760-216-2077 | 3451 Via Montebello #192, Carlsbad, CA 92009
Understanding Your Emotions in Early Recovery

Feelings – we all have them, and we all struggle with them no matter what stage of life we’re experiencing. In early recovery, however, emotions can be overwhelming and frightening. They may seem to come out of nowhere, and you may wonder if you’ll ever feel normal again.

Are These Feelings Normal?

In short, yes! It’s very normal to struggle with your emotions as you get clean and begin a new path to recovery. Many people recovering from addiction experience a broad range of emotions, from intense sadness and anger to even euphoria. Most of these feelings are fleeting, but that doesn’t stop you from reacting to the intensity. After all, what did you previously do when you had an emotion you viewed as negative? You used your drug of choice, most likely.

In fact, many people in recovery will tell you that they didn’t just use when they were sad or angry. They used when they were bored, scared, happy and just about every other emotion on the spectrum. Using drugs or alcohol suppressed these emotions. So it’s natural that these feelings bubble to the surface when you’re first getting clean.

When Feelings Make You Want to Use

The critical thing to remember is that this too shall pass. Emotions are often a trigger that makes people want to get high, but getting high will throw you back into a cycle that can last much longer than the feeling itself. You will end up feeling worse, and you may not be fortunate enough to make it back into recovery for a long time. Remember the reasons you wanted to get clean in the first place. Recovery is worth it.

You don’t have to use drugs to make these feelings go away. Instead, you have the opportunity in recovery to acknowledge these feelings, examine where they come from, and even take actions (like meditation, reading or other types of self-care) that can help those feelings pass more quickly. Most importantly, you don’t have to feel alone with them when they come to the surface. You can share these feelings with your support network, and they can help you learn to cope in more positive ways.

How Long Will This Last?

Emotional up and downs are a regular part of getting clean and sometimes living life itself. These intense emotions may be a roller coaster for the first month or so of being clean. However, some people may have severe mood swings that last longer than this. If this is the case for you or your loved one, it’s essential to get screened for any underlying mental illnesses.

A competent treatment center can help you navigate the storms of early recovery and can refer you to a therapist or psychiatric professional for assessment if needed.

Getting clean isn’t always easy, but there are many rewards.


Are you looking for a safe and supportive sober living option? Please call us at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options. We’re here to help you make the best possible decision for yourself or your loved one.

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