Certain emotions can be difficult to live with and to accept that they are a part of you.

The ugly side of emotions like anger and sadness are difficult to deal with and often don’t have a simple solution. They are so easily triggered but not easily controlled or prevented, and that can make them seem like a bad thing to experience.

But it is important that you know that you are allowed to feel rage and sadness and every emotion on the spectrum because you are feeling it for a reason.

Trying to suppress your emotions only hurts yourself as you either create the root cause of your problem to get bigger and bigger until it is out of control, or it leads to a build-up of pressure until you explode at someone or hurt yourself.

At Ocean Recovery, we want you to know that you are allowed to feel all your emotions and that trying to ignore them or suppress them because of their messy and complicated emotions won’t do you any good in the long run.

Instead, you need to face your emotions head-on.

But we know this can be frightening. It has become an accepted part of adult-life to hide when something is wrong and to respond to ‘are you okay?’ with an automatic ‘I’m fine’, even when you are not.

That is why when you are living with a drug or alcohol addiction, and you feel like you can’t control or express your emotions, that therapy is the best tool at your disposal to help you make real progress.

One type of therapy that is particularly useful for those struggling with expressing and dealing with their emotions is acceptance and commitment therapy.

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What Is Acceptance And Commitment Therapy?

Acceptance and commitment therapy is an action-orientated therapeutic practice focused on helping people to stop avoiding their emotions. It is able to teach people how to face their feelings head-on and to work through their messy emotions rather than ignore them.

Through acceptance and commitment therapy, the aim is for you to learn that there is a reason for why you feel these ways and that, in some cases, you are justified. For example, you are allowed to feel anger when you have been wronged or treated unfairly.

You are allowed to feel sad about missed opportunities or losing a loved one. This is normal and should be embraced in a way that is constructive and doesn’t harm you or others.

A key part of acceptance and commitment therapy is being able to accept that while you can and should feel all your emotions and not try to suppress them. That they can’t stand in your way.

It gives you power over your feelings to not avoid them but to instead work through them so that you can understand why you feel that way and carry on while you feel this way.

When you are living with an alcohol or drug addiction, this could be in the form of triggers for your cravings for your substance of choice. These triggers could be from anxiety or depression, or stress. But through acceptance and commitment therapy, the aim is for you to be able to feel these emotions and to tackle them head-on so that you can avoid using drugs or alcohol.

Drugs and alcohol are a way to avoid these complicated emotions. They are like putting a plaster on a bad cut. The plaster may make it seem like it’s better and even makes it feel better for a time. But if that cut has not been properly treated by someone with medical knowledge. It will just get infected and get worse. The plaster will cover the problem until it is too bad to ignore, and you are putting yourself in danger.

What To Expect From Acceptance And Commitment Therapy

Through acceptance and commitment therapy, you will learn how to talk to yourself and how to understand and deal with your emotions.

You will especially learn how to talk to yourself about traumatic events in your past that may be the route cause behind your drug or alcohol addiction.

You can then decide if the problem you are facing requires immediate actions and change, such as by removing yourself from a toxic environment or people. Or if you have to accept it as part of life and have to find ways to manage your reaction to it.

For example, if you find yourself anxious talking to other people, it is not healthy to avoid people entirely. Instead, you need to adopt coping mechanisms that allow you to get out of your comfort zone in a safe and controlled way to allow you to ease your anxiety first.

You may be asked to examine your past and find what may have triggered relapses so that you can take precautions in the future to prepare yourself and come up with plans to keep yourself safe and healthy.

Acceptance and commitment therapy aims to develop and expand psychological flexibility, which means teaching you how to be open about your emotions and being able to adapt your thoughts and goals to work around things outside of your control.

The 6 Main Principles Of Psychological Flexibility:


Being able to accept your full range of thoughts and emotions as something natural and as a part of yourself.

Cognitive Defusion

This is being able to distance yourself and change how you react to distressing thoughts and emotions. Some find vocalising the thought or labelling it can help you to control it and mitigate the harmful effects.

Being Present

This involves you being present and aware in the moment and using mindfulness techniques to remain grounded. You must be able to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment or fear so that you can experience them in the moment safely.

Self as context

This is where you realise that you are more than your thoughts and feelings. You are your experiences, your history and your actions. Having bad thoughts doesn’t make you a bad person. Trying to overcome them through realising you are in control of your actions and what you choose to do with them.


Choosing personal values to help you define a moral compass. This will help you live a good honest life and help you not to give in to your bad thoughts and emotions.

Committed Actions

This involves you taking the necessary steps to incorporate the rest of the principles into your life. At the end of the day, the work is for you to do. If you want to see progress, you have to be willing to put in the work and make the change for yourself.

How To Get Help?

At Ocean Recovery, we have years of experience helping people find therapy and drug and alcohol treatment programmes that can provide them with the help they need in order to get their mental health and their drug or alcohol addiction back under their control.

We are able to offer you an acceptance and commitment therapy treatment plan and a safe environment for you to better yourself.

We understand this can be scary. It is a big decision but one that can help you to live a better and healthier life.

You just need to be brave and take the leap and give us a call at 01253 847 553 or email us at info@oceanrecoverycentre.com so we can help you.

If you are afraid, it just means you know you are coming to a change, one that may be difficult at first but will help you so much in the long run.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: December 22, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.

Dr Robert Lutaaya - Clinical Reviewer - Last reviewed: December 15, 2023

MBChB, MSc Psych

Dr Robert Lutaaya qualified in 1995 from Worclaw Medical University as MBChB, and obtained a MSc Psych from the University of Manchester in 2014. Dr Lutaaya has previously worked for the CGL Substance Misuse Service and as an on-call doctor substance misuse Doctor for 17 years before joining Ocean Recovery. Dr Robert Lutaaya is committed to helping those struggling with alcohol and drug addictions.