How Do I Manage Anger, Resentment, And Regret With My Newfound Sobriety?
Newfound sobriety can be a bit of a dual-edged sword when it comes to the recovery process for individuals diagnosed with addictive behavioral and co-occurring mental health disorders. On the one hand, patients in addiction recovery will feel immense relief and gratitude as the huge amount of pain and confusion from an addictive disorder and subsequent substance misuse has finally abated. Even if only for the briefest amount of time, the initial relief from newfound sobriety, often referred to as the “Pink Cloud”, is immeasurable.
On the other hand, achieving this pink cloud of initial sobriety brings with it its own set of responsibilities referred to as sobriety maintenance. The underlying emotions and unconscious motivations for substance misuse must be unearthed, and individuals must begin to learn and practice new coping skills to avoid the triggers that potentiated the unhealthy, addictive behaviors from their previous lifestyles.
Newfound sobriety is both an end to an old, unhealthy lifestyle and a beginning to working toward sustaining a new, healthier sober lifestyle. The emphasis on the latter should be placed on the word “working”, and make no mistake, just as you worked hard to perpetuate a lifestyle of substance misuse, you must also work, through self-awareness and behavioral changes, to maintain that sobriety.
After the pink cloud of relief from your initial sobriety wears thin, the sober mind will begin to come to terms with a flood of emotions that generally have been repressed from the constant altered state of consciousness that substance misuse promotes. Emotions such as anger, resentment, and regret abound as fresh wounds from trauma or dealing with the repercussions of past actions are reopened and addressed for the first time without the aid of the crutch of substance misuse.
Our assessment is in no way meant as a scare tactic, but instead, it is given to realistically prepare those in addiction recovery for the challenges that await them. Fear not, though, these feelings too shall pass, and this is in large part why many addiction recovery treatment facilities, including Choice House, have shifted their programs of service to a dual-diagnosis approach to addiction recovery.
Importance of Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
Dual-diagnosis treatment in addiction recovery involves addressing and treating both the behavioral as well as psychological conditions that motivate or advocate patients toward substance misuse. Addictive disorders have co-occurring mental and physical components that both need to be treated for patients to maintain long-term sobriety. Treating one without addressing the other is a disservice to any addiction recovery patient and will most certainly result in a relapse to previous addictive behaviors and eventual substance misuse. Therapy in addiction recovery treatment will begin to handle the psychological components of addictive disorders; another reason why it is of great import that patients seek out ongoing treatment after leaving rehab facilities.
Therapy either in one-on-one or group sessions and in some cases medications like antidepressants will greatly help addiction recovery patients in finally addressing and managing the previously mentioned flood of emotions that can follow in the wake of newfound sobriety. You may initially balk at the prospect of talking about emotions and feelings and how could it solve all your problems with substance misuse. However, it really can be that simple. Identifying unchecked emotions will help you become less reactionary, and as you further discuss the psychological root of these emotions through therapy, you can begin the difficult process of healing.
Recognizing the Flood of Unconscious Emotions
Whereas ongoing therapy is an essential tool in the recovery process to help maintain long-term sobriety through addressing and treating the psychological component of an addictive disorder, it is not always as well equipped at sussing out the unconscious emotions that have yet to be recognized by an addiction recovery patient. For unearthing and recognizing these unchecked emotions, patients may find it useful to rely on the practice of mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation involves reflecting on the self through techniques like mirroring the process of breathing to be more self-aware of feelings and events in-the-moment that they are occurring. Being more present can help addiction recovery patients be less reactionary in their responses when emotions or feelings arise which will, in turn, reduce their chances of relapsing. This mindfulness will also allow them to identify unconscious emotions that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. For example, an emotion like anger does not have to be expressed in the traditional form of active, physical aggression. It can be passively expressed in giving up as well — “I am angry at my lot in life, so I just give up on trying.” Also, mindfulness will help you unearth and identify some of these non-traditional and unconscious expressions of emotion that advocate addictive behavioral disorders.
Once leaving rehab, maintaining sobriety should at least involve ongoing therapy which can be one-on-one sessions or even just attending group meetings. Adding the practice of mindfulness meditation is also a great tool that can assist in continuing long-term sobriety. Guided sessions can easily be found on Youtube and will do wonders for addiction recovery patients when it comes to gaining more self-awareness of the unconscious emotions that follow in the wake of newfound sobriety.
If you or someone you love needs treatment for an addictive disorder with co-occurring mental health issues, then Choice House has dual diagnosis programs of treatment that can help. We offer men the opportunity to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety through a variety of therapeutic modalities as they build themselves a new foundation based on love, empathy, and understanding. Our addiction recovery treatment programs include a 90-day inpatient service, an intensive outpatient program, and a sober living campus. Choice House rehab facilities are ideally located right outside the Rocky Mountain National Park, and we take full advantage of having the beatific Rocky Mountains literally in our backyard by offering a unique outdoor wilderness therapy modality. Outdoor therapy allows men to reconnect with themselves, nature, and fellow recovery patients through physical activity like hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking. We firmly believe the bonds of friendship that you form here will last a lifetime and prove vital to the recovery process. For more information regarding Choice House facilities or treatment programs, please give us a call at (720) 577-4422.