The journey through recovery takes several important steps. First you must stop engaging with your addiction, in my case, stop using drink and drugs. Next you must learn to live without your addictions. Then, you need to create a life where it is easier not to go back to your addictions.
There is, however, another step. In order to maintain your recovery, you must obtain “emotional sobriety”.
This is probably the hardest part of the recovery journey. It requires you to shine a light into the darkest recesses of your life, and bring those parts of you to a place of peace.
Peace doesn’t mean that things will always be great. Recovery comes with all the ups and downs of life in general. No, peace means an ability to engage with our emotions in a healthy way.
The reason it’s so hard to attain emotional sobriety is because in order to do so, one must learn to live with the scars of past traumas and to weather out your triggers.
Truth be told, I’m not entirely there yet, but it is something I am working on everyday.
When we have emotional sobriety, we learn to react to our triggers in healthy ways. We learn to express our emotions from a place of love and patience. We approach others from a place of kindness.
Without this mindset, there is an increased risk that we will find ourselves bogged down in resentment. As any recovering addict will tell you, resentment is poison to the mind.
Reaching this place requires a lot of hard work. I started by having extensive trauma therapy to come to terms with the things that have happened in my life. I had to unlearn the lessons that taught me to approach others from a place of judgement.
The greatest lesson I learned, was to sit with my emotions, and choose not to react immediately. Sometimes we need time and space from even ourselves in order to respond in a healthy manner.
This step of recovery can take years to perfect. I have met people decades into recovery who still struggle with the concept. It is important to give ourselves the time, love, and self-acceptance that we need in order to reach that place.
Practise a peaceful life. I promise you won’t regret it, and I promise that you are worth it.