Resiliency is synonymous with recovery in that being resilient means being able to recover quickly. Recovery means returning to a normal state of health. Therefore, to be resilient means to quickly return to a normal state of health. For addicts and alcoholics in recovery, developing resiliency in all areas of life, especially emotional, is critical.
Years of drug and alcohol addiction desensitizes the brain to emotional experiences. Addiction alters the way the brain operates in response to stress and stimuli, structurally altering the way key brain processes like operations of survival work. Tweaking the human reaction to threat, everything becomes a threat. All levels of stress are processed as a threat to survival in the brain when the brain is chemically altered by drugs and alcohol. Emotions and emotional experiences become a threat. Everytime emotions that aren’t pleasure, the experience created by drugs and alcohol, come up, the brain perceives them as a threat and reacts promptly. The primary reaction to all perceived threats in the chemically addicted brain is to seek more drugs and alcohol.
Emotions are a challenge to those in recovery. Learning to live with emotions is an intricate process. Those in recovery must first learn how to identify their emotions, then articulate their emotions. In the process, they are tasked with becoming comfortable with their emotions. Less about being comfortable with the emotion itself, they are learning to work against the chemical wiring of their brains craving drugs and alcohol with each new emotional experience. Relapsing over every emotion is not an option. Until those in recovery can build emotional resiliency, however, that may be the case. Too often, those who are in treatment find it difficult to understand that emotional experiences are just experiences and they are experiences which are passing. Feeling the weight of the threat reaction in their mind, they cannot overcome the chemical response of craving drugs and alcohol.
Emotional resiliency is built throughout the treatment process. The many treatment methods, therapeutic modalities, and healing practices increase the strength and confidence those in treatment feel about themselves and their ability to handle life. As their confidence and what is called emotional intelligence continues to build, their emotional resiliency increases. Eventually, their emotional experiences are no longer a threat, but a form of empowerment.
New Vista Behavioral Health is committed to helping you on your road to long term recovery. Begin our partnership today by calling 888-316-3665.