Emotional pain and emotional healing in addiction recovery

Pain is something that we all must deal with sooner or later. It is the great leveler in life. We may come from different backgrounds and various parts of the world, but are find a common group in relating to each other through our experience with pain.

minute read

Pain! It’s Something We All Face

I have found that pain is a universal language. Different things make us laugh. Some people have degrees and some do not. Some live in mansions and some on the street. Some people are 18 yrs old and others are 81. One thing that brings us all together is our pain.

It All Started with Prescription Meds

Many people have started on the road to addiction through taking legal drugs due to a car accident or a physical illness. However it comes, if the pain continues and the prescription runs out, then something has to give. Many times the person is still in pain and begins seeking pain meds on the street. Lortabs and Oxycodone are two drugs that are often prescribed and then when the prescription runs out, the client starts their drug seeking behavior through illegal means. Some addicts are caught forging scripts and others are caught through possession charges. Many addicts are referred by their probation officers to drug treatment, either inpatient or outpatient. However, they are come, pain is the common denominator.

“But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It’s His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis

Addiction is a Feelings Disease

If you have been around the addiction field very long, you have heard the phrase that addiction is a “feelings disease.” When I was attending a conference on addiction, I heard a speaker stay, “If the addict doesn’t deal with his emotional problems, it is very likely that he will not maintain long term sobriety.”

Many addicts are trying desperately to avoid facing their emotional issues which are causing them pain. Many have tried drugs and have found their “solution” through numbing out on drugs. Counselors hear all the time that the client’s drug of choice needs to be “legalized.” The problem is that everyone has a different drug they want legalized and so they want to make a case for their favorite drug being legalized—being able to buy it without a prescription.

The problem isn‘t legalizing their drug of choice. The problem is that they need to deal with their emotional issues so they won’t have to numb out their feelings through chemicals. Facing life without drugs/alcohol can be painful. Getting honest with a Counselor or sober friend is the place to start—without drugs/alcohol deadening the pain.

You Don’t Have to Face it Alone

“Adversity introduces a man to himself.” – Unknown

When going through life’s problems, you don’t have to go it alone. There are 12 step groups, sober friends, church home groups, and Counselors who are willing to be there to help you through your pain.  Will you have to face your deepest fears? Yes. Will you feel pain working through your problems? Yes. However, you don’t have to do it alone. Get with someone you trust and begin to face your issues. You will be glad to take this step of faith. Do it today.

About the author
Jon Penoi is the author of Freedom From Addiction and Other Life Controlling Problems and has been a Drug and Alcohol Counselor for 14 years. He earned both his B.A. in Psychology, and Master of Public Health, from Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center. Jon also brings extensive experience in sober living management and served as Director of a halfway house treatment center in Lawton, OK for 4 years.


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  1. Hey there! they are the most biggest pain which a person can face! Thats the pain witch coms from inside! You can just puke from negative emotions. Im using drugs about 5yr! And last yr always after I use’d drugs the next three days i cant smile, cant see emotional colors, cant woke in mornings, cant talk, cant do anything ………. unbearable feeling..>! It”s so hard to live like that….. I hope i will bee free in future… I had more addiction problems than one! If I would continued with all addictions together I think I would have committed suicide…:( This was too much for my emotional health! So quit… it wasn’t easy…! But drugs…. Im using them every weekend – cocaine and Amphetamine… And I feel that if its will continue like that i’m afraid that I will not be so strong to take that… Because each emotional pain gets worst than previous!!!!! (About me:i’m 23yr, from Latvia, Bachelor’s degree in social science, now i’m started studing in dentistry, like thous moments when i’m with family)

  2. Totally agree with the above. The need to ‘control’, especially emotional pain via the use of mind altering substances is one of the main reasons many people end up as addicts. This is why it is so important that all of the factors contributing to an individual’s addiction be identified and addressed if lasting abstinence is to be achieved. Many thanks.

  3. Many addicts are trying desperately to avoid facing their emotional issues which are causing them pain. Many have tried drugs and have found their “solution” through numbing out on drugs. Counselors hear all the time that the client’s drug of choice needs to be “legalized.”

  4. Great point. Legalization is not a cure for a habit. Isn’t alcohol and tobacco legal? But I guess it takes the “seediness” out of it for people. It would be nice if as a culture we could change the emphasis of “stopping” habits and put is on “starting” to deal with our emotions. The results would be pretty staggering. Thanks

  5. As always you pull back the curtain of our mind untill we peek at the pain we try so hard to hide. I know your wisdom was given by God and I respect your insight so much. Freedom is what we all desire. Thank you for giving us tools to get there! God Bless You!

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