We have to gain emotional intelligence in order to stay sober. Many treatment centers start their group therapy sessions with a chart. This chart is full of “emojis” faces that are expressing different emotions. Underneath the face is the emotion. The chart is passed around the group of people so everyone can “check in” and identify their feelings. It might seem arbitrary but for recovering addicts and alcoholics in their first few months of recovery, it is necessary. Drugs and alcohol change the way the brain works. Taking over the pleasure and reward system, mind altering substances chemically reroute many of the brain’s pathways and saturate them in signals of pleasure and reward. Feeling “good” all the time under the influence of drugs and alcohol leaves little room to feel anything else. There is an old saying- if you don’t use it, you lose it. In the case of emotional intelligence and awareness in addicts and alcoholics, this is true. If you don’t identify or connect to your feelings in many years, you forget what they are. For many, they never really learned how to feel, how to identify what they were feeling, and how to communicate their feelings. These are the components of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is important because feelings are important. Men and women in recovery must learn how to identify and regulate their feelings in order to communicate them in a healthy way. Coping with feelings can feel overwhelming in the earliest phases of recovery. Emotional intelligence is what gives men and women the tools they need as well as the confidence they need to trust that emotions won’t feel so intense all of the time. They will be able to learn to live with their emotions in a harmonious way. Social skills are part of emotional intelligence. Social skills under the branch of emotional intelligence can include:
- Persuasion and Influencing
- Conflict Management
- Change Management
- Building Bonds
Learning to manage conflict, communicate in a clear and healthy way, be a leader to yourself and others, manage ongoing change, build relationships, and work as part of a team are priceless social skills for people. Recovery is about much, much more than abstaining from drugs and alcohol. In order to abstain long-term, men and women need to gain emotional intelligence and social skills to regulate themselves and participate fully in society.
When you change your story, you can change your life. At Oceanfront Recovery, we are helping people change the story of their lives from addiction to recovery, every single day. Our residential treatment programs are designed to give men the skills they need to live successfully in recovery. For information, call us today: 877.279.1777