Physical sobriety is one of the first things focused on in treatment. Addiction takes a toll on the body so getting to the point where an individual can focus mentally takes some time. Once the physical space is cleared, it is time to focus on the emotional aspect of recovery.
Compulsive, destructive behaviors keep physical addiction going but without emotional regulation and a focus on mental wellbeing, it is nearly impossible to remain sober. Regulating one’s emotions is not as easy as it sounds, in fact it may be one of the hardest aspects of recovery. Old habits and patterns are ingrained in an individual who experienced addiction for a long time. Abstaining from the use of alcohol is the easy, tangible aspect of recovery while emotional sobriety is quite abstract, a concept that is a continual process as life continues.
Tips for Maintaining Emotional Sobriety
Help is available for individuals who wrestle with emotional sobriety. Fellowship groups of peers such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or other 12-step or non-12-step programs can support people who seek the support of others in working through emotional regulation. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or other therapies with mental health professionals can also support an individual in recovery from addiction reform old habits and patterns. There are some additional practices which may be helpful.
Emotions work on a pendulum for most people, swinging one way or the other but generally staying in balance. An individual in recovery from addiction may struggle with physiological and mental shifts in thinking and living with creating bigger swings, creating more erratic thought patterns or behavior. Quieting the mind, focusing on open space, and breathing deeply can help slow erratic thoughts, and bring peace and calm to a person’s mind. Doing this will also bring the heartbeat down which can help an individual feel centered and in control. Focusing on the here and now, being present, helps bring positive thinking forth, away from reeling negative thoughts or patterns.
Humility is a great way to remain grounded and focused on what is important right here and now. Physical sobriety took effort and attention, so an individual might remind themselves how hard the work was to get there and be reminded how far the journey has come but remain humble and grateful.
Being centered on another higher power can help regulation emotions. Focus on a higher power reminds individuals there are forces greater than oneself out of one’s control which can help bring acceptance of what is rather than what might or should be.
The journey to emotional sobriety can be just as challenging as physical sobriety. It is unique to each individual but finding people to share it with will help with a focus on what one can, rather than what one cannot, control and lead to a long, healthy recovery.
If you suspect yourself, a friend or family member needs help overcoming an addiction, contact Hired Power at 800.910.9299. Trained counselors and therapists are available to answer questions and provide support.