Tag Archive: emotional health

  1. Steps to Protect Emotional Health Against Family Dysfunction

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    dysfunction-families-addictionGrowing up around alcoholism can create dysfunction in the way a person behaves and responds to the world. Coping it with in an emotionally healthy way is important to keeping safe boundaries. Learn some of the steps to protect emotional health.

    Emotional Health

    Emotional health is a way of doing things that helps individuals practice good self care. Being raised in a dysfunctional family can teach people from an early age to ignore personal needs and focus on the individual with greater needs at one’s own expense. Emotional dysfunction can be created within a family system that does not support positive personal growth and development.

    Healthy Families

    At least one parent will be in charge in any given household that is functioning in a healthy way and the children will be subordinate to the adult. The adults provide structure, guidance, protection and support for the younger children who do not have the maturity to do so themselves. Survival may be possible but to thrive, adults must be present in a good, healthy manner to provide proper support and care.

    Dysfunctional Families

    In homes where alcoholism or addiction are present, the family structure is broken. Parents who have addiction are not able to care for children and do not provide guidance and structure. Emotional roles go to kids who care for the adults. Denial of addiction and its ramifications run down to the very roots of the family structure and kids grow up learning to understand roles differently in these homes as compared to healthy family situations. Children have to become highly aware of tending to the needs of others and may ultimately fail to get what is needed to become a healthy, vibrant adult who tends to his or her own needs and can be in healthy relationship with others.

    3 Steps for Emotional Health

    Learning to build emotional health takes effort and time. The most important things to remember are the following:

    Identify the role

    It is best to identify the role a person has learned within the family. Figure out what the responsibility is, who is responsible for it and who is being taken care of in the home. The questions will help build understanding of the current situation and determine where to go from there.

    Examine consequences

    The consequences of taking on responsibilities that are misappropriated can have long lasting ramifications. If a child takes on adult responsibility, it can feel ‘normal,’ even if it is not. Think about the ways things were at home and compare to what is typical for a child of that age and whether it was meant to build skills or necessary for survival.

    Adapt and change beliefs or behaviors

    Acting based on who a person is takes time and diligence. This is the hardest part of being emotionally health. Think about whether it is one’s job to do the things given in the home. It may be obvious or less so but over time it will become apparent what feels right and what does not. Learning to adapt and change beliefs or patterns that are not healthy is the key to moving towards better emotional health.

    Resilience takes time for those who grew up with addiction or dysfunction in the home. Learning to say no to what is not one’s responsibility takes the pressure off and is important to building emotional health and wellness.

    Sustain Recovery provides support for young people needing time to recover from addiction. Gender Separate Extended Care treatment is provided for clients completing a primary treatment program or those needing a longer-term solution. Minimum length of stay is 90 days, sometimes longer depending on the individual’s needs. Call us to find out how we can help you or a loved one.


  2. 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.


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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