Emotional sobriety means different things for different people, but mostly it’s about feeling it all. Everything, all the time, sometimes all at once. Putting down substances to get sober doesn’t completely set you up for success in recovery. Sobriety is a day-by-day walk filled with a thousand tiny steps. Each day is a new one, filled with ups and downs. Try these tips to keep you tip-toeing your way through recovery, one step at a time.
Many people use substances to numb out. While under the influence of mind altering substances, it is harder to feel the highs and lows of life. Addiction is more complicated than just numbing out now and again, it is a complex process of chemical changes in the brain and the body. Learning to understand how your emotions work is key to staying sober in recovery. That means feeling ‘all the feels,’ as they say, even when it’s hard. Anger can bring up frustrations and make us uncomfortable. Sobriety rids the safety net of substances and lays a clean slate for the body and mind to process what is happening ‘out there,’ by turning it inward. A boss will say something you don’t like, a loved one might irritate you, and sometimes life is just a bummer. Everything can feel overwhelming but it does get better with time.
How to Cope
Emotional sobriety is learning to cope with life and being in tune with yourself. Emotions can flood the brain and body, creating a chain reaction. Healthy coping skills focus on comprehending the emotion, regulating it, and finding a way to cope with the stressor before acting on it. Learning to accept how the brain and body process emotions helps keep the focus on healthy coping skills. Emotions can catch us off guard, but learning to channel that into a positive response can help you feel better about things. Some things to consider when coping with emotional flooding that will help regulate how you feel:
- Identify which emotion you’re feeling. Is it jealousy, envy, shame, fear? Once you identify it you can apply a coping strategy to it.
- Identify how someone else is feeling. If you know how someone is feeling in a certain moment, you can respond more appropriately.
- Learn to move forward even when you’re not feeling your best. If you can tolerate not feeling awesome all the time, you are more likely to cope better when things take a different turn.
- Finding a way to soothe your own emotions in times of pain or discomfort. You will not like every emotion you feel, but you can learn to tolerate and even accept it.
Different ways to cope with how you feel include therapeutic support from counselors, group meetings, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and other practices which help you take power away from the emotion to focus on a healthy strategy for coping. It may take practice and patience to learn how to regulate your emotions, but over time you will find positive ways of engaging with your own and others’ emotions to experience a more balanced approach to life.
Sound Recovery helps you take steps to cope with life’s stressors and emotional challenges. Our programs and services are designed to support your journey to recovery. Call us to find out how we can help you get started on healing from addiction: 561-277-3088