Emotional sobriety is essential for people who want to quit taking alcohol or drugs. It helps a person address the issues that led them to get addicted. It also helps them to properly deal with recovery challenges.
Without emotional sobriety, the risk of relapse rises so high. This happens because people struggling with addiction may turn to alcohol or drugs to eliminate emotional distress.
What Is Emotional Sobriety?
Emotional sobriety refers to the skill sets that help a person recover properly from the usage of drugs or alcohol. It involves coping with negative emotions and thoughts responsible for causing addiction.
Physical Sobriety Vs. Emotional Sobriety
Physical sobriety and emotional sobriety are two different things. Physical sobriety refers to the practice of not using drugs or alcohol.
When a person is addicted, drugs and alcohol remain in their system for long periods of time. Physical sobriety involves freeing the system of these drugs and detangling from their dependence.
On the other hand, emotional sobriety involves freeing oneself from the feelings that lead to using drugs. Unlike physical sobriety, emotional sobriety can’t be achieved just at once. A person needs to develop it gradually.
Although physical sobriety is essential in addiction recovery, it is not enough. A person still needs to have emotional sobriety to recover fully. Both are essential for preventing relapse.
Addiction & Emotions
Addiction and emotions have a great connection. A person addicted to alcohol or drugs is more likely to struggle with managing their emotions. Due to that, they may show traits like:
- Acting impulsively when dealing with a situation that challenges them emotionally
- Having a pessimistic view of life
- Difficulties regulating emotions such as anger
- Not being able to maintain long-lasting connections with others
Addiction also thrives on emotions. When someone is happy and have positive emotions, they tend to make healthy life choices. However, when a person is sad and has several negative emotions, they easily make unhealthy decisions. These include drug abuse which leads to addiction.
How To Develop Emotional Sobriety
Some of the ways that can help a person develop emotional sobriety include:
Adopting Mindfulness Practices
Mindfulness practices are meant to ease the mind, release negativity, and calm the body. These practices help reshape the brain and bring more awareness, control, and happiness. Mindfulness practices involve just observing emotions and paying attention to the body.
Practicing Behavioral Therapies
Behavioral therapies help a person be more aware of their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This approach also helps a person change or cope with negative emotions. Some of the behavioral therapies effective for people dealing with addiction include:
- Exposure therapy
- Addiction recovery programs
- Cognitive-behavioral analysis
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Motivation enhancement therapy
Learning How to Deal with Negative Emotions
Negative emotions can be overwhelming to a person trying to recover from addiction. This is especially common during the initial recovery stages. While it’s normal to have these emotions, they can easily lead to relapse.
If negative emotions seem to replace the positive ones, then a person needs to look for ways to eliminate them. Some of the most common negative emotions include frustrations, fear, and anxiety. Below are some of the things a person can do to get rid of these uncomfortable feelings.
- Seeing these emotions as a means of growth or opportunity
- Sharing these feelings with somebody who cares
- Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation
Building Strong Social Connections
Building strong social connections is another effective way of developing emotional sobriety. When a person has strong connections with others, they can talk about their feelings and what is disturbing them.
They can also talk with people who have battled addiction before. Such people can be of great help as they understand what addiction entails. They can also give advice and tips on how to develop emotional sobriety.
If a person often stays alone, they tend to get deep into thoughts, which can hurt emotionally.
It is important to understand that social connections don’t have to be with friends or family. A person can also form meaningful connections through peer group meetings.
Journaling is one of the best ways of developing emotional sobriety. The goal of journaling is usually to help a person process their feelings and thoughts. It also helps them understand how they feel, think, and cope with various circumstances.
While there are several ways of journaling, they all have the same benefits.
Below are some of the ways how journaling helps improve emotional sobriety.
- It helps a person identify and cope with various triggers during recovery
- It helps a person identify self-defeating and negative thoughts
- It helps a person self-reflect and sees whether they are making progress
- It helps one cope with stress and anxiety related to addiction recovery
Hobbies are beneficial to the long-term recovery process and can be healthy coping mechanisms. Finding activities that bring joy and entertainment can improve emotional well-being during recovery. Hobbies can act as a way of distracting your thoughts.
The likelihood of having negative thoughts is usually high when a person is idle. When practicing a hobby, a person becomes engaged, reducing such thoughts. Additionally, a person can form meaningful relationships with other people when practicing their hobbies.
On top of that, hobbies can increase a person’s self-esteem. For example, if they are very good at something, doing it can positively affect how they feel and see themselves. All these benefits that come with doing hobbies contribute to emotional sobriety.
To recover from addiction, a person needs emotional and physical sobriety. Achieving emotional sobriety may take time, but it is achievable. The first thing is to be aware of someone’s emotions and take steps to eliminate the negative ones.
At Inland Detox, we understand the role of emotional sobriety in the recovery journey. If you or your loved one is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, we are here to help. Inland Detox customizes our treatment plans to suit the needs of every individual. Regardless of your situation, we focus on helping you achieve long-term sobriety. Give us a call today to learn more and start your recovery journey.