happy woman embracing life

What Is Emotional Sobriety?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Emotional sobriety is something you should be working on from the time you enter a detoxification program through the end of recovery. It should be part of your addiction treatment plan as a final goal for your health. Whether or not this goal is described as emotional sobriety, you should be working toward a way to deal with stress and turn away from the substance abuse you’ve used in the past to get through cravings or triggers.

What Is Emotional Sobriety?

Emotional sobriety is defined as the transformation you go through beyond physical sobriety. With emotional sobriety, you must learn to cope with and feel your emotions without turning to drugs or alcohol to mask them. When you’re emotionally sober, you are more aware of your emotions and how they affect you personally. You can experience both good and bad emotions without attaching those feelings to the need to drink or take drugs to cope.

You need to acknowledge the fact that drug or alcohol abuse is covering up an underlying emotional concern. For instance, if you have anxiety and cover that fear with drug or alcohol abuse, you need to address the underlying fear and recognize that drug or alcohol abuse is not a solution.

Emotional sobriety means you can handle all your emotions, good or bad, without substance abuse. You’ll be more balanced as an individual and capable of being calm, even when you’re faced with triggers or stressors you normally would turn to drugs or alcohol to handle.

Why Is Emotional Sobriety Important to You?

If you’re not emotionally stable, there are few ways to make sobriety work for you physically. As long as your emotions control you, you’ll always turn back to the habits that you’ve learned to cope. If your coping mechanism is using drugs or alcohol, then that will spur you into addiction once again, even if you manage to reach a point of physical sobriety.

The importance of being emotionally sober can’t be underestimated. The stronger you feel mentally, the better you’ll be able to handle anything that comes your way in life. Detoxing and getting clean is only the first step of treatment, and you need to learn how to turn away from the allure of drugs or alcohol when the going gets tough. Temptations and cravings are part of a lifelong battle for some, and learning to cope will help you get through those moments with grace.

Achieving physical sobriety without emotional sobriety will likely lead to relapsing. Until you can manage your emotions and build the confidence you need to maintain a drug or alcohol-free lifestyle, long-lasting physical sobriety can be difficult or impossible to achieve.

depressed girl sitting alone

How Do You Get Sober Emotionally?

Getting sober emotionally may take some trial and error. The first thing you need to do is make sure that reaching a point of emotional sobriety is part of your treatment plan. That may mean speaking with your therapist about moving past emotional cravings or desires. Or, you may want to consider using medications to manage dual-diagnosis disorders, so you can think more clearly.

As you begin to work through your program, it’s important to talk with your therapist about your emotions. You need to acknowledge them and experience them. As you do, your therapist should help you learn how to cope with those emotions and the stress that may come with them. As time progresses, you’ll learn to manage your emotions and feelings and direct them to more positive, and even healthy, methods of coping.

Your therapist and other medical professionals you work with want you to succeed at this stage of your treatment. They will teach you methods you can use to cope and may guide you through the stages of learning to be emotionally sober. However, the real work has to be done by you; only you can address your feelings and emotions without trying to cover them up. You need to look at your situation, determine why you feel the way you do, and decide on the way you’re going to move forward. For some, relapsing will be what they choose, but you can choose to move on in a positive way. You can create plans and strategies to help you through your triggers, so you don’t turn back to drugs or alcohol.

How Can I Get Involved in a Drug or Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program That Can Help?

Finding a program that can help you focus on your emotional health is important. If you’re ready to take that step, our helpful specialists can talk to you about your options and the programs you may benefit from. Call us today by dialing 1-844-489-0836 to speak with someone who can help. If you prefer to visit us online and want to learn more about the programs offered, you can visit us at www.firststepsrecovery.com.

Meet Our Team
Meet Our Team

From our certified therapists and nurses to our emotional support animal "Cooper", our entire team is dedicated to the health and success of our clients throughout our program and beyond.

Help Is Available. Speak With Someone Today.

Our admission team is available to help 24/7.
Skip to content