The path to recovery begins with being in control, and on March 30 the I Am in Control Day celebrates drug-free living and the control of your emotions through addiction and sobriety.

Being in control is the realization that you are in charge of your thoughts and emotions, while not letting them control you. It is an important step on the path to recovery and is a shield for resisting temptation in difficult situations. In empowering yourself to live without the connection to dependence, you are self-directing your own path and giving yourself the authority to decide what being “in control” means for you.

Where do you see your life going? Are you mentally, emotionally, and financially secure? Do you react to things in a calm and measured way or do you lash out? These are questions you can ask yourself to determine how in control you are of both your outer world and inner reality.

Here are 5 ways to take control of your emotions through addiction and a pathway to sobriety:

Accept that you cannot change the past but write your future

You cannot become the best version of yourself if you dwell on who you have been in the past. Rather than dwell on the negativity of yesterday, take the time to create a plan for where you want to go tomorrow. Set out clearly defined and achievable goals for what steps you can take in maintaining control. Begin each day with the mindset of practicing self-care, and directing your own story into the future.

Integrating techniques like yoga and meditation can quiet the mind and clear the air of the past and allow you to breathe in new possibilities in where your life can go. Remember: you are in control!

Face your emotions head-on

Addiction, as an emotional disease, is often viewed as an escape from one’s emotions if they’re too painful or difficult to deal with. This escape, however, can end up causing more emotional distress than you started out with.

Understanding exactly what you feel, why you feel it, and letting it pass is a great way to manage your emotions as you progress through your recovery. Facing the pain in your history and observing the demons may be a difficult process that uncovers a whole heap of emotional turmoil from yesteryear.

But this pain will not last, and by fully coming to terms with the traumas you have dealt with will lead to a newfound strength that lifts a tremendous burden off your shoulders.

Develop new habits

People use substances for the effect that it gives them. If having a few drinks or a cigarette is what makes you relaxed or more focused, you may find that removing these habits creates more irritability. The good news is that you can replace habits that fail to serve a higher purpose for you and switch to things that move you in greater physical, spiritual, and emotional ways.

As you begin to develop new habits, you may be faced with the realization that you really haven’t learned how to cope with certain emotions or feelings, and have used the substance as a crutch. Your energy will be re-directed in new ways that allow aspects of your psyche that may have been neglected, to thrive, ushering in the room for a new kind of improvement.

Many people quickly become surprised by the intensity of the feelings that arise once they reduce or cut off their use of a substance.

Understand that you cannot control others

Being “in control” does not mean manipulating those around you, or controlling what others do or how others act. You cannot control everything about a situation, but you can control your response and reaction to it.

Look out for yourself and your health and maintain the strength to continue to live your life in a way that is emotionally gratifying for you, even if those around you don’t see eye to eye. This self-actualization where you take control of your life and become the best version of who you can be will lead you to a greater sense of inner intuition and a more balanced individual.

Talk to people who understand

When seeking to unlearn destructive patterns of the past and remove yourself from the shackles of not being in control of yourself and your emotions, it is imperative that you connect with people who understand.

Simply talking to someone you trust about how you are feeling and what you are going through can work wonders in staying on a path that works for you and your entire being. You can find a support group that allows you to meet like-minded people while inspiring one another through your stories. Speak with a mental health professional about treating substance use while working on a real plan of action.

Remember that facing your feelings in a true and honest way can be the best thing for you in moving on to a new and clearer stage of your life, one that isn’t inhibited by dependence. Find the support you need in order to navigate your world in a healthy and prosperous way.

Empowering yourself throughout this process is key, as is finding the peace within to move forward with your life in a way that is fulfilling and not harmful to yourself or others.

If you or a loved one is seeking help to overcome addiction, we at Windward Way Recovery are here to help by providing community, connection, and a purpose. Call us at (855) 491-7694 for more information about our innovative and unique approach to addiction treatment.