Emotional Sobriety in Recovery

Dr. Purushothaman
January 13, 2014


Emotional sobriety and physical abstinence are two different things.
Now obviously, in order to have emotional sobriety in your recovery, you have to have established a firm baseline of physical abstinence from alcohol. This is really a given and should come as no surprise to anyone. But to really attain a smooth life with a high level of emotional balance....that is another story entirely.
So how do we go about attaining this level of emotional sobriety? How can we achieve this balance among the storm of early sobriety?
One way that we can strive for this balance in our life is through daily meditation. Many of us, after getting sober and sticking around for a while, can quickly go back to a hectic pace of life that leaves us tired and drained all the time. This is no good for us and we need to recharge our batteries every once in a while. This can be done through ritualistic meditation, or through a less formal means of relaxation if you prefer. But the important thing is that you have this increased awareness of the need for emotional stability in your life.
Getting bent out of shape at work? Do you feel restless for no apparent reason? Are you irritable? Listen to these signals. You must become more aware so that you can identify these symptoms and react accordingly. Unbelievably, many people go through life without even realizing when they are getting emotionally off balance and therefore never take any steps to correct it. If you are trying to stay sober in recovery then you must force yourself to do better than this. You have to stay cognizant of this possibility so that you can avoid letting yourself be out of balance for too long and potentially end up drinking over it.
Now another great strategy when it comes to maintaining emotional sobriety is in the idea of prevention. If you can stop this state of unbalance from ever occurring then you will be in good shape when it comes to your recovery. How can we do this?
The best way that I have found is a bit counter-intuitive: you have to reach out and help other alcoholics. Now for many people, this sounds like it might lead to more chaos and instability in one's life, but the exact opposite seems to be the case when it comes to sharing our experience with other recovering alcoholics. The benefit that you get from doing so far outweighs any emotional turmoil that you might encounter along the way. In helping others in recovery, we can put our own life and recovery into perspective. Most of us assume this is not necessary, but it definitely benefits us to do so. A big chunk of our emotional balance is in simply reassuring ourselves that we are OK.
Another great way to achieve emotional sobriety in your life is to push yourself to grow holistically. This can be a bit hard to grasp at first because we believe that if we go out of our comfort zone in order to grow in recovery that we will risk upsetting ourselves emotionally in order to do so. Once again, it turns out that any benefits from pushing for this growth in our life outweighs any of the chaos that might come along with trying to reach our goals. In other words, it's always worth the risk when we try to develop ourselves on a personal level.

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