Emotional Sobriety Matters

Welcome to the first edition of Emotional Sobriety Matters. I am so excited to be sharing with you on this topic. Whenever I have mentioned the idea of “emotional sobriety” to others, it receives a positive response, “Wow, I like that idea”. I think ’emotional sobriety’ resonates and describes something all of us desire.
Over the years, I have come to appreciate the need for emotional sobriety in my life. I have had to face old patterns that no longer served my ideal of who I want to be. Most of the time, these changes have come as a direct result  of some sort of impasse in an important interpersonal relationship. It is in my relationship with others that I am faced with my own strengths and my limitations and shortcomings. From these rich relationally-based experiences, I continue to grow and learn more about living a full, emotionally sober life. I hope that this newsletter can become a resource for you to move more fully in this direction.

What is Emotional Sobriety?

Emotional sobriety is more than just abstinence from an addictive substance or behavior. Anyone who have overcome an addictive state knows that this does not immediately – or even over the long run – create a sense of inner harmony and direction for our lives. Often, our emotions are just as ‘in control’ of our lives in a seemingly ‘out of control’ way. Often, our important relationships are fraught with discord, instability, or even abuse. We are sometimes still anxious and afraid to face life on life’s terms. In other words, it is difficult to find that ‘peace within’ that all of us are really ‘craving’.

I understand emotional sobriety to be the thread that pulls together the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of our recovery and makes whole our fractured selves. It is about finding balance and learning to regulate our emotional lives in a way that brings understanding, without the drama that leads to ongoing distress. It’s about focusing on ourselves without calling it “selfish”, but rather knowing that if we create a deep sense of well-being within, that we are able to be in the world in a healthy way. It is about knowing that there is no separation with our everyday lives and our higher spiritual selves.

Qualities that Increase Emotional Sobriety

Over the next few months, I will explore with you some qualities that that indicate emotional sobriety and what you can start to do in order to increase these qualities in yourself. So let’s start with a few today:

  1. Self definition: this is the understanding that who you are is uniquely you and that you are comfortable expressing your ideas, beliefs, feelings and desires with others
  2. Confidence: this means that you believe in yourself and your ability to succeed at achieving your goals. It also means that you are comfortable being who you are, in spite of others’ opinions or differences
  3. Emotional Regulation: this means being able to manage your emotions so that you feel that you are in control, rather than your emotions controlling you
  4. Social connectedness: this is the ability to have connections with others and feel that they understand who you are and you understand who they are
  5. Interpersonal Intimacy: this builds on #4 as it relates to the ability to maintain deeper connections without going into a flight/fight response, resulting in a deeper sense of satisfaction and meaning in life.Challenging Yourself to Change
    Why don’t you spend some time assessing yourself – without judgment – on these five qualities. Pick one quality that you want to work on, and begin to know yourself better in relation to this issue. Do Not Beat Yourself Up if you are not where you want to be. Practice acceptance and try to stay open to the potential for change. I know that is not easy, especially if you came from a family where every mistake was duly noted.
    If you feel ready, begin to risk being more of who you want to be – i.e., be more self revealing – tell someone you care about something they don’t know about you that expresses a passion or desire or dream in life; or try to contain your anger rather than explode – walk away or call a friend or do some deep breathing to buy time. Practice acknowledging and feeling the energy of anger rather than act it out. Give yourself lots of strokes for any small improvements, as this will reinforce change.
    Best wishes on your journey to emotional sobriety.

Until next time,

Sue Diamond Potts

This newsletter is meant to provide you with information and tips for improving yourself. It is not meant as a substitute for therapy or counselling. Please feel free to forward a copy of Emotional Sobriety Matters (in its’ entirety) to others who may be interested in personal development.

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