What is Emotional Sobriety
Emotional sobriety is in essence the ability to regulate one's emotions rather than being regulated by them. This is a very big part of sobriety, because most addicts, while they were using, were not in control of their emotions or experienced very strong emotions that seemed to uncomfortable to deal with without the use of drugs or alcohol. For this reason, emotions like anger, sadness, discomfort, and even excitement, are all triggers for many addicts. In recovery, addicts learn what it is to be emotionally sober. In other words, they are able to completely change the way they perceive and process emotions so that they are no longer in the habit of turning to substances.
Finding the Real Cause of Emotions
When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they often have severe emotional problems because they numb their emotions with substances rather than getting to the root of why they feel a certain way in the first place. The problem with this is that the true reason for these emotions is never discovered and worked through, and the emotions grow more complicated and severe while the addict numbs them with substances. In recovery, an addict learns that a big part of emotional sobriety is finding the cause of negative emotions. Often, this takes quite a bit of reflection, as many emotions may be as deep-seated as childhood. When an addict learns that they can control their emotions and intellectually work to find their roots, they are actually able to process their emotions in a meaningful way. This allows for lasting and permanent change and reduces the instances of negative emotions and the feelings of helplessness that may come with them.
Having Control Over Actions
Just as an addict must learn to recognize impulses to use and choose not to act on them, they must also be able to recognize their emotions and choose not to act on them. It is normal and acceptable to feel an emotion like anger, but sobriety comes when an addict chooses calmly nto to act on their anger, rather than behaving in a way that their anger is in control of them and not vice versa. Finding and harnessing the ability to do this can have a major impact on an addict's ability to live a happy and sober life because, for the first time in a long time, they are able to have real control over their behavior.
Emotional Sobriety and Resilience
With emotional sobriety comes the ability to "roll with the punches," so to speak. Having the ability to not be controlled by one's emotions means that no matter what kind of obstacles life presents, it will be possible for a recovering addict to move through them with grace and strength. The reality of recovery and life in general is that there will always be challenges that will be encountered. Transforming your life is no small feat and it takes much work and dedication to work through these challenges with emotional sobriety that allows for you to handle anything that comes your way without using or allowing your emotions to rule you.