If you’ve ever struggled with some intense negative emotions, you probably value emotional stability. Not being able to handle your emotions can really put a damper on life and cause problems at home, work, and well, just about anywhere. When we talk about achieving emotional sobriety, what is it that we mean? What exactly is emotional sobriety?
Before we answer this question, let’s discuss a little bit about emotions. From the time we are very young, our emotions begin maturing. Learning how to contend and cope with life in an emotionally mature way is certainly beneficial. Sometimes, though, what happens is that down the road as adolescents or adults, people start using alcohol or drugs oftentimes to cope with inner pain, and what this does in stunt emotional growth. Essentially, you stop growing or maturing emotionally.
What is Emotional Sobriety?
Emotional sobriety occurs when we realize that our emotional health has not been up to par, so we embark on an emotional healing and growth journey in order to learn how to contend with our feelings in a healthy and positive way. It’s dealing with life in an emotionally mature way instead of immature ways like numbing out via booze or drugs or coping immaturely like pouting, screaming, shutting down, etc.
Emotionally sober individuals no longer define themselves as victims of their emotions. They take their power back and learn to feel their feelings, sit with them momentarily, process them, and then let them go.
Ways to Develop Emotional Sobriety
As you move forward in your recovery, keep in mind the following ways you can move toward emotional sobriety:
1. Mindful Meditation
Meditation is a technique that helps individuals gain some control over their thought life and learn how to feel, process, and let go of negative emotions. To be mindful means to be aware of the present moment; to keep in mind what is going on each moment as it arrives. As you begin to practice meditation and mindfulness, you will begin to view your thoughts and emotions as separate from you. You are not your emotions, so negative emotions don’t have to continually plague you. As a result of becoming aware of this, you no longer have to feel controlled or pulled by emotions like anger, sadness, anxiety, shame, fear, and so on. You can ultimately open yourself up to experience and feel emotions like happiness, peace, and love.
Begin journaling about your life and your emotions. As you write down how you’re feeling, you’re releasing some pent up energy, which will allow you to feel some relief and ultimately, you are moving toward emotional sobriety. As you journal, you can look back and track your growth as well. Journal daily or when you feel led. There is no right or wrong way to journal; do what feels right for you.
3. Get Counseling
Processing your emotional life with a trained counselor is a great idea. This way you can bounce your ideas off of someone who understands how the emotions work and have tools and techniques that can help you learn to manage your emotions. Sometimes we simply need help in learning how to feel our emotions and not be overwhelmed by them, but to process them maturely. It will take some time, but it is completely possible.
4. Have a Handful of Tools in Your Emotional Wellness Toolbox
Whether in counseling or on your own (or both), learn some coping skills that you can throw in your toolbox to use as life throws some things at you. Maybe you need some help communicating your feelings to others in a healthy way. Read up on the topic. Ask others for their suggestions. Attend therapy to learn new communication skills. There are plenty of tools and techniques available for you to help you achieve emotional sobriety.
5. Hang Out With Positive People
Your friends and associates do influence you, so be sure to have a positive, supportive sober network that you hang out with, as this can inspire and motivate you greatly. You might even want a mentor to be accountable to and learn valuable tools from.
You will have plenty of opportunities in life to learn valuable lessons. Working toward emotional sobriety is a worthwhile endeavor, so if you feel like your emotional life is less than ideal, keep in mind that there is hope and you can begin working toward emotional wholeness and sobriety today. You do not have to struggle emotionally any longer. Take these tips into consideration and take some steps forward to begin your emotional sobriety journey.