Outside Issues: Emotional Health

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For those of us who are alcoholics or addicts, there is nothing about us or our lives that is not touched by our disease. The ways that we seek recovery and healing touch every part of us and our lives as well. So there really is no such thing as an “outside issue,” although that has become the catch-all phrase for elements of human life that do not directly involve alcoholic or addictive behaviors.

In time, we will see that there really is nothing that does not relate to or impact our disease in some way. As with most things, it is a two-way street. The ways we recover and the ways we stay sick directly correlate across all our lives. This distinction is particularly easy to see with the topic of emotional health.

Emotional Health Is Vital to Recovery

Our emotional health, especially if left untreated, can have a negative impact not just on our quality of life but on our recovery as well. Emotional issues can truly jeopardize our recovery, just like failing to engage in the solution to our disease can wreak havoc on our emotions. In contrast, working a diligent 12-Step recovery program can have a huge positive impact on our emotional health, and good emotional health can benefit our recovery in many important ways.

Emotional health is often swept under the rug. Negative phrases like “it’s all in your head” or “shake it off” can quite literally cost people their lives. This is especially true for men, as emotional health is practically a taboo topic. We are told to “suck it up” and that “men don’t talk about their feelings.” Luckily for us, in order to successfully engage in the 12-Step program of recovery, we simply must face our feelings and emotions. To successfully complete several of the 12-Steps, we have to get things off our chests, face them, and heal from them. This process saves our lives in more ways than one.

Building Relationships for Men

At Jaywalker Lodge, it’s no accident that we strongly emphasize forging intimate relationships with our peers. Close relationships with other men allow us to be honest about our emotional health with someone who understands. Finding out that we’re not the only ones who have struggled this way and that others have gotten through something similar in their recovery serves to help and strengthen us. Jaywalker Lodge not only makes it easy and comfortable to find a sponsor in recovery but being part of a recovery-focused, close-knit group of male friends is a huge part of the healing. This connection lifts our burdens in the present and helps keep our recovery solid as we move forward.

Jaywalker Lodge has a built-in recovery community of alumni who are frequently involved in a lot of what goes on here. The bonds developed in early recovery are so strong that most who come to Jaywalker Lodge stay close by after leaving. So life-saving and freeing is the intimacy and honesty in this environment that few ever want to leave it — but those who do are equipped to stay emotionally healthy throughout their lives with the tools they learn here. It is an important part of recovery for anyone to begin opening up, being honest, and getting close to people in order to remain emotionally healthy. Allowing ourselves to integrate into a recovery community, to live, share, grow, and attend meetings with a familiar group of people we feel comfortable around, is a really big part of staying healthy emotionally.

The Power of Therapy

One route to emotional health that isn’t specific to people in recovery is therapy. Jaywalker Lodge makes individualized and group therapy a part of every day — that’s how effective and helpful it is to the emotional health of those in recovery. There are so many different types of therapy and methods of therapeutic treatment out there. We take the time to get to know those who stay with us, and we combine personalized, individualized therapies with the 12-Step recovery program as well as group therapy. Though one set of 12-Steps works for pretty much everybody, therapy is a little more helpful when adapted to each man. We encourage anyone to get involved with therapy and keep up with it. Healing ourselves emotionally is not an overnight matter — it takes time, care, and continuity. 

Face Our Feelings

We have to express our feelings, open up, face our trauma, and take an active role in our healing. This can sometimes be a painful process, but it’s a lot like resetting a broken bone in order for it to heal properly. Life is not about pain and suffering, but sometimes healing and growing hurts. Afterward, however, our lives are brighter, fuller, and more beautiful. We become stronger, kinder, and wiser. Surely the journey to emotional health and healing has its ups and downs, but it is ultimately one of the most rewarding things we can undertake.

One of the most convenient tools to achieving and maintaining emotional health is one that’s built right into the 12-Steps, is often recommended in therapy, and has been utilized to achieve inner peace, healing, and clarity for centuries — meditation. This deceptively simple practice can be incredibly difficult to turn into a habit, but it is worth the effort. Making morning and even evening medication a daily habit can pay infinite dividends, bring you peace, clarity, and joy.

Alcoholism and addiction can take an immense toll on the emotional health of those who suffer from the disease. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are as much part of the reason behind alcoholism and addiction as they are the result of them. But if we never learn how to heal ourselves emotionally, recovery will continue to elude us. This is especially true for men, who often struggle to share their feelings with others. There is a solution to alcoholism and addiction that also addresses our emotional health — the 12-Step program of recovery. If you are a willing participant and include therapy and other emotional wellness treatments in your recovery efforts, the results can be nothing short of life-changing. Jaywalker Lodge is here to help you finally achieve lasting recovery while caring for your emotional health. To learn more about our programs for men, call us today at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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