Emotional Regulation through Recovery Skills:
Addictions recovery is just like the procedure of getting mature because an addict has to follow almost all norm of growing up while going through the treatment process.
Addiction’s treatment requires life style. Following are the changes which allow the process of treatment to occur.


  1. Checking of addicts beliefs:
    It is commonly observed that an addict has somehow negative self beliefs since childhood which move him towards low and unhealthy self-esteem and feeling of self neglecting. They found themselves unlovable and unworthy. They feel isolated and neglected. This kind of beliefs should be checked and this would be the first step towards the treatment of addiction. Such kind of negative self care beliefs should be questioned. Answers should be honest because this step will contemplate the addict’s idea of change.
  2. End of isolation and beginning of interaction:
    The feeling of isolation and being a disliked person keeps the addict at a distance from other beings but it is a misconception of an addict because there are near and dear ones around him who love him and support him in all circumstances. In recovery the addict is helped to connect with these kinds of people. He is realized that his feeling of isolation and indifferences is nothing but false perception. This step moves him towards the learning of accountability and honesty.
  3. Self Reflection:
    Feeling of isolation and dejection let the addict not to look inside him. Recovery process demands to avoid and reflect the inner feelings. Observation of internal state is inevitable for learning the skills of impulse control and emotional regulation. In recovery the addict is trained to be realistic towards his emotional response without the help of drug.
  4. Tolerance Building:
    Any addict falls under the prey to a drug to get rid or to bury the feelings of insanity, lowliness, dejection or rejection or being ignored etc. when addict try to give up a drug, it moves him back towards the same feeling, he was avoiding to experience. For the effective recovery he has to master the skill to realize and label his own emotion. Through emotional regulation he learns to accept his feeling and also be able to deal with them same fully and effectively. He is provided with the alter nature choices to deal with painful memories and the resulted emotions without relying on drugs.

Dos of Emotional Regulation in Recovery
Attending the follow-ups. It provides the opportunities to learn the better coping skills to manage the recovery challenges. These strategies can be used to deal with emotional upheavals of early recovery.

Regularly attend the A.A and N.A. Tt is a great way of support. Newly Sober individuals can advice them who have faced the same challenges.
Honest sharing with therapist and family can help to talk about the problems quite openly. It can also help to learn the effective ways of dealing with strong emotions.
In recovery guilt can be very destructive. It is one of the major relapse triggers. So, it should be dealt skillfully. To avoid guilt the most important thing is to just focus on the present not on the past and future.

Complaint behavior regarding medicines. Addicts may show resistance to prescribed medication, due to assumed side effects referring to internet.
Good news is that by following the treatment protocols and principles one doesn’t need drugs and alcohol in order to cope with his/her difficult and unpleasant feelings.

By Shumaila Batool, Clinical Psychologist


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