Rehab initially focuses on physical sobriety, but emotional sobriety is just as important to the recovery process. When someone suffering from addiction decides to seek help, their first step is to detox from the substance by putting aside any emotions and doing whatever it takes to get clean. Once the person is sober, they can begin to dive into their emotional health and work on their long-term recovery.
Emotional sobriety is having the power to regulate one’s emotions and moods. This really means understanding how to process and deal with stressful and intense feelings without acting irrationally. Many people turn to addictive, compulsive, or destructive behaviors when faced with these types of feelings. Emotional sobriety is essential to maintaining a sober lifestyle because it can help prevent the urge to use the substance in the first place. Without emotional sobriety, physical sobriety is difficult to maintain.
The concept is challenging to understand, so to make sense of this, imagine someone who is unable to handle their emotions—without the added substance abuse. Many people are physically sober, but cannot deal with stressful situations without exhibiting destructive behavior. Without having the control over their emotions, the person cannot truly be considered sober.
Physical sobriety is relatively simple to achieve. Although hard on the body in many instances, it’s a straightforward concept to understand. Emotional sobriety can be a little more vague, and take a lot of work to achieve. There are addiction fellowships and other programs that offer support from others who have experienced the same challenges. Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, 12-step programs, and therapy are options to help those who are working on emotional sobriety. Other practices to control physical responses to intense emotions include:
Staying stable. Take control of emotional sobriety by being conscious of feelings. When feeling depressed or sad, acknowledge those feelings and focus on things in life that are positive and be humble.
Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness consists of staying in the moment. Focus on the “here and now,” rather than thinking ahead to the future. Make the most of the present time, because feeling anxious about what is uncontrollable will do nothing positive to emotional sobriety.
Meditate. Anxious feelings can cause physiological effects, like increased blood pressure and heart rate. Practice deep breathing and meditation to calm down and control physical responses.
Each person’s treatment plan will vary based upon the situation. Be sure to work with a professional to determine the best course of action. Treatment Now has a staff of recovery experts who are available to answer any questions, so call today.
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