After you have become physically sober, you will still have more work to do if you want to be able to get the most out of this new life. One of the most important things you will need to do to ensure your future happiness is to develop emotional sobriety. This can be defined as the ability to handle your emotions, which is important because it is often the failure to do this that drives many into addiction in the first place.
Emotional sobriety differs from physical sobriety in that it is not something that you can just switch on. You develop this type of sobriety over a long period by dealing with life in a more effective way. The fact that this important ability can develop slowly means you may not be aware that it is occurring, so here are eight signs that can give you an idea that you are on the right track:
1. You are Living More in the Moment
If you are constantly fretting over the future or feeling regret about the past, you probably have a lot more work to do in your development of emotional sobriety. One of the clear signs that you have developed this ability is you find it easier to just live in the present moment with your racing into the past or future. Practices like mindfulness meditation are great for helping you develop this ability.
2. You Do Not Have the Need to Run Away from Life
One of the clearest signs that you are developing emotional sobriety is that you no longer feel the need to run away from your emotions. There will always be problems to be faced in life and difficult emotions to endure; the trick is to not eradicate them but to get better at dealing with them. If you are able to deal with life on life’s terms, you are well on your way to emotional sobriety.
3. You Spend More Time Thinking about Others
The fact that you now have more of a handle on your own emotions means you are free to focus more on others. This can become a wonderful source of joy, and you can start to feel as happy about the triumphs of other individuals as you do about your own success. One of the great secrets of life is that real happiness is to be found by developing deep connections with other people.
4. You Are No Longer Interested in Any Mind-Altering Substances
The fact that you are now so comfortable in your own skin means that mind-altering substances are no longer appealing to you. As you develop emotional sobriety, you begin to realise that almost everything you need for happiness is available in the current moment.
5. You Appreciate All the Good in Your Life
Emotional sobriety means you do not have to keep on achieving more and accumulating new goodies in an attempt to make yourself feel better. From this new perspective, you are able to see that you already have plenty of good in your life, so you are now free to appreciate all of this good stuff.
6. You Tend to Have a Positive Outlook on Life
Being emotionally sober does not mean you get a free pass in life, but it does mean that you generally view being alive as an incredibly wonderful privilege. You develop the sense that things are always going to work out in the end, which means that you are generally positive and upbeat about things; this makes you an attractive person to be around.
7. You Rarely Experience Strong Emotions
The fact that you now have so much control over your emotions means that you rarely get angry or experience other strong emotions. It is like there is this inner sense of tranquillity no matter what is happening. If problems arise, you are able to deal with these calmly and effectively.
8. You find it Easy to Regulate Your Own Behaviour
You may still have some bad habits, but your level of emotional sobriety means you find it easy to change your behaviour. You understand that the goal is progress and not perfection, but you keep chipping away at any bad habits because you know this is going to improve your life.