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Accepting Negative Emotions in Sobriety

Experiencing negative emotions—anger, sadness, resentment, frustration—is an inevitability. The serenity we experience in recovery will undoubtedly be tested on our journey. We may be unable to control experiencing these emotions, but we can choose to keep them from overwhelming us by practicing acceptance. Although difficult at times, acceptance of negative emotions can mean the difference between being overtaken by negativity and overcoming whatever distressing situation we are experiencing.

Eckhart Tolle, in his book Stillness Speaks, explains, “Do you really need to mentally label ever sense perception and experience? Do you really need to have a reactive like/dislike relationship with life where you are in almost continuous conflict with situations and people? Or is that just a deep-seated mental habit that can be broken? Not by doing anything, but by allowing this moment to be as it is.” Rather than focus on how we feel in reaction to a situation, we can choose to accept the situation as is. By doing so, we are much less likely to create the inner conflict that leads us to seek relief in drugs and alcohol. Instead, we can accept the situation, experience it, and continue on our journey of recovery undeterred by negative and conflicting emotions.

Acceptance of our emotions allows us to live free from the sort of feelings that arise from internal conflict between what is and what we want. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains, “And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life—unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.” When faced with a negative emotion as a result of an unchangeable situation, we can either allow the internal conflict to grow and overtake us, or we can accept the situation as is and continue to move forward in our recovery. Emotions like anger, resentment, depression, and anxiety can be disastrous in the early stages of sobriety. Through practicing acceptance, however, we can maintain our sense of serenity and continue on the process of recovery and spiritual growth.

Your life can become one of serenity and peace of mind in sobriety. You can make the decision to embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery by seeking help today. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, believe in addressing addiction from every angle, including the mental, physical, and spiritual. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, please call today: (833) 242-6431