The struggle of daily life can seem insurmountable when people are unable to handle their emotions. A shortage of emotional maturity can make satisfaction a hard commodity to come by. This also makes it more likely that maladaptive coping skills such as substance misuse will be utilized to cope with the discomfort. Relying on drugs and alcohol to cope with negative emotions halts emotional growth and development.
This is why there is a focus in early recovery on continued emotional development, or emotional sobriety. A failure to develop this emotional sobriety makes it difficult for an individual to rebuild coping skills outside of drugs and alcohol. Unpleasant emotions are a part of life, so learning healthy coping skills is paramount to continued recovery from addiction.
The ability to manage feelings positively is a hallmark of emotional sobriety. An emotionally sober person is no longer held captive by negative emotions. They are able to ‘feel their feelings’ and maintain a sense of serenity at the same time without the urge to escape into substance misuse.
A key to emotional sobriety is learning to keep acceptance high and expectations low of the people, places and things that come into an individual’s life. When an expectation is not met, it leaves the door open for resentment and other negative emotions. Acceptance means living in the reality of a situation or problem and making a choice to find the best solution or response. There is a great deal of empowerment and peace in choosing to come from a place of acceptance.
One of the foundations at the AToN Center
is ‘Manage Emotions’ which fosters the development of emotional sobriety in a multitude of ways. There are recovery studies on Codependency, The Role of Values, Building Sober Support, Entitlement, Frustration Tolerance and Honesty in Recovery. We also offer psychology groups that help build emotional sobriety such as Core Beliefs, Rationalizations for Use, Empathy, CBT on Emotions and Self-Esteem.
The development of emotional sobriety is a process that takes time and patience. But the pay off is a newfound sense of serenity and confidence in the ability to manage uncomfortable emotions without the use of drugs and alcohol to escape.
AToN Center 888-535-1516