Unexpressed emotion is stored as tension in the muscles of the body. -Wilhelm Reich
Successful recovery from addiction means developing an awareness of one’s emotional state and learning to appropriately navigate negative (and positive) emotion when necessary. Today’s quotation reminds us of two important points related to this concept. First is that it is very important that we learn to appropriately express emotions as we feel them. It is very destructive to let negative or painful feelings fester inside of us without directly processing them in a healthy way. The second point is that not dealing with our emotions is detrimental not only to our emotional state but potentially to our physical bodies as well. For this reason, it is a good idea not only to stay on top of the process of self-awareness and emotional housecleaning, but also to incorporate a regular physical practice that can help us release tension at a physical level. At heart, addiction is a prolonged pattern of using external sources to regulate our internal emotional experience. Anything we can do to decrease the need for regulation, then, necessarily decreases the need for our addictions.