The journey to full sobriety is long and arduous, surprising and joyful, challenging and draining, and one of the most important endeavours in a former addict’s life. For those in early recovery, who may have just left an addiction treatment center, sobriety may simply mean resisting the urge to use drugs or alcohol every hour of every day. But full sobriety isn’t just about abstaining from your drug of choice; it’s a holistic transformation that affects every part of who you are. How you experience and react to emotions, how you confront cravings and stressful situations—that’s what emotional sobriety is all about.
Those in recovery often wind up in addiction recovery facilities because they’re chemically dependent on a substance, but, digging deeper, why are they dependent? There’s a whole constellation of genetic and environmental factors that contribute to addiction—such as childhood trauma, parental addiction, chronic stressors like poverty, and much more—but one of those factors is emotional instability. Emotional instability, or the inability to healthfully process and cope with intense or unpleasant emotions, can increase a person’s likelihood of addiction, especially in combination with other risk factors. And conversely, emotional sobriety can decrease a person’s likelihood of addiction or relapse.
Active addicts often face almost insurmountable obstacles in their lives: poverty, relationship problems, family pressure, abuse, homelessness, childhood trauma, co-occurring mental disorders—the list is nearly endless. In these cases, addiction usually begins as a means of self-medicating, of blocking out the excruciating pain and escaping. But if these people had a means of healthfully coping with their emotional or physical pain, they might be less likely to pick up a bottle or a cut a line. The goal of many drug rehab programs is to equip clients with the tools they need to achieve emotional sobriety.
At addiction recovery programs, staff usually teach clients about emotional sobriety and how to handle and process negative emotions instead of blotting them out with drugs. These negative emotions encompass a wide range: boredom, stress, fear, anger, anxiety, disappointment, rejection, pain, shame. Instead of repressing emotions, emotional sobriety involves addressing, analyzing, and ultimately responding in a positive manner to negative emotions. In this way, people building up emotional sobriety can take on the challenges as they come along, and even dismiss and overcome cravings. As they journey into recovery, those who develop emotional sobriety will also be less likely to relapse, and will have a firmer foundation for their lifelong sobriety.
If you or someone you love is trapped in an addiction, please contact our understanding representatives at Mental Health Series right away. We can help you find the treatment and care you need. We list many luxury drug rehab programs that are designed to accommodate your individual needs and will help you on the road to long-term recovery. After going through a supervised and safe detox, you will learn practical skills for dealing with addiction, participate in meetings and groups, and develop a strong foundation for sustained sobriety.