Emotional Sobriety Checklist

The Need for Emotional Sobriety

Addiction recovery goes beyond physical detox and abstaining from addictive substances. If your abstention relies on willpower and “following the rules,” or if you leave other issues unaddressed, stress from unacknowledged emotions will build up and eventually make you prone to relapse. The healthy alternative is emotional sobriety: learning to acknowledge and deal with your feelings, no matter how painful, illogical, or shameful they seem. And no matter how many times you’ve been told, “Real men don’t get emotional.”

Emotions: A Universal Phenomenon

Don’t believe the biased stereotype that says acknowledging emotions is unmanly or weak. Every human being has a natural capacity and need for human feelings. The first step toward emotional sobriety is to observe and name your feelings. The second step is to look for their real purpose, which may be:

  • Warning you to avoid a dangerous situation (the danger needn’t be physical: it may come in the form of being asked to take on more than you can handle mentally)
  • Spurring you to action
  • Helping you determine the best course of action
  • Helping you connect with others and build stronger relationships.

The opposite of emotional sobriety is denying or ignoring the emotions behind a problem (“I’m not afraid to ask for shorter work hours, I’m just too busy right now to schedule a meeting with the boss”). When emotions build up unacknowledged for too long, it becomes increasingly tempting to “cope” with the internal pressure via quick-escape methods—such as drug use or relapse.

Whether you’re just beginning addiction treatment, starting a long-term sobriety journey, or physically sober and struggling with everyday stress and/or relapse temptations, the following points are a useful “checklist” for reviewing your current emotional-sobriety status and your best next steps.

Are You Getting Regular Help from a Therapist and a Support Group?

The journey from emotional suppression to emotional sobriety is rarely short or easy. And especially where deep feelings are related to trauma, drawing everything out at once can prove too painful to handle. The best approach is getting therapy from a counselor who is experienced at helping clients ease into confronting their emotions. Also, join a peer support group where you can feel less alone and explore your feelings in an understanding environment.

Are You Willing to Acknowledge Your Limits?

Especially if you’ve always been a fix-everything man, it may be tempting to treat emotional sobriety as a goal to be achieved quickly in clearly marked steps. Don’t. As already noted, you may not be ready (especially in the vulnerable early stages of physical sobriety) to deal with the full impact of your strongest emotions. Even if you were, uncovering long-suppressed feelings is never a quick-and-easy task, and pushing for instant results only generates extra stress. And stress only encourages relapse.

Are You Accepting Reality and Focusing on What You Can Control?

Emotional sobriety includes the Serenity Prayer goals: “serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Contrary to what many people think, “acceptance” needn’t mean passivity or dishonest optimism, and it needn’t interfere with acknowledging emotions or taking action. What it means is not wasting time trying to change the unchangeable, not letting legitimate anger and grief turn into paralyzing self-pity, but focusing your energy on doing the best you can with what you actually have. (Including help from other people.)

Are You Regularly Practicing Mindfulness?

Mindfulness—the art of reducing stress by allowing yourself to fully experience present reality—is a vital part of emotional sobriety. Mindfulness includes objectively acknowledging your feelings (including any you think you shouldn’t have) as a first step to understanding what legitimate needs lie behind those feelings. Such self-awareness is important for planning effective ways to meet those needs.

Are You Approaching Emotional Sobriety with the Right Overall Attitude?

Besides facing up to existing emotions, healthy emotional sobriety means a long-term, way-of-life commitment to:

  • Self-understanding and self-acceptance
  • Taking care of yourself
  • Effective decision-making and problem-solving
  • Believing that change is possible, and being willing to do your share of the work
  • Building stronger relationships by opening up to (and listening to) others
  • Becoming the best, most honest version of your unique self.

Emotional sobriety reinforces physical sobriety by making life worth living for itself, without any chemical crutch. There’s no better defense against relapse!

