Emotional Intelligence Concept. White Button on Blue Background in Flat Design Style.There are certain skills that are required for the person to rationalize emotions and to effectively use the emotional information, and such skills can be learned. The first skill of highly emotionally intelligent people is that they are fully aware of their own emotions. People who have better understanding of their emotions can identify their emotions on time.
They are aware of the fact that their healthy emotions eventually have a positive impact on their thoughts and behaviors, while their unhealthy emotions create adverse effects on their decision-making ability and will eventually have harmful effect on their behaviors all the same. When a person knows this distinction, there are high chances that he will take good care of his emotions as well.
Emotionally intelligent people are also good at managing their emotions. Now, when we talk about managing emotions it suggests that this skill enables the person to handle well with his feelings. He will be able to manage his behaviors in an effective way as he will have a strong grip on his feelings and will eventually act accordingly. Since people with an ability to manage their emotions do not react instantly on their feelings, they can efficiently control their impulses as well. Social awareness is another element of emotional intelligence.
People with high emotional intelligence are capable to recognize the emotions of other people around them. Since they can recognize others’ emotions, they can also understand feelings and emotional needs of others. Empathy plays an important role in understanding the feelings of others. Empathy is all about placing oneself in another’s shoes. Emotionally intelligent people have empathetic nature.
They can feel what the other person experiences and are tenderhearted toward others. Since emotionally intelligent people can understand their own and others’ emotions, and can manage their feelings and behaviors, they are also very proficient in managing their relationships with others. Such individuals have the ability to have an effective communication with people around them. Effective communication is a key element in developing healthy relationships. People with good emotional intelligence eventually can build healthy and positive interactions with others.
There is a strong relationship between addiction and lack of emotional intelligence. Generally, people who fall into addiction have a typical problem of dealing with their emotions. Whenever, they experience any negative or disturbing emotion like sadness, fear, anxiety, embarrassment, loneliness, stress etc, they find it difficult to cope with it and find refuge in drugs. The drug-intake during such vulnerable emotional states is perceived medicinal and therapeutic by the addicts.
They try to self-medicate themselves with drugs in order to temporarily escape from the discomfort caused by their negative emotions. Expressing their unhealthy emotions to others and then managing those emotions seem to be difficult tasks for them. Due to poor emotional intelligence, drug addicts cannot be empathetic towards others. This is the reason why they are unable to feel the pain experienced by their family members due to their addiction-related problems; and cannot be empathetic toward others, which lead them toward constant arguments and conflicts with others, and harsh, ruthless and rude comments during fights.
Lack of effective emotional intelligence is also the reason why drug addicts cannot resist their impulses particularly related to anger, aggression and drug-related cravings. It is not only about negative emotions. Individuals in addiction also cannot handle their positive emotions as well such as extreme excitement and joy. They crave for drugs even in their happy times as a way to celebrate.
Just like physical sobriety, emotional sobriety is equally of paramount importance.
During recovery, the individuals are expected to deal with their emotional problems skillfully without any chemical crutch. Individuals do get physically sober in recovery, but if they do not develop the skills required for emotional intelligence, there are chances that they relapse if they cannot manage their emotions effectively. It requires a determined and focused approach to achieve emotional sobriety in recovery. It may take years to accomplish that goal, but once it is achieved, the recovering individuals can find more peace in their journey of recovery.
In order to develop emotional intelligence in recovery, the recovering individuals need to learn few skills. The first skill that they must acquire is to recognize their emotions and then to effectively manage them. It is a skill that various people in active addiction struggle with. Emotions can either be identified through physical sensations e.g. increased heart beat, dry mouth, tension in abdominal area etc during anxiety or fear, or through one’s thinking patterns e.g. suicidal thinking, thoughts of low self-esteem etc during extreme sadness or depression.
Once the person can successfully identify his emotions, he will be able to manage them as well, since he will be able to acknowledge the fact that he is simply overwhelmed by his negative emotions and there is no need to act upon them as they are primarily temporary in nature. This approach towards his unhealthy emotions will keep him away from acting upon his impulses, anger outburst, risky behaviors and eventually drug relapse. Another skill to learn is to empathize with others. The person should utilize his imagination in order to understand what the other person might be feeling by imagining himself in a similar situation or emotional state.
Recognizing one’s stress is also a skill that the individuals need to learn. They should also learn to manage their stress so that they can avoid the risk of relapse due to piled-up stress or emotional turmoil. Listening actively to another person’s point of view and opinions during crucial conversations or arguments is also another skill that, if learnt, can be extremely helpful in enhancing the emotional intelligence and also in resolving various conflicts with others. During active addiction, individuals lack the patience to even listen to others’ perspectives which further results in huge communication gap between their relationships.
Sometimes, non-verbal communication says much more than verbal communication. Putting a conscious effort in monitoring and improving one’s body language is also a step forward toward emotional sobriety. It is something the individuals in active addiction do not care about. They shout, yell, and display an aggressive attitude, which further makes the situation even worse. Practicing mindfulness is another technique that is very crucial in developing a better understanding of one’s emotions. Mindfulness is a technique which teaches to fully live in the moment and accepting the situation as it really is. It helps the individuals to understand the transitory nature of emotions. If the individuals start recognizing that their emotions are short-lived then they won’t get overwhelmed by them anymore. Hence, they will stop reacting on them negatively.
In order to develop emotional intelligence, another skill that the individuals need to learn is to face life on life’s own terms. It refers to not running away from negative emotions or finding a convenient refuge in drugs as the easy way out. When the person is able to face the bitter realities of his life, he will resultantly be able to find the coping strategies as a solution of his emotional problems. Such kind of conflict management skills will enhance his emotional intelligence in the end.
By learning and practicing the skills required to develop emotional intelligence, the individuals in recovery can join the path of emotional sobriety which can strengthen their physical sobriety altogether and make a long-lasting and healthy impact on his drug-free life.