Emotional sobriety – the holy grail of any recovery

In my own journey of processing childhood trauma and addiction I’ve come across the term ‘emotional sobriety‘ multiple times, and its poetry struck me. In all the meetings I’ve been to recently, I have not met a single addict with a happy upbringing. So after all, being sober isn’t enough anymore, now I’ve got to be okay with having feelings too?!

Drugs are either depressants or stimulants – including legal drugs such as tobacco, sugar, social media and shopping. All of them allow us to disappear for a while, to forget about whatever led to us seeking external stimuli, and to coat our own feelings with that sweet sweet nothing. Often, we simply feel too much, or are not able to safely express our emotions.
In a way, addiction saves lives. It has certainly saved mine. And then it turned around and ruined it.

With all this big talk about meditation and the buddhist retreats I’ve been to, am I actually able to sit with my emotions? Do I allow myself to be angry, to not feel responsible for everyone’s feelings around me but my own? Am I able to regulate how I feel, to listen to my emotions like I am meant to? I have vilified parts of me for longer than I have known myself.

But my body knows better than me. It knows what it likes, and who it doesn’t. It knows it’s boundaries, even if irrational at times. And it’s time I start really listening and respecting the signs my body is sending me. Even if uncomfortable, at least it’s real.

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