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10 Tips on How to Create Emotional Sobriety.
How does a person learn to deal with feelings, thoughts and emotions, which arise from engaging and connecting with others and our lives, on a daily basis?
- Create emotional sobriety. One of the most challenging phases in recovery from addiction. As an individual, you need to relearn how to live. Wen we were, children our first steps are taken without awareness. As adults, we need to retrain our brain to assist in the recovery journey. Our brains are a wonderful asset and there are times when we can develop new neural pathways, creating change within our lives.
- Abstain from addictive behaviours. Doing this as the first step in the emotional sobriety process, will help you develop a deeper emotional balance.
- Be kind to yourself. This can be extremely difficult for those experiencing shame and guilt, from the way they have behaved, whilst locked in addiction. It is not necessarily something which comes easily to any individual. When you catch criticising thoughts, consciously take a moment, remind yourself that you are now dealing with your addiction.
- Find a Counsellor, friend or support network. Utilising our resources and yes people are a resource. Is one of the ways in which we can help ourselves. Speak with a trusted other. Someone who has insight and understanding. So you don’t feel or become judged. Ruminating (which means repetitively going over a thought) can increase anxiety levels. When anxiety levels are increased, our ability to problem solve is reduced. Which can lead you into reaching out for your substance of choice. Put in place the network to help get you through the difficult times.
- Get to know your trigger points and associations. As you follow all the points above, you will get to know and understand your trigger points. We can’t all hide away from the world, yet there are elements within our lives, which we can take control of. Take time as you learn to understand yourself. As an alcoholic – if your thirst is triggered. What is doing this? If you have a music list which you listened to purely when you were taking drugs. Delete it. Develop a new list. Not everything in life is controllable but you have the ability to develop discernment. Which will help you in gaining an internal locus of control.
- Work that stuff out. When you have followed the step above, you will be able to begin to look at what is troubling you from the past. What is borne out of the present and what is future related. The goal is to banish sober suffering. This causes trouble as it interferes with our ability to function in the here and now.
- Learn to sit with the emotion. The only way out is through. Doing this will ensure you build emotional resilience. You need to learn to develop this. There are different ways in which you can do this. Participating in a rehab program is a good way to begin. You can start by utilising the topic groups, counselling sessions & group therapy – knowing that they last an hour each. Develop a resilience in the doing. Recognise and acknowledge yourself as you sit with what is going on for you, every hour of your day. Follow step one and give yourself an invisible pat on the back for achieving your goal. Speak about what was going on for you with a trusted other. After and you’ll begin to see a pattern in how things move through.
- Know when to sit and when to shift. Sitting with the emotion of a difficult situation is challenging. Knowing when to sit and when to shift is something you can do to help yourself. The art is to not make yourself suffer but to help yourself when trouble is around. Follow the steps above. Know the importance of a plan and an action, when sitting with it becomes too much. What are you going to do to help yourself? This is when a good exercise routine comes in. A brisk walk in nature. A pop to the gym for a workout, or a swim in the local pool. Work out what you like to do and then ACT on it when you need to. Motivation is built in the doing not the thinking.
- Shed the skin. Have you noticed how when a snake sheds its skin, it looks fresh. Sight is renewed. The film over the lens is no longer milky. Think of yourself as being in the process of shedding your skin. It takes time. A snake rubs itself against different objects. In its movement it the skin chaffs off and wriggles down. Developing emotional sobriety will have you shedding your own skin to wear a new one.
- Discover your new identity. As you follow the steps above, you will find that you are discovering a new identity in the process. As you embrace emotional sobriety, develop emotional resilience and grow in emotional maturity, you gain understanding in yourself. As this continues it will help you to unfold and keep creating a new life.
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