Each recovering individual’s journey will be different, but they all need one thing in common: a support system. Emotional support is critical. You should not have to struggle with your emotions alone. There are strategic ways you can find emotional support throughout your journey.
Learning to manage your emotional health is an essential skill to prevent you from having relapses. This is because relapse is not a momentary event but a process. All physical relapses begin with emotional relapses. To become a “pro” in your emotional wellness journey, you must educate yourself about your emotional health and the most effective methods of properly managing it.
Below are five ways you can find emotional support during your recovery journey.
#1. Connect With Trusted Family Members and Friends
Early sobriety is a time when you may experience many unpleasant emotions. The last thing you should do when they appear is isolate yourself or bottle up these emotions. At times like these, you can pick up the phone and call a trusted family member or friend. It takes honesty and humility to reach out. It may be hard, but talking with someone who cares about you can be soothing.
Build a strong social support system around you. Ask a few trusted family members and friends if they will let you contact them regularly to safeguard your mental health. Then, when one is not available to talk, another person who can listen will be there.
Though support for yourself is important, ensure this relationship is not all about you. While engaging in conversations, ask about what the other person is going through. Two-way conversation is more fulfilling, and your loved ones will appreciate the returned support.
#2. Acknowledge Your Full Range of Emotions
You can also be your own best support system. Learn more about emotional wellness and accept the normalcy of having a wide range of emotions during recovery. Getting comfortable with big and difficult emotions is an informative self-care process. Being emotionally healthy does not mean being happy all the time. Instead, emotional wellness means that you are aware of your feelings and behaviors and their effects on you and those around you.
When you achieve more self-awareness about your emotional state, you can develop more adaptive behaviors to help you cope with difficult emotions. These coping skills can become healthy habits that gradually reshape your emotional wellness. Keeping a reflective journal is a good self-care practice. Integrate self-affirming mindfulness exercises into your daily routine. You may find power and support coming from within yourself.
#3. Recommit to Therapy and Group Counseling
Perhaps you have been going through the motions with your therapist and 12-Step group. These are excellent sources of encouragement, but taking them for granted is easy. When you need more emotional support, you can recommit to using these avenues for support in a new way. Try to engage deeper with your therapist or your 12-Step group members. Ask your sponsor to spend one-on-one time with you or do activities with your peers outside group meetings.
You can also integrate other types of therapy into your recovery toolkit, such as experiential therapy. Engaging in hands-on activities such as arts and crafts can create a new space for your creativity. Participating in outdoor activities also has many benefits, like learning a new hobby, increasing physical and emotional wellness, or making new friends in a sober setting.
#4. Plan Some Sober Social Events
For many people in recovery, loneliness, and boredom are two major challenges that cause low emotional energy. Sometimes emotional support comes from fulfilling social needs. If that is the case for you, try planning some sober social events to make recovery more fun. Planning and hosting such events can distract you from negative thoughts. Alternatively, look into regular fun sober social events offered by your treatment center.
Sober social events might include community service opportunities. Try participating in charity organizations so that you can be part of helping others and giving back to the community. Involving sober friends in community service also deepens relationships and a shared sense of purpose.
#5. Consider Emotional Support Animals
Some recovering individuals feel unprepared to venture into a broader social world. Keeping an emotional support animal might be good for your emotional well-being. First of all, animals keep you company. Secondly, they can provide a fresh perspective on life for you as their owner. Last but not least, they do not bring judgment, and you can communicate freely and nonverbally with them.
Many animal-assisted programs offer emotional support benefits even if you are not ready to keep a pet around during recovery. Take equine therapy, for example. You get to spend time caring for a horse. Interacting with intelligent animals such as horses can provide mental stimulation for human beings. You could also volunteer at an animal shelter where you can care for animals and reap the benefits of having them around without committing to ownership.
Emotional wellness is essential to your overall health and long-term recovery. Because addiction is a brain disease with emotional, social, psychological, and physical implications, recovery needs to touch these areas. Most importantly, you must integrate effective emotional self-care practices into your daily routines. Building a strong support system around you is also an important part of that self-care mentality.
Do you know that emotional relapses precede most physical relapses? This is why emotional wellness is essential for relapse prevention. Finding emotional support is essential. A few common ways to gather this support include spending quality sober time with family and friends, talking with an accountability partner, joining a hobby group, participating in 12-Step group meetings, or using animal-assisted therapy for emotional support. Laguna Shores can help you interact with all of these options. We have experienced mental health professionals who apply evidence-based treatments to personalized plans. Through our various programs, which include medical detox, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and 12-Step programs, we will also connect you with a community of recovering individuals. Call us today at (866) 774-1532.
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