Embrace Emotional Sobriety

If you’ve been told all your life that strong men don’t show emotion, you may find the journey toward emotional sobriety as challenging as the initial detox. The best way to make the journey easier is to share it.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a mark of courage and a first step toward overcoming challenges. PACE Recovery will connect you with a brotherhood of peers where you can safely explore your feelings from a position of strength. If you’re troubled by out-of-control drug use, wild mood swings, or similar problems, you don’t have to continue suffering alone. Contact us today to get started on the path to physical and emotional sobriety.

The 10 Best Gifts for People with Anxiety

Anxiety is quite common, with more than 40 million people experiencing it each year. Finding the perfect gift for someone who has it could be a challenge. Our guide helps you understand what people with this illness endure and what you can buy them to help alleviate some of their symptoms.

What Does it Feel Like to Have Anxiety?

Anxiety produces irritability, panic, dread, rapid heartbeat, restlessness, fatigue because of poor sleep, and other symptoms. People with it might feel on edge or engage in compulsive behaviors since they feel out of control. To demonstrate, someone anxious about finances might continually do their budget to quell their nerves.

What are Some Gift Suggestions for Those with Anxiety?

As such, you want to find gifts that help them feel calm, relaxed, and safe. Here are some suggestions:

  • Weighted blanket: A weighted blanket hugs your body, helping you feel secure and comforted. For those suffering from anxiety, it provides a relaxing haven.
  • Plants: Not only can a plant spruce up a room, but it can also help reduce anxiety. Lavender, in particular, is a wise choice. Its scent induces relaxation.
  • Epsom salts or bath bombs: Baths relax the muscles, resulting in improved sleep. And if you use bath salts containing Epsom salts, it calms anxiety.
  • Yoga: Yoga reduces anxiety through breathing exercises and mediation. If you know someone suffering from this condition, consider buying them a yoga mat and an app subscription to a yoga program. Or, if they prefer to take a class in person, you can purchase a block of them through a local studio.
  • Massage: Massage loosens the muscles, improves blood flow, and promotes relaxation. You can use websites like Groupon to secure a great deal from a local therapist.
  • Adult coloring book: Sometimes, having a fun activity can quiet the mind and allow someone to focus on another task. If your friend or family member loves to color, adult coloring books give them a chance to recenter and re-energize through something they love to do.
  • Tea: Drinking tea can also reduce anxiety. You can find cute tea sets at your local department store, boutique, or through an online retailer. When choosing calming teas, aim for ones with lavender, mint, green, or Chamomile.
  • Exercise class: Exercise lowers anxiety and helps promote a healthier sense of well-being. You can buy a membership to their favorite exercise class, a gift card to a local gym, or an app subscription.
  • Meditation apps: Meditation can also soothe anxious minds. You can give this gift by purchasing a meditation app.
  • Journal: A journal allows a person to empty their thoughts on paper. Not only can this be a wise way to curtail anxious thoughts, but it can also help someone discover the source of their anxieties and thought processes around them.

Take the First Step Towards a Peaceful Future

Only 36% of people receive treatment for anxiety. There are many therapies available that can help you confront the source of your anxieties. You also learn coping behaviors, leading to healthier outcomes.

If anxiety interferes with your daily life, reach out to an admissions counselor. We will work with you to explore all the treatment options available.

How to Deal with Holiday Depression

Often, we associate the holidays with tidings of joy, happiness, and glee. But the opposite can also apply. The financial and social pressures of the season can make you feel inadequate, stressed, or depressed. Our guide delves into the reasons for holiday depression. We also supply tips to help you feel better when depression strikes.

What Causes Holiday Depression?

This time of the year requires more out of us. The pressures of engaging in social activities can produce feelings of anxiety, reaching the point where you would prefer not to go. You could also feel the squeeze of trying to buy gifts for everyone when money is tight. And all the demands of holiday gatherings could lead to you feeling exhausted and worn thin.

It can also be difficult for those who live far away from family and friends. The commercials of family gatherings and the memories of previous holidays can make you feel isolated and alone. And these feelings can result in depression symptoms.

