My therapy starts with individuals figuring out why they abused a substance in the first place. Often times it comes down to one of two reasons. The first one has to do with having fun with friends. You would party with your friends and they were able to party on Friday night and Saturday. After that, they could live a normal life and not think about partying until the next weekend. Those with the disease of addiction developed a craving and an uncontrollable urge to use every day and when you didn’t use you had physical aliments from it. The second reason people abuse a substance is because life sucks sometimes. Something happened to you or someone you love and it was too much for you to handle and you found a way to not feel whatever emotion was involved. (NOTE: not everyone will be able to put themselves perfectly into one of those boxes)
The place where your drug abuse meets the emotion you don’t want to feel is where long term treatment begins. Remember, this is after you have made the necessary behavioral changes. No matter what situation you find yourself in there are emotions involved.
If you are suffering from an addiction right now - start by asking yourself some questions. What emotions do I feel that I know are uncomfortable to me? What emotions am I wanting to numb? What emotions drive me to use more frequently? These emotions could come from dark times in your life. Be sure to not start this process alone. The one thing you cannot do is ignore this invisible side of addiction. In my opinion, if you ignore your emotions, you might never be able to stay in recovery.
Chris Depew is a therapist and operates a private counseling practice in Huntsville Alabama and he focuses on personality disorders, addictions, and divorce care but helps anyone find peace in the middle of troubled times.