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What is Emotional Sobriety?

Achieving sobriety is about more than just not drinking or using drugs. It is about changing our lives and our reaction to life in a manner that reflects positivity, happiness, sound decision making, and a code of love and tolerance of others. As we continue our journey of sobriety and begin developing coping tools that allow us to live lives of spiritual principles, we find that our emotional natures also begin to improve.

The main text of Alcoholics Anonymous, often referred to as the “Big Book”, discusses the problems that affects everyone suffering from alcoholism: “We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn’t control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn’t make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn’t seem to be of real help to other people.” These “bedevilments” are common among men and women suffering from addiction and alcoholism, and do not necessarily go away once we stop drinking or using drugs.

Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, noticed that he was still feeling depressed after he stopped drinking. In 1958, The Grapevine published an article describing Bill’s ongoing struggles in recovery. The article, entitled The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety, has Bill explaining “how he had found peace of mind by letting go of his expectations and practicing what he calls ‘outgoing love’– a love less concerned with what one gets and more with what one gives.” According to Emotional Sobriety: The Next Frontier, by cultivating a willingness to let go of problems and focus on solutions “ we can let go of fear, selfishness, and resentment, put aside selfish demands, practice outgoing love, and become more connected to our Higher Power and our friends, family, and fellows.”

Cultivating emotional sobriety allows us to gain a new perspective on our lives. According Wray Herbert, in a 2012 Scientific American article entitled The Nuts and Bolts of Emotional Sobriety, the idea of emotional sobriety is that men and women struggling with addiction “must learn to regulate the negative feelings that can lead to discomfort, craving and—ultimately—relapse. Doing so is a lifelong project and requires cultivating a whole new way of thinking about life’s travails.” Emotional sobriety does not mean we will always be happy. Rather, it means we will be able to process negative emotions in a healthy way.

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can make the courageous decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future in sobriety. Resilient House, a treatment facility located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, understands the tolls addiction can take on your mind, body, and spirit. The caring and compassionate staff at Resilient House are ready to address all the aspects of substance dependency to bring you to a state of wholeness that supports long-term sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431