Tag Archive: emotional sobriety

  1. Gaining Emotional Stability in Early Recovery

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    Gaining Emotional Stability in Early RecoveryDrug addiction and alcoholism create an intense physical connection to the abused substances. That physical connection can be broken through a difficult detox process and ongoing treatment. Breaking a physical connection to drugs and alcohol will not break the deeper psychological connections. Cravings stem from the chemically dependent brain that has been rewired to need drugs or alcohol for normal functioning. Those cravings lead to intense mood swings and emotional instability. Gaining a renewed sense of emotional stability is a remarkable accomplishment and landmark in the long term recovery process.

    Emotional stability is often equated with maturity. We see young children who throw tantrums as being emotionally immature because they are unable to control their emotional responses to disappointing situations. Emotionally stable and mature adults are better able to regulate their responses and their moods. Drugs and alcohol erode an emotionally mature adult’s ability to have a regulated response. In young adults and adolescents, harmful substances halt critical developmental processes in the brain. Often it is said that the age where substance abuse began is the age where emotional development stopped.

    Meditation and other relaxation techniques can instill an even-handed response to a difficult situation by calming a recovering addict’s nerves and allowing him to handle stress with something other than drugs or alcohol. Research has shown that meditation helps to shrink an individual’s amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for “fight or flight”. A person with a more active amygdala will be prone to more rash responses, including drug and alcohol use, when confronted with a stressful situation. A smaller amygdala also allows growth in an individual’s frontal cortex, which helps a person to concentrate and have a more measured response to stress.

    Emotional stability will rarely be recovered quickly or instantaneously. Small steps can be taken at first to keep his emotions in check. Over time, a mature and measured emotional response will become second nature. Because emotions can be fragile, a recovering addict should continue to practice meditation and other techniques that are designed to maintain and expand his emotional stability as his recovery takes him into genuine sobriety.


    Emotional sobriety is part of sustaining long term sobriety from drugs and alcohol. The extended care services program at  Sustain Recovery Services in southern California teaches adolescents and young people the life skills they need for achieving long term sobriety. Please call 949-407-9052 for more information on how our unique aftercare program can help you build a life of recovery.

  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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