One Way To Overcome The Emotional Aspect Of Addiction

While there is a physical reason for addiction, there is also a strong emotional one. Many addicts turn to drugs and alcohol because they do not know how to handle the difficult emotions that pop up during everyday living. If you are in this situation, it is vital that you attend counseling and learn how to resolve your emotions healthily or you won't be able to overcome your addiction. 

One wonderful tool for resolving emotions is called a thought record. Here is how you can do it with a common example to help you understand the steps.

1. Think about a situation that caused high emotion. What were you doing, where were you, and who were you with? As an example, maybe you got frustrated trying to sync your phone with your computer. 

2. Write down your emotions and rate them from 1 to 10. Perhaps your irritability was an 8 and your anxiety a 7 in the example above. 

3. Write your initial thought. What were you thinking during that moment? Write down several if more than one comes to mind. Don't judge the thoughts as "correct" or "incorrect." Just write them down as they come to you. With the phone, you may have been thinking "I should be able to do this." This may be followed by a more negative thought like "I am stupid." 

4. Now, write down any evidence that supports those thoughts. Has someone told you those things before? Have you thought them before? Some supporting evidence for "I should be able to do this" could be that you have been shown how to do it before, it is simple to do with only a few steps, or that close family members can do it without any problems. 

5. Briefly consider the consequences of those thoughts. If you keep thinking this way, what will happen? If you continue being frustrated over syncing your phone and telling yourself negative messages about it, will you be able to learn? What could it potentially do to your health?

6. Challenge your thoughts. After you have thought of some evidence that supports your thoughts, write down some evidence that does not support them. Some evidence that does not support your original thought of "I should be able to do this" could be that you don't do it often, there are multiple ways to do it, or the programs keep changing. 

7. Look at both sides of the evidence and come up with a more balanced thought. It needs to be fair and take in both sides. An example of a balanced thought could be "I can learn to do this if I practice." You can even write down a few goals to help you resolve the thought/situation.

8. Go back and see how your original emotions rate now. In this situation, perhaps your irritability has fallen to a 2 and your anxiety has fallen to a 4 (because you still need to practice). 

As you practice keeping track of your thoughts, it becomes easier and easier to do quickly. Once you understand the beliefs and thoughts that are feeding your emotions, you will be able to understand and resolve them quickly and efficiently without turning to drugs or alcohol. 

For a professional addiction recovery program, contact a facility such as Olalla Recovery Centers.