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3 Ways to Build Your Emotional Intelligence in Recovery

The decision to give up drugs and alcohol represents a significant milestone in your life, but unless you are willing to put in the work to tackle the root causes of your addiction, you aren’t likely to make the progress you want. Emotional stability, or lack thereof, can be a significant contributor to the behavioral issues that accompany substance misuse disorders. Once you are in recovery, you will need to rebuild your emotional intelligence as part of your commitment to bettering yourself. Here are three ways to do so.

1. Find Healthy Ways to Manage Stress

Stress can wear down even the healthiest person, so imagine how much more of a toll it can take on someone who has been putting toxic chemicals into their body for years. Part of developing emotional intelligence in recovery means learning how to deal with stress without turning to drugs and alcohol as a crutch. Stress-relief activities look different for everyone, but yours could be things such as:

  • Calling a friend who understands what you’re going through and talking things over together
  • Taking a walk or jog around the block
  • Writing in a journal
  • Cleaning your house
  • Doing yoga
  • Taking a bath
  • Making something with your hands

2. Hone Your Listening Skills

When asked if they consider themselves to be good listeners, most people would probably say yes. However, research seems to indicate people don’t pay enough attention to what others are telling them, and they don’t retain information well. Being a good listener is a skill you can acquire. Some ways you can improve your listening abilities include asking lots of questions, not interrupting people when they are talking and to repeat the speaker’s statements to make sure you have understood them correctly.

3. Be More Empathetic

Empathy is another critical component of emotional intelligence, but it can be tricky for those in recovery to master. If you allowed your addiction to take control to the point where it became an all-consuming focus of your life, your ability to put yourself in others’ shoes may have atrophied. If you’re finding it challenging to see things from a different angle, one thing you can try is to practice loving-kindness meditation. With this form of meditation, you can not only develop a better sense of compassion for yourself, but for people around you. Envision those you care about being at peace with the world and with their role in it. You might find it helpful to repeat phrases such as “May you be well” while you hold people such as your parents, your siblings or your significant other in your thoughts.

Addressing Your Recovery Needs One Step at a Time

The ideas here are only three of the many ways you can become more emotionally intelligent during your drug and alcohol recovery journey. As you continue to build your recovery skill set, you will add more tools you can use to further your progress, including those you can learn about in a sober living environment. The more we learn about ways to manage addiction as a chronic disease, the more it confirms the correlation between successful recovery and the amount of time spent on each phase of the continuum of care. At Segue Recovery Support, we provide the structure and accountability that are so essential in the early phases of recovery. Contact us to learn more.