Addiction means a lot more than just taking a hit or guzzling down a bottle. Everyone has emotions. However, with an addict these emotions can sometimes be exaggerated or completely under played. Emotions play a big part of everyone’s world. Some reactions to emotions can be uncontrollable. We just need to be able to identify and cope with what we are feeling.
Anger can sometimes be felt like shockwave for everyone around it. Everyone feels some level of anger in their lives. Sometimes, we let anger build up to an extreme. That anger can play into an addiction like the drug or booze itself. Some anger can stem from resentments. Resentments left to boil can lead to an explosion or a complete shut down. Leaving resentments untreated can lead to a very dark and scary place. When you keep stuffing that anger further and further down it is just a matter of time until it resurfaces.
When it comes to the surface some people feel vindicated in their self righteousness. Unfortunately that feeling of vindication is just an illusion. You have just made yourself judge, jury, and executioner. That shockwave from that explosion touches everyone in different ways. It can become a vicious circle of you hurt me then I hurt you. Especially in family settings, festering resentments can lead to hurting ones we never intended to hurt. Sometimes, we hurt others in ways we don’t even understand. In recovery, it can be extremely helpful for your loved ones to talk to someone, too.
Depression can take a lot of forms like overwhelming sadness or manic episodes. These emotions can take the wheel. For those that feel extreme feelings of sadness, inadequacy, or worthlessness it helps to reach out. Sometimes, these emotions can keep someone from engaging in life. Depression can lead someone to just give up and accept the life their addiction has helped create.
Major Depressive Disorder is a clinical diagnosis that is given to individuals when their experience of being depressed results in a number of issues with functioning, overall outlook on life, and an inability to enjoy the positive aspects of life.
With clinical depression, daily tasks seem unbearable. Drugs and alcohol can help you feel better in a moment, but in the end you just end up feeling empty. Without reaching out for help, the depression and the addiction go hand-in-hand.
There is a correlation between mental illness and addiction. We call this a dual diagnosis. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association: 37 percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness. Some people use a substance to just feel better for a little while.
This can be dangerous because it can lead or feed into an addiction or leave a mental illness untreated. Sometimes, some people don’t notice they are becoming an addict. Going from having a drink after a hard day at work to drinking in the morning does not happen overnight.
It is when we realize we have lost control that is when we can begin to address an addiction. An addiction can keep someone feeling overwhelmingly helpless therefore feeling stuck.
Guilt and Shame
Guilt and shame are two emotions that can keep you going far longer than you ever intended or thought you would. Guilt and shame are fuel for the fire. These two emotions will challenge the progress you make in recovery, but they do not have to bring you back down. It is difficult to deal with guilt.
Acknowledging your wrong-doings is part of long-term sobriety. At a certain point in recovery you may want to go back and fix some of the wreckage of your addiction. Talk this over with your support system or therapist. Sometimes, dealing with that wreckage is something you need to do to forgive yourself.
Feeling remorse for what you’ve done is natural, just do not let it bring you back to that dark place. Shame is a little different than guilt. Shame is when you believe there is something inherently wrong with you. There is not.
Shame may leave you with feelings of self-loathing, worthlessness, or feeling trapped. Shame may hinder you from reaching out for help. Whether you feel guilty or shamed, reach out for help.
What You Can Do
Treatment for these, sometimes, crippling emotions are a part of addiction treatment. Do not let these feelings of self-righteous anger or guilt keep you from getting healthy. Mental health is just as important as a properly functioning heart. In recovery, whether it be a therapist or a higher power letting go of your shame or anger will lead to inner peace. You no longer have to carry the weight of the gavel.
Being judge, jury, and executioner is not our job. Our job, addict or not, is to take care of ourselves. We need to be sure that our side of the street is well kept.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a dependence on drugs or alcohol, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. Learn how we help people overcome addiction and begin to experience healthy, fulfilling lives!