There is a significant relationship between emotions and stimulants. Many people start using it because of the feelings of euphoria or tranquility that psychoactive substances can cause. People often turn to drugs or alcohol to deal with a stressful day or bad news, or to feel accepted when they feel lonely or intimidated.
For many who use drugs and alcohol on a regular basis, these substances often move from an occasional form of stress relief to being an essential part of their ability to deal with difficult emotions. Positive experiences and excitement can also trigger a craving for intoxication, such as when celebrating important events or during exciting events such as concerts, events and sports competitions.
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In the process of addiction, emotions often take a back seat to stimulants. Most addicts are unable to address their emotional needs as they struggle with the anxiety and instability caused by addiction and the constant need to get intoxicated. This often leads to periods of extreme emotional neglect, in which the addicted person may begin to feel isolated, numb, and disconnected from the outside world.
When emotions arise without substance
When you start taking care of your emotional needs again during your sobriety period, the feelings and emotions that you have dulled for years may come back. In the early stages of abstinence, it is common to feel joy, sadness, compassion, and empathy in a new way, which can be refreshing and overwhelming at the same time. In the early phase of recovery, it is very likely that you will come into contact with many people, places and feelings related to drugs and alcohol in your mind, which can trigger an impulse to use stimulants.
Learning to deal with these emotional triggers without resorting to drugs and alcohol takes practice. Positive self-care and working on basic emotional balance skills create a safety net in which you can learn to experience emotions in a much more comfortable way and overcome your incentives to use psychoactive substances. Here are some helpful strategies.
First, try to be aware of your emotions. Simply being able to stop and reflect on emotions as they arise can reduce the effect they have on you. The ability to see emotions as they arise, label them, and accept their transient presence in your body and mind gives you the ability to decide how to respond to your feelings rather than fall prey to the automatic thoughts and behaviors that these emotions can provoke. Awareness and mindfulness in watching your emotions flow, figuratively speaking, places you in the backseat and gives you a choice as to how you will respond. Keeping a diary of thoughts and triggers can be helpful in becoming more aware of your general behavior patterns as well as in tracking your progress.
Second, work on a stronger connection of mind and body. Emotions often trigger a physical response linked to the reward system in your brain. After years of reacting to a certain situation with stimulants, it will take some time to get rid of this automatic association. It can be helpful to realize what physical sensations you may be experiencing when you feel the urge to get high.
Practices such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises are able to improve contact with your body, which will help you catch the triggers as they arise. These types of activities can also be a positive tool to help you overcome stimulant-free triggers by calming your mind and body. A thing as simple as taking long deep breaths and counting to five as you inhale and exhale can cause your nervous system to calm down when you feel like intoxicated. These crucial few seconds of awareness of your mind and body will help you overcome temptation and get back into balance.
Third, discover ways to deal with stressful moments. Having a worry stone object to twist in your fingers when you feel anxious is an example of a sense-based strategy to calm your body and mind. Other ways, such as getting up and going for a walk, listening to music, coloring, hitting a punching bag, or playing with your pet, can help you survive emotional triggers without resorting to stimulants.
Another important remedial measure in the recovery process is creating a support network. Going to meetings and getting to know other sobering addicts can help build a group that will support you in the most difficult moments of abstinence. In moments of intense urge to intoxicate yourself and lose your mental clarity, calling someone who can help you process and hold that feeling sometimes means resolving the dilemma between intoxication and staying sober.
It is important to find strategies to increase your emotional awareness and mind-body connection as well as methods that work for you. Investing in emotional health and social connection can help you control emotional triggers and overcome temptation and difficult times other than by taking drugs or alcohol.