions? At Fort Worth Recovery, we use Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to help people dealing with addiction to develop the skills to cope with their feelings? Call us today at 844.332.1807.