Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Emotional Sobriety

Thank you for the response to my last email.  I have decided for now to continue posting here since I feel this is the best way to reach those individuals specifically in recovery or interested in recovery.

Today I am going to talk a little about emotional sobriety.  Emotional sobriety involves having peace of mind regardless of what is going on around you.  It involves maintaining a clear head, and trusting in the process of life - "living life on life's terms."  Accepting what you cannot change.  Having faith.  Taking a deep breath and not flipping out when things don't go your way or when you become fearful or worried.

photo source

Feelings are not facts.  Feeling a certain way does not mean that in reality things are going the way I think they are.  For example...

Last night I became extremely fearful of some things that were upsetting my daughter at her school.  I feared that she was being exposed to unfair and possible cruel acts by her teacher.  I feared that her emotional development was being compromised.  I feared that I wasn't doing a good job at protecting her from a teacher who doesn't know how to relate to kids in a positive, supportive manner.

I took a deep breath after listening to her concerns and went to a meeting.  Talked about it at the meeting and decided to bring my concerns to the school director the next day.  Sounds simple and mature and emotionally sound enough, doesn't it?

Well, what ended up happening is I got home and went to discuss my fears and how upset I was with my husband and the first thing he said that I didn't agree with launched me into a rage of blaming him for not supporting me, not seeing things my way, for not wanting her to take this class to begin with.

My fears escalated to not knowing what to do, not being able to handle this on my own, to going crazy with worry about the whole situation.  I ended up saying things to him that I regret and later had to make amends for my hateful words.  All based on fear.

The facts are my daughter is safe, my husband supports me, I am not a bad or neglectful mother, and I don't know for sure how this teacher really is.  I do know how she is making my daughter feel, however, my daughter's feelings may not be facts either.

Couple all this with the fact that I was physically ill all day with a migraine and dealing with my other daughter's science project challenges at ten o'clock at night (which had me already frustrated with my husband for not helping her while I was gone) and its no wonder I lost control of my emotions.

The bottom line is sometimes things like this just happen.  Sometimes we can't keep it together.  Sometimes we don't even know how stressed we are until we explode.  If I hadn't been sick earlier in the day, I would have had more "spiritual time" to myself and been better prepared to handle the stressors that evening.  If I would have know that my husband was going to use "tough love" on my procrastinating daughter by not helping her with her science project, I would have stayed home from my meeting. 

All of this makes me realize that my daughter's complaints about her teacher, while upsetting to her, and therefore to me, would have been easier to handle had I been more spiritually fit that day.

Today, I will spend extra time with my meditation books, I will get a nap in, I will take some extra quiet time to myself, I will write, and pray, and do all the things I normally do to prepare myself for the upcoming evening when everyone gets home.

Emotional sobriety for me includes recognizing that I am human and will make mistakes and forgiving myself for them.  It means that when I am sick, tired and lonely, I will be more suseptible to emotional binges like last night.

Sometimes these things catch up with me before I realize it.  But when I look back on the situation I find there are ways I could have prevented the emotional upset I caused myself and others.  Different choices I could have made.  And just knowing this gives me hope for the future.

I can learn and do things differently next time.  "Progress not perfection" is what I have been taught.  Watch out for "HALT" (being hungry, angry, lonely, and tired) and "Easy Does It."

Any thoughts? 


  1. Great post thank you for writing your blog. When I am hungry angry lonely or tired I may think I am still spiritually fit, that is until I try to have a conversation with my mate about anything that either one of us has any opinion over. :-)

    1. thanks, Rebecca. and yes, those opinions are tricky aren't they? haha.

  2. Marie I am so happy to have you back in the blogosphere....I am currently going throught the twelve steps and in Celebrate Recover for co-dependancy and being a classic enabler....and probably more things, I am finding along the way. "living life on life's terms"....seems like an easy statement....I find it hard to do so much of the time. It is a continual journey that I feel has no ultimate destination, expcept in passing from this life to the next.....progress not much truth in that Marie. Thank you for being a wonderful support and encourager in recovery! :-)

    1. thank you, Carrie. "It is a continual journey that I feel has no ultimate destination, expcept in passing from this life to the next....." I completely agree! Good luck and many blessing to you along your journey. recovery is as close to heaven as we can get right now :)

  3. Wow. I love this post. I'm going through similar things with my ds and a teacher at his school. His acting up has been taken personally by her, I suspect, and so, like anyone would do, she's reacting to the "personal" affronts. Sigh. When I went in to talk to the teachers & Principal, my goal was just not to cry. It's so frustrating. However, I did make it through the meeting and things are turning around. It's good to know that I'm not alone- as always. :)

  4. I like your thoughts on emotional sobriety. I realize that if I am courteous and have a good attitude towards others, treating them with respect and dignity, that they in turn begin to respond in a positive way. But if I react with anger or have an attitude towards others, I am met with hostility in turn.


Thank you for sharing!