Symptoms of Holiday Depression

Some of the most common behaviors associated with depression are:

  1. You lack interest in doing anything. You would rather shut down and stay away from others. You might cancel plans with friends or loved ones because you do not feel like going.
  2. You might also feel more fatigued. Having depression can wear you out emotionally and physically, resulting in feelings of restlessness even after a good night’s sleep.
  3. You also experience trouble concentrating on tasks.
  4. You express feelings of sadness, apathy, or emptiness.
  5. You could also have either a reduction in appetite or a sudden increase in it.

How Do I Feel Better During the Holidays?

  1. The first step is to admit you are feeling depressed. On its own, it isn’t an easy step to do. But it gives you power because you’re willing to acknowledge how you feel.
  2. From here, share with a friend or loved one how you’re feeling and what triggers those feelings. They can serve as an accountability partner to be there for you when you feel down or empty.
  3. Find healthy activities to help boost your mood. Eating healthy, refraining from drinking, and exercising are all steps you can do to feel better.
  4. You can also expand your social circle. If you don’t know anyone near you, try meeting people who share the same interests. You can find local groups on Meta (previously Facebook) or Meetup. You could also try a new activity like a book club, exercise class, or hobby to meet others.
  5. It is okay to say no. If you feel overwhelmed, you must strike a balance between doing everything you want to do and wearing yourself out.

Help is Here When You Need It

The holidays are a difficult time for those suffering from depression. In a survey of people diagnosed with mental illnesses, 64% said the holidays worsened their conditions. The study suggests the holiday season places a magnifying glass on why people with depression struggle.

If you experience any depression symptoms and want to talk, feel free to reach out to us at Pace Recovery Center. We offer inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for depression.

PTSD Symptoms in Men

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects 3.5% of adults every year. While women are twice as likely to incur PTSD, men still are susceptible to it–especially if you experienced a traumatic event or have a dangerous job. This guide examines the causes of PTSD in men, symptoms displayed, and treatment options available.

What Causes Men to Have PTSD?

Often, men experience post-traumatic stress disorder after:

  • Witnessing a horrific event like murder or accident.
  • Suffering verbal, sexual, or physical abuse.
  • Experiencing combat as a member of the military.
  • Working as a first responder, where the nature of the job involves helping people in terrifying and life-threatening situations.
  • Working as a police officer puts people in contact with abuse victims and traumatizing experiences.
  • Surviving a life-threatening event.

PTSD Symptoms in Men

Typically, symptoms fall into one of these four categories:

Intrusive Thoughts

It is common for men to relive their experiences through flashbacks, nightmares, and other memories. The memory can be so vivid you feel like you are back in the event again. Moreover, you might experience triggers like noises or words that draw you back to the traumatic event. A car backfiring might mimic gunshots, or the wail of police sirens might catalyze thoughts of a bad accident.

Disassociation

Men with PTSD might avoid any scenario that makes them address this memory. It can include places, similar events (like driving), and people.

Alterations in Mood

Men might have feelings of guilt, frustration, and fear. They might blame themselves for what happened. Furthermore, their experience might make them feel like they cannot trust anyone. If you have PTSD, you may revert away from people you know or activities you like.

Changes in Behavior

Those with PTSD might be prone to bursts of irritability, be overly protective, and engage in self-destructive behaviors like drinking. It can also lead to a decrease in sleep quality and concentration.

Do PTSD Symptoms Go Away on Their Own?

You might experience PTSD within three months after the traumatic event happened. However, in other instances, memories might surface years later.

It is common for symptoms of PTSD to vary in intensity over time. However, the behavior patterns formed to combat this disorder could live longer than the memories do. To illustrate, you attempt to self-medicate to avoid these feelings and memories through drinking. It is why being proactive in receiving treatment for PTSD can help alleviate these symptoms and lead to more promising outcomes.

Help Tailored to Your Needs

If you want to talk about your PTSD symptoms, feel free to reach out to our admissions counselors. We’ll help you learn about all the treatment options available to you.

Contact Us

...
PACE Recovery Center is an essential business. Click for more information about PACE's COVID-19 protocols and residential treatment options during COVID-19.
close