Why Do People Turn to Drugs and Alcohol?Oct 15, 2020
Have you ever considered some of your maladaptive coping skills? You might turn to drugs or alcohol after a bad day. You might do a little retail therapy after a big fight with your spouse.
Do you know WHY you do this?
It’s often because you want to feel better immediately. You want those bad-feeling feelings to go away, if only for a few minutes or hours.
And who could blame you? Of course you want those bad-feeling feelings to go away.
But be careful that you do not brush your negative emotions under the rug permanently. Being distracted in healthy ways, like watching a funny video or going for a run, is a good way to relieve yourself from a flood of emotions, but ONLY TEMPORARILY. Your bad-feeling feelings will always find a way to rear their heads if you try to avoid them.
It is helpful to use an analogy to explain this. Imagine that your body starts feeling a little bit achy, so you take a painkiller. The painkiller makes you feel better almost immediately, but the effects are temporary. A few hours later, the discomfort starts coming back, so you pop another painkiller into your mouth before you feel too bad.
In your haste to avoid feeling any pain whatsoever, you simultaneously prevent your body from giving you some important information. If you were to allow the symptoms to come through, you might notice that not only does your entire body feel achy, but you also have a sore throat. What you do not know and cannot otherwise diagnose is that you have strep throat.
When you take painkillers, you feel okay, but in the background, your bacterial infection is spreading. If you never accurately diagnose the problem, you will never know that your body needs antibiotics, and the infection might spread to your kidneys, perhaps leading to rheumatic fever and even heart damage.
To be certain, there is a time and a place for painkillers, and for healthy distractions, but if you want to find the root of a problem, you have to allow the symptoms to appear.
Resilient people know this, so they start their journey by honoring those lousy-feeling emotions that others try to avoid. They give themselves permission to experience them, and they are curious about them.
They ask ...
Like emotional anthropologists, they set about exploring what they can learn from their negative emotions.
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