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Trying to make decisions while we are riding an emotional roller coaster never ends very well. Whether we are gripping the lap bar in terror or raising our hands and screaming with delight, we are in no condition to make decisions. In fact, it’s in these heightened emotional states that we are more likely to reach for drugs in an attempt to either enhance or dull our feelings.
Controlled by Our Emotions
Emotional turmoil is one of the most common reasons people turn to drugs. It’s also the most common reason for a relapse because we often allow our emotions to take over and guide our decision-making process.
In particular, there are four emotional states that serve as dangerous places from which to make decisions. When wrapped up in any of these emotions, our choices are often poor and likely to involve drug abuse. The question is: Are you all E.A.R.S.?
Excitement can often be a good thing. It can be healthy to get excited about our successes, a fun activity or hope for the future. We just need to be cautious about the choices we make while in this state.
We tend to underestimate potential risks when we’re excited. After all, there’s a reason why the gambling industry is so successful! But we also have similar experiences with drug use. In a hyper-excited state, we mentally minimize the high-risks we take when using drugs or avoid taking proper precautions to avoid relapse.
Anxiety is a bit like glitter: Once it shows up in one area, it’s suddenly everywhere. It creeps into decisions that have nothing to do with what we are anxious about. When we live in a constant state of anxiety, we rarely make good decisions.
Anxiety can cause us to turn to drugs in the search for peace, but allowing anxiety to guide our decision-making process takes us to a place that’s far from peaceful.
Anxiety can also inhibit us from making any decisions at all. Some of us remain in bad situations due to being scared of change. That’s why it’s so important to find moments that aren’t ruled by emotion in order to make healthy choices.
This state is usually driven by anger. When we see red, it’s hard to see anything else. We lash out, making poor decisions that hurt ourselves and those closest to us.
It’s safe to say that logic isn’t a part of reckless behavior. Being in this state leaves us vulnerable to high-risk, low-payoff choices…you know, the ones that lead to embarrassment and more frustration. A reckless attitude and decisions made in that space can easily drag us down a miserable path of no return.
If we are in a pit of despair, there is very little light to illuminate decision-making. We see few options, if any. We easily convince ourselves that we can’t change or there isn’t hope. Our choices are made in reaction to despair and they can take us deeper into depression.
When sad, we set our goals too low and tend to settle for less than we should. These low expectations stop us from achieving what we’re truly capable of. With poor expectations and little hope, we may turn to all the wrong things in search of comfort.
Stop Listening With Your E.A.R.S.
What’s the solution? It can help to surround yourself with people who support you through the bad times and provide accountability. In other words, if you are all E.A.R.S., let your support system serve as your eyes and mouth.
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