Dealing with Emotions During Alcoholism Treatment


For men and women in alcohol addiction recovery, the emotions each individual has can be shocking in nature. Most alcoholics are numb to most emotions, except for anger or deep depression. Alcohol numbs emotional pain: It helps people to disconnect from themselves. 

So when alcohol stops numbing the body, they are often surprised at the range of emotions they experience. Small events can even trigger big emotions. A look from someone can lead to self-doubt, worry, or fear. A kind word can completely turn an individual’s outlook from sad to exultant. This wide range of feelings can be disturbing, but it’s something that should be expected when working through alcohol addiction. Here is a summary of what to expect and what you can do to get through it as smoothly as possible.

Accept That Emotions Will Be an Issue

Don’t waste your time asking “why” or trying to fight the onset of unexpected emotions during alcohol rehab. It’s going to happen. If you feel ashamed of your reactions,your emotions still won’t change. So accept them and then you can move forward.

You’re used to alcohol numbing your emotions, making you somewhat callous in the face of others’ pain – and your own pain. Without alcohol, you not only will experience a return of feeling but may have a flood of emotions that have been held inside during your addiction. Events that occurred while you were actively drinking and any sadness you felt that may have propelled you to begin drinking in the first place will now surface. All you can do is work through the process. Give yourself time and allow the psychological treatment do its job.

Learn How to Recognize Emotional Triggers

It is often helpful to recognize what triggers an extreme emotional response in your life, one of the best ways to do this is to keep a journal. Throughout the day, simply jot down when you notice a strong and/or unexpected reaction to an event. For example, if someone says something or if you see something on television and it elicits an unexpected emotional response, write it down. If that’s not possible, take a moment at the end of the day to write down what you can remember. Describe how you felt immediately before, during, and after, taking a special note of the changes. Did your skin feel hot? Did your heart race? Did your breathing change? Learning how to recognize these changes will make you better prepared, even if you can’t yet stem the emotions.

Commit to Working Through the Most Difficult Emotions

One area you should focus on during alcohol addiction treatment is working through the issues that lead to strong emotions. Addressing these issues helps to protect you from relapse in the future. So as difficult as it may be, commit to resolving these challenging issues as much as possible. This time in alcohol rehab will serve you for the rest of your recovery.

Alcohol Treatment at Michael’s House

Remember, alcohol abuse—especially long-term abuse—changes the brain’s chemistry. As a result, your emotional responses—or lack of emotional responses—change as you continue to drink. The recovery process is how your entire body rebuilds itself to become healthy again. The great news is treatment is available. You can get healthy again. Please contact us today at 760-548-4032 to learn more about our alcohol detox and addiction treatment program here at Michael’s House.