Relapse – and recovery – and closely tied to emotions.
Recent cognitive neuroscience research has confirmed that memory has an active emotional element.
And the stronger the emotion, the more clear the activated memory is experienced.
Avoid people, places and things that remind you of drinking or drug of choice; especially in early recovery.
Memory Activation Can Include All Five Senses
Emotional activation of memory can be strong and include all five senses. For most, the emotions (and emotional expectations) of major holidays create a particularly strong emotional ‘charge’: good and bad.
How does memory activation via emotion work?
For example, those involved in a close emotional relationship breakup often report that certain scents (perfume, etc) instantly activate detailed memories of the relationship. The memories can include touch, taste, scents, visual memory – and the remembered sound of the loved one’s voice.
Or, the feel of certain fabrics can instantly create detailed memories of the ex-partner. Even something as generic as a certain weather pattern (snow, rain, etc) – if experienced with a strong emotional ‘charge’ during the relationship – can activate multi-sensory memories of the ex-partner.
Mindfulness Exercise for Breaking up with Alcohol and Drugs: Gratitude
Gratitude is a very emotionally positive basis that supports emotional stability and health. Feeling of gratitude are major keys to inner peace and a happier life.
In addiction recovery, emotional stability is critical. If a positive emotional foundation can be created and maintained, then with personal work and strong intent addiction recovery is successful and continues to be successful, ongoing.
For those not in addiction recovery or struggling with addiction – feelings of gratitude help to create inner peace and happiness.
Start at the Beginning
If nothing else is possible regarding feeling gratitude, start at a basic point.
“I am grateful for blue skies.”
Now, look around you. Take your time – no need to rush. Truly observe as objectively as possible.
“I am grateful for the breeze on my face; for the trees that look so beautiful this time of year.”
Now, take a deep, slow breath – and breathe out, slowly and softly.
“I am grateful I can see and experience these things.”
Repeat this exercise for several minutes: until feelings of agitation, depression or the desire to drink or use drugs – have passed.
‘Breaking Up’ with Alcohol and Drugs
Alcohol and drug use (at least in the beginning) create positive emotional associations by releasing dopamine in the reward pathway of the brain.
The euphoric effects experienced are very similar (or identical) to feelings of ‘being in love’ experienced at the beginning of an emotional relationship.
The brain chemicals and brain functions involved with stopping an addictive substance are experienced by most as a ‘divorce’.
During recovery, alcoholics and addicts report many of the same emotions as experienced during a divorce. This includes feeling lost, wondering if happiness will ever be experienced again, wondering if you are ‘good enough’ – and learning to live without the significant other.
The Good News
Individuals survive divorce and bad breakups. Along the way, the individuals involved become stronger as a result.
If you are having problems with out of control drinking or drugging – you need to breakup the bad romance with your substance of choice. Immediately.
Sobriety is Possible
No one will claim that getting sober is easy.
However, positive change can be achieved. With a strong resolve, intent and support – sobriety is possible!
We use an integrated multi-disciplinary addiction treatment approach implemented by licensed professionals. The Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Staff includes a Physician-Addictionologist, Addiction Psychiatrist, Physician Board Certified in Pain Medicine, Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Registered Nurse, several Licensed Therapists, and an addiction Nutritionist.
We assist our clients in finding their personal connection to the spiritual. Through years of experience, we believe in the power of spirituality in the addiction healing process. We assist our clients in discovering their unique path to living a more authentic and joyful life.
Our addiction recovery programs treat the whole person and include Mindfulness for recovery and relapse prevention.
Impaired Professionals Well-Being Program and EAP Programs