Most people who come to a treatment program seeking recovery from their drug and alcohol addiction experience a gap in knowledge when it comes to their emotional stress. Drugs and alcohol change the way the brain reacts and responds to stress. Primarily, substances of abuse wire the brain to seek out the action of substance abuse in response to stress. Mind altering substances uphold their namesake- they alter the mind. Causing pleasurable sensations of euphoria, the brain learns that it can feel pleasure instead of pain when it chooses these substances. Stress begins to feel more like pain, a life-threatening pain which requires immediate actions for survival. As addiction weaves its way deeper into the brain it finds the midbrain where the operations for survival live. Eventually, stress becomes a threat and using drugs and alcohol becomes the way to survive- above any other action to be taken.
Consequently, the brain develops a gap between an event and the response to the event. All that the brain interprets is stress, which sets off the alarms to find drugs and alcohol quickly. No longer is the brain able to take a pause, contemplate the stress, decide how it feels about the stress, and then choose an informed course of action. For that reason, when those who are in treatment are asked simple questions like, “How are you feeling?” and “What is causing your stress?” the answer is most often “I don’t know”. Those who come to treatment are lacking in emotional intelligence and skills for emotional articulation. They have temporarily lost their ability to identify their stress and decide upon a proper course of action to cope with it effectively. Treatment and all of the therapies included within it, helps them to know their causes of stress, know their reactions to stress, and make choices which empower their recovery instead of enable their addiction.
Identifying Your Stress
First, it is important to identify stress in the body. If the brain is running into survival mode, it will be challenging to slow it down. Mindfulness practices like body scanning meditations help shift the focus of the brain onto the body, which holds great clues for stress. Everyone stores stress and experiences stress in their body. Releasing physical stress through systematic muscle relaxation helps the brain begin to calm down. After creating physical calm, the brain can start to assess the stressful situation and learn, gaining emotional intelligence and changing the stress.
Change your stress, change your life. Change your life, change your legacy. Infinity Malibu offers men and women an opportunity to start a legacy of recovery in their lives. Call us today for information on our luxury residential treatment programs and our full continuum of care serving the greater Los Angeles area: (855) 575-2604