Addiction and Emotional Immaturity


There is a very close relationship between emotional immaturity and addiction behaviors.

Those who turn to substance abuse typically feel as though they are unable or incapable of dealing with their emotions, and allow alcohol and drugs to provide a temporary relief.

A successful rehabilitation from addiction means a committed promise to improve dealing with and identifying emotions, and developing emotional sobriety. This is the only way to deal with whatever may come one’s way.

Feeling Overwhelmed Can Fuel Addiction

Individuals who are emotionally immature struggle to cope with their emotions and deal with their feelings, and they often feel overwhelmed by events and circumstances.

When they begin that process of being and feeling overwhelmed, they struggle to cope and often turn to substances like drugs and alcohol to deal with their emotions. This “escape” might temporarily take them away from a stressful reality and to a “safe place” to avoid the effects of these situations.

During recovery and rehabilitation, emotional immaturity can be a significant stumbling block for those seeking to get clean.

Emotionally immature people are far more likely to stumble back into relapse than are others who are seeking treatment for addiction, and it requires therapists and addiction counselors to work especially hard to make sure this relapse does not take place.

Friendships and Relationships Suffer From Emotional Immaturity

Emotionally immature people also struggle with friendships and relationships, and hesitate to bring people into their circle of trust, or trust others around them.

As such, they struggle to develop empathy and sympathy for other people, and risk missing out on a key component of the recovery process.

Additionally, if these former addicts feel lonely, misunderstood, or scared from attempted friendships and relationships, they may relapse back into addiction due to stress.

Shedding Immaturity during Recovery

To develop emotional sobriety and shed emotional immaturity during treatment, group work and sessions with addiction counselors and therapists are extremely necessary.

It is the addiction therapist who can accurately and quickly identify not only which former addicts are emotionally immature, but also how to attack their immaturities and build them into fully functioning, smart, and intelligent adults.

Additionally, emotionally immature addicts do well as a part of group settings where they can be provided with a group support from other people just like them.

By providing a group of emotional supporters for those who are emotionally immature, treatment functions can make their transition to relationships a little easier and more informal than throwing the former addicts into situations where they might struggle due to over exposure and stress.

Emotional immaturity is a common trait of those who suffer from addiction, and treatment for it is not simple, but it is possible. Those seeking rehabilitation from addiction are advised to work with addiction therapists and psychologists to explore emotional immaturities, and develop them into strengths.

Addiction and Dealing with the Guilt

Many individuals who fall into the trap of substance abuse do so because of an inability to deal with guilt. Whether it’s feeling bad about themselves and their lot in life, or about something that has happened in their life to create this negative attitude.

Using alcohol and drugs functions as a great coping mechanism to deal with these problems – for a short time – before it ultimately makes the situation far worse and creates a palpable feeling of unbearable guilt.

Often times, addicts feel guilty due to imagined offenses and a large, over-arching sense of inadequacy that is rooted in low self-esteem and creates offending behaviors that make treatment and rehabilitation difficult.

Getting Through Guilt in Recovery

In recovery specifically, guilt can be a significant challenge to overcoming addiction and making treatment work in the long run.

Those who experience excessive guilt may find recovery difficult to enjoy, and it may be difficult to find happiness in a new, better life while still feeling bad about addiction behavior in a past life.

Doing so may cause some former addicts to sabotage their treatment efforts, in an effort to re-live their guilt and cope the only way they know how, with substances like drugs and alcohol.

Guilt can harm the motivation to recover fully, and even cause individuals to become stuck in recovery with a high level of discomfort and stagnation.

To snap this stretch of guilt and a hampered recovery, it is important that addiction therapists and the former addict themselves understand that doing wrong does not make them a bad person, nor are their mistakes permanent or long-term.

Everyone, including every former addict, is due a second chance, and it is important for those former addicts to stop using their own problems against themselves to harm rehabilitation.

Practices like committing to loving kindness, focusing on meditation, and working with small group support can come a long way to prove to former addicts that they are valued, important members of society who can still contribute after their problems have been overcome.

Addiction therapists and psychologists can go a long way to accomplish these goals and promote these behaviors, teaching former addicts that their lives matter, and that their mistakes are not permanent.

Every person has value.

It can be a challenge for an addict in rehabilitation to understand and appreciate that, but it is a necessary component of treatment and recovery to get past the issue of guilt, understand that no mistake is fatal, and move forward to creating a better life for the former addict and the people, family, and friends who are around for the long haul.

Psychologists and addiction counselors can work here to promote feelings of positive self-worth and attitudes that promote looking forward into the future, instead of backwards into the past. The more a former addict can do that, the more destined he is for long-term success.


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