The Importance of Emotional and Spiritual Healing in Addiction Recovery

At Recovery Direct, we treat addiction to alcohol, illicit drugs, over-the-counter medications and prescription medications. Addiction, whether it is linked to substances or to behaviour such as gambling addiction, normally has an underlying emotional or mental health disorder. It can be post traumatic stress disorder, stress, depression, anxiety or even a psychotic problem. It can even be a religious belief that was hammered in childhood that makes a person feel worthless. Therefore, treatment for addiction is not limited to the physical problems and the management of withdrawal symptoms. It is a holistic approach that takes care of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing of the patient.

Emotions Affect Our Lives

Many people struggling with addiction are overwhelmed by painful past experiences such as adult-child sexual molestation, physical and emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, trauma, etc. It manifests in the form of depression, anxiety, phobias, anger, resentment, stress, low self-esteem, and many other negative feelings. Such people are stuck in the past and tied to negative feelings. It is unfinished business that makes them react in the present as though they are still in the past. It is difficult to deal with life’s pressures without over-reacting. Many of them abuse substances because they are trying to numb that past pain and basically escape from reality. That is why addiction treatment has to include emotional therapy.

Thorough Diagnosis

There is a thorough diagnosis to uncover any underlying emotional, spiritual and mental health problems. Sometimes the diagnosis will find problems like past emotional trauma, resentment, anger, grief, post-traumatic stress disorder, stress, shame, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and many other mental/emotional problems. The hidden underlying problem may or may not be responsible for the addiction but it is sure going to trigger relapse in the future if it not treated. Therefore, the treatment program, which includes medication, will also include treatment of these underlying emotional and mental problems.


Psychotherapy is a major part of treatment at Recovery Direct. It is provided by trained and experienced mental health professionals. After thorough analysis as mentioned above, the therapists design a unique treatment program for each patient which aims to change lifestyle and thought patterns. Psychotherapy may include Insight Therapy which helps the addicts to understand their disorder and why they act the way they do. It also includes Behavioral Therapy which changes bad behaviour to good behaviour based on the unique causes uncovered during diagnosis. Other therapies include psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, family therapy, interpersonal therapy, and several others. Which therapy is selected for an individual depends on his/her circumstances.

After treatment the recovered addict should be able to handle whatever life brings. As one author has said before, “The problem is not the problem, the problem is how we cope with the problem.” Life happens. It is obvious that life will always bring problems therefore the recovered addicts can never be free from problems and intense feelings. However, from addiction treatment they learn how to cope with the problems as they come instead of avoiding them by turning to alcohol or other drugs. They basically learn to live according to life’s terms instead of expecting life to conform to their expectations.

Support groups are also a major part of post-treatment therapy where they share experiences with other recovering addicts and stay sober.

Regardless of what happened in the past, whether it is rape or neglect or other family problems, the recovered addicts learn to grow from their past experiences instead of succumbing to the experiences, and they get away from the past. With better control of their reactions to life and better control of their emotions, they have better chances of maintaining their recovery.