Emotional Sobriety

Emotional Sobriety

“Taking Recovery to the Next Level – Emotional Sobriety and How to Achieve It”

The Neurotic’s View on Emotions in Recovery

Written By Kirk Markey — December 26, 2016

Okay folks, emotional sobriety is a subject that is close to my heart. Mostly because I’m not good at it.  Hopefully addicts will still benefit from reading my story.  At least you will have a better idea of what NOT to do.

I’m completely neurotic.  I worry about everything, including stock market fluctuations in Indonesia and getting a rock in my shoe.  But mostly I worry about me.  I worry about what this person or that person will think about me. I worry about what benefits I can wring out of life. I do this until I am insane.

I don’t mean to be like this and I sure don’t think it’s a great quality.  I’m really self-centered.  Fortunately, and with a lot of help, I’ve found a solution for a few hundred of the nine million things that bother me.  Here’s some of what I did to achieve the emotional sobriety that I did.

Expectations, Emotional Dependence and How I Got Partly Free

I got clean and sober 13 years ago with 12 steps.  It’s not the only or the best way to do it, but that’s what I did.  While doing my moral inventory, I discovered (again) that I was completely dependent on the outside world for, well, pretty much everything.  But the worst was that I needed others’ approval for my own self-esteem and emotional well-being.  Thank the universe that I have overcome this!  No, not really overcome it.

I had to reduce my expectations.  I had to understand that other people did not exist in relation to me.  No one owed me anything.  No one.  And what they did give me was a gift.  I had to stop reducing people I cared about to Kirk support units.  They had their own lives, and I had to derive my self esteem from within.

Participating in the Human Experience and Why Not Me?

Two things are definitely true.  I’ve achieved a lot more emotional independence and I’m still really whiny.  There is still a lot of work to be done. Most of the work is continuation of what I did to improve in the first place.  Here are a few things that helped me.

I reduced my expectations and emotional dependence by developing myself.  I built relationships with lots of people.  I had to divide the burden of my madness through many people, so it took them longer to get tired of it. And when I got uncomfortable (19 times a day), I allowed myself to feel it.  Eventually, the discomfort would go away when I took action.  The actions for me were being a good employee, friend and husband.

I put the following ideas into practice.  Pain, deprivation and hard work are all part of the beautiful and awful human experience.  I began to participate in this more fully.  I participated in the hardship, anguish, and joys of the human condition.  And when something bad happened, like getting a rock in my shoe, I didn’t say “Why Me?” I said “Why not me?”  Seriously, who am I to be exempt from the difficulties of life?  I’m not!