Tag Archive: recovery counseling

  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. Healing a Broken Heart

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    Healing a Broken HeartBroken hearts are not just the province of poets and love-sick teenagers. Modern psychotherapy has recognized the traumatizing effects of events that can lead to deep depression and misery, such as the death of a loved one, a job loss, abusive experiences, and the dissolution of a relationship. Some individuals pursue counseling as soon as they experience one of these events. Others will self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to ease the pain that accompanies a heartbreak. If individuals in this latter group devolve into drug or alcohol addiction, breaking that addiction will not be sufficient to heal them completely and to keep them on a long-term path to sobriety. That addict or alcoholic will also need to heal his broken heart.

    A broken heart often leads to resentment, which locks an addict or alcoholic into a pattern of remembering, reliving, and retelling painful events. A person who holds onto festering resentment will use drugs or alcohol to soothe painful memories, rather than confronting and getting past those memories. As those memories embed themselves more deeply into a person’s psyche, he will focus his energy increasingly on his own internal problems.

    Healing a Broken Heart

    An addict who wants to heal a broken heart must learn to let go of the pain. He can do this first by allowing himself to feel and experience that pain fully. Pain that is buried becomes the seed for resentment that holds an addict back. An addict should experience the full amount of anger, rage, disappointment, and any other emotion that the painful event has created. Allowing the pain to come out will also connect the addict with compassionate counselors and therapists who can sympathize with and help him get past his pain.

    Addiction recovery programs often focus on the power of forgiveness. An addict needs to forgive himself and the people who might have hurt him to recover from his addictions. The same holds true to heal a broken heart. As difficult as it can be, an addict should forgive the person who caused his heartbreak. Forgiveness allows an addict to end any blame games and to shed the mantle of victimhood. Recovery programs also encourage addicts to make amends with individuals that they might have hurt themselves. Forgiveness and atonement will go a long way toward healing a broken heart.

    Forgiveness and Mindfulness

    True forgiveness can take time. It will be easier for an addict who live in the present moment to forgive the individuals who hurt him and caused his heartbreak. Meditation and prayer can help an addict to achieve the mindfulness required to live in the moment. Meditation will also help to focus an addict’s mind on the positive elements in his life.

    Lastly, support from family and friends and a healthy lifestyle that contributes to positive physical health will help create a positive mindset to heal a broken heart. Recovering addicts who participate in 12-step recovery programs will have substantial experience with third-party support and healthy living. Individuals who are not in one of those programs can incorporate these elements into their own lives to treat a heartbreak.


    A broken heart can cause more pain than a physical injury or serious illness. Drugs and alcohol might mask the pain temporarily, but that pain will come roaring back when the effects of drugs and alcohol wear off.

    Please call Sustain Recovery Services at (949) 407-9052 for more information and suggestions on how you can heal a broken heart in a positive and long-lasting way.

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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