I had no idea that sobriety was anything more than getting clean. I thought, “I stop drinking, and I get my life back.” I quickly realized, however, that abstinence was only the first step towards my happily ever after.
Suddenly, I was being repeatedly slapped in the face with all of these emotions that I had no idea what to do with, because I was so used to stuffing them down into the bottom of a bottle.
I went through periods of depression that brought me to tears. Then I got so angry and resentful that I was suffering from such despair that I cried some more. I was trapped in a vicious cycle of tears.
I learned about emotional sobriety in a residential drug and alcohol treatment program, but I thought it was just a natural extension of the recovery process. It wasn’t until I got out of that sheltered environment that I realized I had never developed any healthy coping skills, which is what contributed to my addiction in the first place.
I had spent most of my life dumbing down my emotions with alcohol. Now I had to actually feel them and learn how to deal with them. It was the only way I was going to be able to live a happy, sober life.
This realization totally overwhelmed me at first. I mean, I went through so much to get sober, only to feel like I couldn’t even enjoy it. It wasn’t until I understood that everyone has emotional ups and downs to deal with that I learned I wasn’t a victim.
So I stopped behaving like one. And that’s when I knew I had it.
Here is my checklist:
- I Can Step Back – When negative forces hit, I can look at the whole picture and not just focus solely on how I am feeling. By keeping all of the elements of a situation in perspective, I am less likely to fly off the handle. It gives me the opportunity to take a deep breath and stay calm while looking at things logically.
- I am Living in the Present – By letting the past stay in the past, I am actively recognizing that each day is a new opportunity for learning, love, and laughter. With that level of positivity, I can take a hit and keep on standing.
- I Control my Mood – Challenges are always going to be there, but I don’t allow them to take charge. I have confidence in my ability to meet them.
- I Balance my Activities – I prioritize both my tasks and my recreation so that I don’t feel exhausted or overwhelmed by the end of the day. An important part of that is learning how to say no and recognizing that it is okay to do so.
- I Know my Limits – Avoiding bars and parties where alcohol is being served may be seen as a drag by some, but I know there is nothing but unnecessary temptation for me there. I don’t let temptation wear me down.
- I am the Only One Walking in My Shoes – I have spent some time getting to know myself and how to live a sober life on my terms. Advice and suggestions are fine, but at the end of the day, I know what I need to do to maintain sobriety.
- I can Deal With the Unexpected – Life throws everyone lots of curve balls. I have developed the ability to adapt without getting flustered.
Emotional sobriety is an ongoing process, but when you have it, you’ll know it, and you’ll never want to let it go.
Beginnings Treatment Centers is located in beautiful and sunny Southern California in Orange County, which has one of the strongest and most active recovery communities in the United States. If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, call us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors, we’re here to help.