26 Dec 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!