How Can I Cope with Triggered Emotions in Recovery?

How Can I Cope with Triggered Emotions in Recovery?

How Can I Cope with Triggered Emotions in Recovery?

Emotions can drive people to drink or use drugs. Maybe when a person drinks they feel stressed, or smoke marijuana to ease pain, loneliness, or something else. Just having those feelings in recovery can give them a desire to use – a craving. Commonly triggering feelings including anxiety, boredom, depression, and joy can be managed so they carry less weight in recovery.

Notice What Happens

Observe the feeling and see if it can be identified. Many people with addictive behaviors are masterful at avoiding emotions. What they discover is a limited understanding of their own feelings. This issue in recovery can be turned around into something positive simply by paying attention to the feeling. Learning to recognize what led to it and how powerful it feels in the body, even naming it, can help those feelings become less attached to a trigger and more just a part of daily life.

Sit with the Feeling

Honor this feeling inside of the body and mind. It is not there to do harm. Take the struggle away from it by not giving it so much power. Think about what the feeling is trying to express. Feelings are not always what they seem at first. Sadness or fear can tell you something about what you value most. Loneliness may be a clue you need more connection in life to think about who to reach out towards when things feel tough.

Be Distracted

It is important to learn how to sit with and tolerate feelings. There are also times when it is best to turn the volume down on those feelings. Use distraction if you find emotions building to stronger intensity. In a calm moment, get prepared by creating a list of places to go and activities to do so people can contact you or spend time with you.

Knowing what to do when a feeling hits will help build muscles for the journey. It takes practice to get there. Keep working on it and seeing what supports the recovery journey you are on right now. There is no easy answer or one way to do things. Simply put, there are pathways to seek that will be in support of the journey and not be about the challenges you face with each emotion. Over time, it will become easier to navigate with the right tools and resources in place.


For more than 25 years, Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center has been devoted to helping those who are struggling, to find serenity and recover. With a focus on holistic treatment for the physical, emotional, and spiritual, our program effectively rebuilds and heals what has been broken by addiction. For information on our addiction treatment program in Louisiana, call us today: 866-848-3001