Feeling, Being, Accepting: Emotional Regulation


Drugs and alcohol are anesthetizing substances. The substances we abuse had to work for us in some way. It is unlikely that we would have pursued them with such vigor, being the addicts that we are. Rhyme or reason was of no concern when it came to using and drinking. Good day, bad day, happy life, traumatized life- there was always a reason to pick up.

In the midst of our suffering, substances were a means to an end. The end, however, proved that suffering was only perpetuated by using. We found ourselves at a great paradox. To use was to suffer and to suffer was to use; furthermore, to not use was to suffer. One alignment could only be made through the journey and practice of recovery: to not suffer is to not use.

Most of us saw this as an impossibility. Our attachment to the solution of substances blinded us from seeing the true answer lay in abandoning such harmful patterns. Some may call it a miracle or a moment of enlightenment when the thought gets through. Perhaps the substances, and the way we use them, are the problem. This is the beginning of recovery.

We put down our addictive behaviors, but quickly discover other patterns. As the drugs and alcohol leave our body, our mind begins to clear up. Years of blockages slowly begin to disintegrate, opening to the natural flow of emotion. After so much time, energy, and effort put toward not feeling anything uncomfortable, feeling in general can be precisely that.

Buddhism teaches us to sit with our emotional experiences. Neither judging nor resisting, we can sit in a place of acceptance; meeting ourselves where we need to be. Engaging in active mindfulness, we learn not to be overcome by our feelings. Instead, we compassionately acknowledge our emotional states. By doing so, we detach from the desire to label, solve, correct, or avoid an feelings. Finding peace and comfort in the breath, the present moment, the way of the universe, we cease suffering the anguish of unknowingness.


Emotional regulation is an important tool of recovery. Life presents an array of challenges, each of which will invoke a different feeling-based response. Refuge Recovery believes in your ability to be with yourself. You don’t have to suffer. For more information on our programs of treatment call 323-207-0276 today.

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