Emotional sobriety, the ability to feel and cope with emotions instead of masking them with drug or alcohol use, can be even more difficult to achieve than physical sobriety.
Many people think that because they read in a book that recovery will make them “happy, joyous and free,” their life will suddenly turn into a Norman Rockwell painting. That way of thinking can be very dangerous. What happens when life’s normal winding road takes a sharp curve? Is something wrong with you if you are not “happy, joyous and free” all the time?
Happiness is an emotion. As such, it can come and go all too easily. A large order of McDonald’s French fries can make some people happy. But what happens when the French fries are gone–or worse, unavailable? Can you live your life based on this kind of happiness-seeking? No, it is not sustainable.
Joy is something that lies within. It remains steady, regardless of emotional ups and downs. Joy is having peace in the truth that no matter what comes your way, you can face it with calmness and strength.
Emotional sobriety is learning how to experience life and its emotional ups and downs with presence, steadiness, and an underlying sense of ease.
Everyone has emotions. Emotional sobriety does not mean ignoring or avoiding your emotions. Emotions can teach us things about ourselves and our situations. So it’s important to acknowledge emotions as they arise and take the time to be with them. We can learn to have emotions without letting them control us.
Emotional sobriety means you don’t have to be afraid of your emotions. You can watch them surge up without judging them or immediately reacting to them. The more you learn observe the flow of your emotions with compassion, the easier it will be to have compassion for others and their emotions. The easier it will be to manage any cravings that arise as well as any feelings of anger or sadness or excitement. Addiction buries emotions by using substances to avoid them. Emotional sobriety is being willing to face and process emotions. It’s hard work and can take a lifetime to accomplish, but it will deepen your relationship with yourself and with others.
We can start you on the road to recovery.