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Managing feelings in recovery is one of the keys to long-term addiction recovery, and that usually takes a lot of work. You may deal with sadness, frustration, or anger in early sobriety, and for all of these issues, you’ll need an approach to recovery known as emotional sobriety.

With emotional sobriety, you work on your recovery while also managing these powerful new emotions. Without the crutch of alcohol or drugs, many people struggle to stay sober. But with emotional sobriety, you can quit drugs and alcohol for good.

What Is Emotional Sobriety?

Emotional sobriety is a lifestyle approach to addiction recovery. Like conventional sobriety, it takes a lot of self-control and perseverance. But this recovery strategy takes emotions into considerations, and it lets you take stock of your emotions without giving in to any one feeling.

For many individuals, their addiction starts as a result of untreated mental health issues. For example, depression affects 7.1% of Americans, and anxiety affects an additional 19.1% of the population. In cases of untreated mental illness, people may turn to substance abuse as a means to cope with those unpleasant emotions, which can lead to a co-occurring substance use disorder.

In this way, emotional sobriety can be a big help in addressing both mental health conditions and addiction. By taking stock of your emotions as you move through recovery, you can improve your mental health while staying focused on addiction recovery.

Why Does Emotional Sobriety Matter?

Managing feelings in recovery is an important step, because quitting drugs and alcohol often comes with a lot of powerful feelings. Abusing substances to cope makes it possible to avoid confronting emotions, but emotional sobriety can help you face and address them in a healthy, constructive way. Not only will this help keep you sober, but it will also help improve your mental well-being.

Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid these emotions once you’re sober. And as 2020 has showed all of us, powerful emotions can spring up for reasons outside of our control, like the coronavirus pandemic. So if ignoring emotions will not be possible, then it’s important to plan to address them with emotional sobriety strategies.

How Can You Achieve Emotional Sobriety?

Emotional sobriety is absolutely within your reach, but you should not expect it to be like flipping a switch. Like other forms of sobriety, it’s something that you have to work toward every single day.

Managing your emotions during recovery, especially early recovery, is a big hurdle for a lot of individuals. It’s normal to feel largely unhappy at the start of sobriety, but that doesn’t mean that you should give in. Sobriety clears your head, which could mean bringing back painful memories and feelings. And while that can be unpleasant, the only way forward is to deal with them.

Anger in early sobriety is especially common. You may feel anger with yourself for things you did while in active addiction, or you could be angry about something that was outside of your control. Emotional sobriety will help you address this anger and work through it in a way that empowers you rather than makes you turn back to drugs and alcohol.

anger in early recovery

The good news is that while emotional sobriety does not become perfect in an instant, it does start the second you choose to be sober. Once you’ve made that decision, you can start working with mental health and addiction recovery professionals to address co-occurring mental health and addiction issues.

In a dual diagnosis program, you can work on recovery skills with treatment modalities like:

All of these will serve to help you better regulate and control your emotions during recovery. The process of successfully achieving emotional sobriety has its challenges, but you’ll find that it’s well worth the effort. And with caring, compassionate professionals, you don’t have to feel alone in your recovery process.

Sobriety Starts Now

At Port St. Lucie Hospital, we can help you start on your emotional sobriety journey. Our specialized programs are tailor-made to address both mental illness and substance use disorders, and we always customize treatment plans to your unique experiences and recovery goals. If you are ready to quit drugs and alcohol for good, we’re ready to help you start lifelong sobriety.

If you’d like to learn more about how to start emotional sobriety, call our friendly admissions specialists at (772) 238-7734 or ask your questions online.  The best time to quit drugs and alcohol is always today!

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