What is emotional sobriety?
One of the cornerstones of alcoholism recovery, but often overlooked, is the need for emotional sobriety. As people with substance use disorders usually turn to alcohol to self-medicate their emotional distress, learning to process emotions healthily is essential in preventing relapse.
Just not drinking is not enough.
Being emotionally sober solely means that you are content being in the now with all your feelings and emotions without any of them defining or controlling you.
Developing emotional sobriety often involves several different steps;
- Working with a coach to process emotional ups and downs as they happen.
- Addicts, alcoholics, people living with alcohol use disorder (AUD) must learn to regulate the negative feelings that can lead to discomfort, craving and ultimately relapse.
- Journaling to better understand personal feelings.
- Knowing how diet, exercise, and sleep habits can affect your recovery and mood.
- Building robust and emotionally honest relationships with friends and family
- Finding hobbies and meaningful ventures that contribute a way to deal with stress, Anxiety and hardship.
- Practicing mindfulness meditation
- Exploring spirituality
You are living more in the moment
If you are constantly worrying over the future or feeling sorrow about the past, you probably have much more work to do in your growth of emotional sobriety. However, one plain sign that you have developed this ability is finding it more accessible to live in the present time with your mind rushing into the past or future. Methods like mindfulness meditation are great for helping you develop this ability.
You do not have the urge to run away from life
One of the most evident signs that you are developing emotional sobriety is that you no longer sense the want to run away from your emotions and disturbances. There will invariably be problems to encounter in life and complex emotions to endure; the trick is not to eradicate them but to get better at dealing with them. If you can live with life on life’s terms, you are thoroughly on your way to emotional sobriety.
You spend more time thinking about others
The truth is that you now have more of a handle on your disturbances means you are open to focus more on others. This can become an excellent source of joy and happiness, and you can start to feel as happy about the successes of other individuals as you do about your own success. One of the great puzzles of life is that real happiness is found by developing and maintaining deep connections with other people.
You are no longer attractive or interested in any mind-altering substances
The evidence that you are now so comfortable in your own skin means that mind-altering substances are no longer attractive to you. As you improve your emotional sobriety, you begin to realize that almost everything you require for happiness is possible in the current moment.
You welcome and acknowledge all the good in your life
Emotional sobriety suggests you do not have to keep on accomplishing more and collecting more materialistic things in an attempt to make yourself feel better. From this unique viewpoint, you can see that you already have loads of beautiful things in your life, so you are now open to enjoy all of this good stuff. Gratitude is 100% the new attitude.
You more often than not have a positive outlook on life
Having emotional sobriety does not mean you get a free pass in life, but it does mean that you regularly view being alive as an amazingly incredible privilege. In addition, you strengthen the sense that things will always work out in the end, which means that you are usually positive and upbeat about life; this makes you an attractive person to be around.
You rarely experience strong emotions
The reality that you now have so much power and control over your emotions means that you seldom get angry or experience other drastic disturbances. It feels like there is this inner sense of tranquillity no matter what is occurring. So, if difficulties arise, you can deal with these calmly and productively.
You find it simple to regulate your own behaviour
It is possible you may still have some unattractive habits, but your level of emotional sobriety means you discover it is effortless to change your behaviour. You recognize that the goal is progress and not perfection, but you keep hacking away at any unfavourable habits because you know this will enhance your life.
The link between emotions and addiction
People who are actively misusing drugs and alcohol often struggle to regulate their emotional lives. They may display the following traits:
- Trouble controlling intense emotions such as anger.
- Playing out in impulsive or risky ways when faced with emotionally challenging situations.
- Fighting to maintain intimate and trusted connections with others.
- Having a generally pessimistic world view
Sometimes, the inability to manage emotions constructively is rooted in traumatic childhood experiences.
Children use their surroundings to improve their belief in the world-building patterns that naturally carry through to their adult lives. For instance, suppose a child is exposed to a traumatic situation. In that case, they develop harmful coping mechanisms because they are not exposed to the positive and nurturing influences that would help them make better choices.
For example, a child being abused at home may be frightened to tell someone about the abuse because they do not want to be separated from their families or see their parents go to prison. They may be drawn to alcohol as a way to briefly dull their physical and emotional pain while keeping their secret. Over time, alcohol becomes the answer to all their problems. Drinking to deal with the abuse at home changes into drinking to deal with a stressful day at work, arguing with a friend, or being nervous about a first date.
How The Freedom Room can help
Our goals and purpose are to help clients strengthen their skills to live happy, healthy, and productive lives without using alcohol or other addictive substances. Our program is personalized to fit individual needs, considering any co-occurring mental health complications that might affect a client’s progress towards emotional sobriety. So, if you’re ready to take the first steps towards a more hopeful future, we’re here to help and walk your journey and recovery with you.