Putting aside the struggles, anger, shame, and guilt associated with trauma, abandonment, abuse and neglect is difficult for anybody who has experienced such travesties. Nonetheless, letting go of negative emotions, like anger, is a critical part of healing. In order to move forward and live a fulfilling, spiritually centered life, we have to come to terms with our painful pasts. This is no more true than for an adolescent in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
Letting go is a perplexing process. Emotions cannot be seen or touched- they are intangible. How is it then, that we hold onto, and have to let go of, something we can’t even see? We have to first find these emotions. Though they won’t materialize, they will manifest. Once we work with counselors and therapists to identify them, we can bring them to life and release them. The fourth step of AA’s 12 steps especially helps in this process by taking stock of all harms done to us.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states that resentments are fatal to an alcoholic trying to recover. In the infamous list of 12 step promises it is shown that by doing “the work” of recovery, “we will not regret the past nor choose to shut the door on it.” Overcoming the difficulties of what has happened to us, by our own means or by the hands of others, is necessary. Challenging, overwhelming, and painful- but necessary. More importantly, it is possible. All too often, young adults in recovery leave out pieces of their story. Unwilling to face them head on, the pain lingers, anger grows, resentment festers. Until these experiences are processed honestly, there will be an ongoing compulsion to drink and use drugs to escape the pain, guilt, and shame.
True recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism involves much more than just putting an end to drinking and drug use. An adolescent recovering from addiction needs to adopt a whole new outlook and way of living. Sustain Recovery Services in southern California helps young adult recovering addicts and alcoholics to regain their lives through long-term sobriety. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information.