Most people struggling with chronic pain and dependence on pain medication try to avoid emotional as well as physical pain. Our common thought process tells us that if we can just avoid the pain, it won’t affect us. However, in the same way that lightning always finds a path to ground, feelings—including painful and uncomfortable ones—always find a path to expression. If we do not address and express them consciously and directly by allowing ourselves to feel them and talk about them, they will come out in indirect forms, often as unhealthy, self-defeating and/or explosive behavior. When feelings are expressed through behavior, they are typically operating unconsciously and outside our awareness and control. That being the case, you have a choice in the way you deal with your emotional and physical pain. The choice is to address your feelings in the moment without further damaging yourself or others, or to avoid them and overreact in uncontrolled, dramatic ways. Allowing your painful feelings to be expressed through your behavior only adds more suffering to your life and the lives of others. Emotional balance gives you the capacity to choose which path you will take, instead of letting fear and avoidance make the choice for you. This blog post is an excerpt from Pain Recovery – How to Find Balance and Reduce Suffering from Chronic Pain by Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM, Frank Szabo, LADC, Daniel Shiode, PhD, Robert Hunter, PhD; Published by Central Recovery Press (CRP).