One of the emotions we’re most trying to escape with our addictions is sadness. Many of us have yet to heal from the grief over the losses we’ve endured. We still have layers of unhealed pain from the traumas we’ve experienced. We find ourselves deeply sad and depressed most of our days. Sometimes our instincts when living with addiction are to avoid feeling our sadness. Our grief is so formidable and overpowering that we want to avoid feeling it as much as possible. We’re conditioned to avoid feeling any emotions that are considered negative. We’re taught only to speak of positive things and to bury our pain within us, not speaking about it, not asking for help, not trying to connect with other people who might be going through something similar. We’re conditioned to believe that speaking on our pain and admitting we need help are signs of weakness.
Mindfulness asks us to transform our relationship with our grief and sadness. We want to start accepting our emotions, no matter how difficult they are. We want to open ourselves to them rather than hiding from them. When we turn towards our pain, we shine the light of our love and acceptance on them. We’ve gotten used to using denial and escapism to avoid our pain. We turn to our drugs of choice rather than feel the painful weight of our emotions. We focus on our relationships, our jobs, our day to day life, rather than having to think about our sadness. We close off our minds and hearts as much as possible to the energy of our grief, because it’s so overwhelming and all-consuming, and as much as possible we want to avoid having to feel the pain.
How can we mindfully start working with our grief and sadness? Let’s start making the conscious decision to be brave in the face of our pain, to confront it directly and face it head on. Let’s give energy to exploring our sadness rather than running from it. Let’s ask ourselves some analytical questions. When did this pain begin? What might have caused it? What in my life is fueling and exacerbating it? How have I been trying to avoid my sadness? What am I grieving? Why am I refusing to accept this pain inside me? What do I need in order to heal?
When we practice thinking about our sadness and confronting it rather than avoiding it, we start to take our power back. We start to reclaim our ability to nurture and support ourselves through painful emotions and experiences. The process of working with our grief and sadness begins with these simple mindfulness principles. We want to give our attention and energy to exploring and examining our sadness, rather than avoiding, escaping, denying and running from it.
At Pinnacle Recovery, our personalized addiction treatment programs offer the full continuum of care, to properly treat substance and behavioral addictions, along with their underlying causes. Call 1-866-301-0573 today for more information.