Physical sobriety and emotional sobriety are two parts to a single unit in living a life free of alcohol and drug abuse. Physical sobriety means more than putting down the drink or refusing to pick up the drug. In other words, it means more than abstinence. Physical sobriety can take different amounts of time, depending on the substance and the length of time a person has abused it. Long-time alcohol use, for example, can involve serious liver damage and heart problems. Some drugs can cause almost immediate deterioration in brain chemistry, not to mention nerve damage and lung problems. Cases of severe addiction require medical intervention. Through a process of detox, followed by treatment to rebuild strength and maintain proper nutrition, physical sobriety results. Addiction, however, is more than a physical problem. It is a mental, emotional and spiritual problem. Unless treatment involves all those aspects of addiction, recovery is not complete. Emotional sobriety is the ability to experience feelings without relying on the relief of drugs or alcohol and to make choices about how to respond to stress.
Emotional Sobriety Restores Sense of Balance
One common trait of alcoholics and drug addicts is to imagine the “worst case scenario” when faced with a problem. If a loved one is late in arriving home, they must have been in a fatal accident. If an object is missing, surely someone stole it. If the dog doesn’t come when called, it no doubt has been struck by a car and is lying abandoned in the street. In other words, addicts and alcoholics are used to reacting. They go from zero to panic in less than 60 seconds. Recovery tools help substance abusers take a deep breath before reacting. They learn to realize that many situations, as dire as they may seem at first, do not require immediate action. Recovery treatment teaches people how to recognize emotional triggers and how to deal with them. With practice, alcoholics and drug addicts develop balance in all areas of their lives.