Tag Archive: addiction therapy

  1. Welcome to Emotional Sobriety

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    Welcome to Emotional SobrietyGenuine recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction involves more than just not using alcohol and drugs. It requires an afflicted individual to get past the emotions, stresses, and lifestyle habits that first led to substance abuse and that sustained the addiction. Failure to achieve this higher level of sobriety will convert an addict into a “dry drunk”, who holds onto negative emotions and harbors ill will toward a world that took his substances away from him.

    What is Emotional Sobriety?

    Addiction recovery experts refer to this higher level as “emotional sobriety”. A recovered alcoholic or addict who reaches this level will be able to look beyond anger, lingering resentments, guilt, shame, and other negative emotions, and will be better able to move forward with a positive outlook on his or her life. Failure to reach this level can lead to depression, frustration, and a sense that drinking or drugs are the only solution to those feelings.

    Achieving Emotional Sobriety

    The key to achieving emotional sobriety is being able to become aware of and come to terms with all emotions, both good and bad. Recovering addicts and alcoholics who let their emotions rule them without sensing and acknowledging those emotions will not reach the level of sobriety that allows them to avoid all temptations and relapses. Often this can be as simple as learning to count to ten when stress, anger, or fear raises the specter of a relapse. A short timeout may be all that is necessary to focus energy away from the emotion itself and instead to understand the threat to sobriety that is created by that emotion. Rather than doing something like drinking or taking drugs to make the emotion go away, a person who is working toward emotional sobriety will intellectualize the emotion. They will then work toward understanding the triggers that gave rise to the emotion and to respond to it in a healthy and productive manner.

    Accepting that alcoholism and addiction are diseases will help place a recovering addict on the path to emotional sobriety. A recovering alcoholic or addict will be encouraged to accept responsibility for his disease and the problems that the disease might have caused, but he will be equally encouraged to take responsibility for staying sober. In this manner, addiction recovery that focuses on conscious choices and not on knee-jerk reactions to adverse stimuli will get an addict or alcoholic past any negative elements that can cause a relapse. Addiction and alcoholism are, thus, unique in that they allow an individual who suffers from the disease to direct and improve his own recovery with intelligent and rational decision-making.

    Emotional Sobriety for Successful Recovery

    Facing emotions head-on, rather than numbing them with drugs or alcohol, can be a frightening experience. The natural human reaction is to bury negative emotions. Addiction recovery techniques, including those taught in 12-step programs, can be a critical component in teaching recovering addicts and alcoholics to deal with those emotions. This process may never really end, but as a recovering addict’s emotional sobriety grows, he will learn to handle even the worst of times without the false numbness that he previously found in drugs or alcohol.     


    For more suggestions on achieving and growing into emotional sobriety, please call Sustain Recovery Services at (949) 407-9052. Our staff can provide a confidential consultation and direct you toward the programs that can get you off of drugs and alcohol and help you recover your full physical and emotional sobriety.


  2. Exercise and Depression

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    Exercise and DepressionMarathon runners and other distance athletes are familiar with the concept of a “runner’s high”. Yoga practitioners strive for a sense of “being in the moment”. Professional athletes achieve high levels of performance when they are “in the zone”. Regardless of how it is characterized, the sense of well-being that accompanies physical exercise is an effective counter-balance to depression. Counselors and therapists are increasingly using exercise programs to treat depression and other similar psychological disorders.

    Exercise and Depression

    The physical benefits of exercise are well-documented. Exercise improves heart health and energy levels. It can lower your blood pressure, reduce your body fat, and improve your muscle tone and bone density. Physical activity also reduces perceived stress, boosts self-esteem, and leads to better sleep. When you feel good, you can better handle the adverse effects of depression.

    Researchers are gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms that create these benefits. Physical activity causes a release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters into your metabolic system that make you feel good. It also bolsters your immune system and reduces immune system stressors that can contribute to bad feelings. Exercising in group settings or classes will put you in a social environment that can improve your sense of well-being. At its most basic level, strenuous exercise can distract you from focusing on any bad feelings that might be holding you back.

    Exercise in Recovery

    This does not suggest that exercise can or should be a total substitute for other treatments, particularly if depression is severe  or is the result of a deep-seated psychological trauma. In these more extreme situations, exercise is an effective adjunct treatment that complements more traditional therapies. Even the smallest amount of physical activity, such as walking outside for ten minutes or doing light housework, can help an individual who is mired in a depressive mindset.

    Starting small and simple is a key to integrating exercise effectively into a therapeutic program to treat an individual’s depression, particularly if that individual has never participated in any exercise programs. An easy ten- to fifteen minute daily walk can provide a good foundation to increase physical activity to 30 minutes or more per day. A therapist who recommends an exercise program will want to remain vigilant to confirm that a person’s failure to follow those recommendations does not contribute to a deeper sense of failure and depression. Exercise should be treated as a reward and not as a mandatory event. It should also be scheduled into a person’s daily routine, rather than being left as something to do if and when an individual has time to exercise after a long day of job and family responsibilities.


    The number of individuals who suffer from mild depression has grown as society has become more sedentary. Physical exercise may not reverse this greater trend, but it can help individuals to regain some sense of well-being that may have gotten lost with the trend toward inactivity.

    For more information and suggestions on how exercise can help alleviate your depression symptoms, please call Sustain Recovery Services at (949) 407-9052.

Sustain Recovery changed my life in a way I never considered remotely possible. I arrived in a place where I knew nobody. Sustain Recovery gave me tools so that I never had to be alone again. I learned how to live like an adult and have genuine relationships with other human beings. I gained a sense of self respect, love, and pride from the challenges I was given by staff. I was able to work through the recent loss of my father and I achieved my goal of not taking any psychiatric medication.
I learned that life is an endless balancing act. I have to continually work on myself and my relationships with the people in my life. The staff at Sustain Recovery are all incredibly experienced and spiritual. They were available to me whether I wanted their help or not. Through their efforts and experience, I experienced the inner workings of having an intimate, loving relationship with a loving creator.
Sustain Recovery is “home” for me. I discovered a loving, caring family that helped launch me to a place I would have never dreamed and, if I would have dreamed it, I would never have believed I would be able to accomplish it.

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