THE PURPOSE OF FEELINGS
Feelings or emotions are physiological states that motivate action. Each feeling gives you specific energy and direction for movement. This is how problems are solved. First, there is a situation that triggers thought. The thoughts create feelings, which motivate action (what you do as verb). This is how all problems are solved. A person becomes involved in a problem, thinks about the problem, has feelings generated by the thoughts, acts on the feelings, and hopefully resolves the issue. This complete process of looking at feelings and addiction rehabilitation goals results in more positive experiences than negative. Leave the feelings out and you’re looking for trouble, or negative experiences.
Core Feelings and Addiction Rehabilitation
There are only a few core feelings. More complicated feelings are various combinations of the primary ones. Plutchik (1980) studied feelings and found that there were eight primary emotions.
- Joy Fear
- Acceptance Anger
- Anticipation Disgust
- Surprise Sadness
Each of these feelings gives us specific energy and direction for movement. We need to discuss each feeling carefully and have you learn specifically what each feeling is like. Then you can recognise when the feeling occurs, and you will know what the feeling is telling you to do. You need practice in experiencing the subtle physiological changes that differentiate each feeling from the others.
Joy is that feeling we experience when we reach a goal that we have been striving for. The harder we have been working for the goal, and the more important the goal is to us, the more joy we feel. List five times when you felt joy in your life. As you write down each situation, take a moment to re-experience the feeling you had at that moment in your life. Feel the situation as if you were actually there.
Joy gives us the energy and direction to celebrate and enjoy. It directs us to seek more of whatever is giving us this pleasure.
Acceptance is the feeling we get when someone likes us or approves of us. List five times in your life when you felt accepted. Allow yourself to feel the feeling as your remember each situation.
The feeling of acceptance gives us the energy and direction to stay involved with the person or group that is accepting. It is a feeling that bonds people together.
Anticipation is the feeling we get when we prepare ourselves for change. It mobilizes us for something new. We can anticipate something good or bad. List five times when you felt an intense sense of anticipation. Re-experience the feeling of each situation.
Anticipation gives us the energy and direction to mobilise ourselves for change. We prepare ourselves for something exciting.
Surprise is the feeling we get when something unexpected happens. Surprise gives us the energy to orient ourselves to a new situation. List five times when you felt surprised. Feel the feeling that you felt each time.
Surprise mobilizes our bodies to take in the new situation as quickly as possible. The brain is very quickly deciding how to respond.
Fear is the feeling we have when something is perceived as dangerous. Lid five times when you felt fear. Allow yourself to feel the feeling generated by each situation.
Fear gives us the energy and direction to withdraw or escape from a dangerous situation. It mobilizes us to get away from the offending stimuli.
Anger is the feeling we feel when we are violated. This violation may be real or imagined. List five times when you were angry. Feel the anger you felt in each situation. Concentrate on the physical changes that occur when you get angry.
Anger gives us the energy and direction to fight. It helps us to re-establish the boundaries around ourselves. Anger is necessary to prevent people from violating us.
Disgust is the emotion we feel when something repels us. We loathe it; it is repugnant. List five times when something disgusted you. Allow yourself to re-experience the feeling of each situation.
Disgust gives us the energy and direction to withdraw from the offending stimulation. We need to move away from the object that repels us.
Sadness is the feeling we get when we have lost something. We can lose a love object or self-esteem. List five times when you felt sad. Feel the sad feeling. Sense the subtle physiological changes that occur when you feel sad.
Sadness gives us the energy and direction to recover the lost object. If we are unable to recover the object, then the sadness can deepen. Sadness can immobilize an organism so that healing can begin to take place. The organism does not move or do new things. It stays still and recovers from the loss.
As you start taking care of your emotional needs again in sobriety, feelings and emotions that you may have been dulling for many years tend to reemerge. In early recovery, it is common to experience joy, sadness, compassion, and empathy in new ways that can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. In early recovery, you will also likely experience many people, places, and feelings that have mental associations with drugs and alcohol and may trigger the urge to use.
Learning how to cope with these emotional triggers without turning to the familiar effects of drugs and alcohol takes practice. Positive self-care and working on some basic emotional wellness skills can create a safety net in which you can learn to experience your feelings in a more comfortable way and overcome triggers to use. Here are a few strategies to help.
For more help with feelings and addiction rehabilitation contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27824424779