Friday, August 12, 2016

Emotional Sobriety

from Google

Sometimes I'm so grateful for the tools my S-AnonCandeo, and AA programs have taught me that I feel like I could burst at the seams. Like brightly colored confetti of happiness is going to fly out of me in all different directions at any given moment. I’m that dang thankful for all that I’ve learned the last six years.

Recently we had an issue in our home with one of our children. It was something that I couldn’t control. Lord knows I wished I could. (We all know how much I love(d) that control. But this time, it was totally out of my hands. In the end, it was a way for me to sit down and have an open and honest conversation about some very difficult topics. My program tools helped me do that.

So did my emotional sobriety.

Because if I didn’t have emotional sobriety, I think I would’ve been thrown into a world of chaos and that could’ve led me to slip in either of my programs (with hypervigilance or drugs).

Emotional sobriety is being aware of your emotions, no matter what they are and not ignoring them. Then when you’ve acknowledged those feelings, you deal with them in a healthy way. It's finding a healthy balance, a sense of calm, even when life gets chaotic. Had I not had emotional sobriety during that time my child was going through crisis (and still is), I would've been right there alongside them, losing my cool too…being sucked into the problem instead of creating the solutions.

I often wonder if emotional sobriety is overlooked sometimes during recovery. Not just for the addict’s recovery but for their partner’s recovery too. The focus tends to be on getting the addiction itself stopped, whatever it is: drugs, alcohol, porn, but then what? How is the addict, partner, and the family supposed to learn how to manage life after the addiction is addressed?

I know I fell into some unhealthy roles before I had it. My emotional sobriety served me well during our talk. It allowed me to listen to my child instead of commandeer the situation. It kept me from panicking instead of accepting the problem. And I also didn't lash out at the person who caused the situation. Instead, I thought about it first, then responded. The old me would've reacted in about three seconds flat with a nasty phone call or email. So, I'm very grateful to have this tool in my toolbox.

For those of you who'd like to hear a great talk on emotional sobriety, here's a link to a talk by Tom B. Jr. I posted it three years ago but I listen to this at least twice a year. It's that good and it's not just for addicts and alcoholics. This guy is a fantastic speaker and deserves a spot at Ted Talks.


Enjoy!


What about you? Do you tend to get wrapped up in family problems or do you step back and offer solutions? Or do you distance yourself completely?





54 comments:

  1. Sorry you and your kid are dealing with a tough situation.
    I'm pretty even-keeled anyway, which helps when things get crazy. Plus I try to seek God before responding. (I don't always, but I try.)

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    1. Thanks, Alex. I appreciate that. This situation has brought us closer together. <- Our silver lining. I've learned to turn to God now. I didn't before. Before I tried to control the situation and everyone in and around it. Not good. Same with turning it over to God. I'd turn it over only to take it right back. Now I'm not quite as bad. I usually let Him keep it. Sometimes I take it back though. *smiles*

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  2. I'm a bit reactive. I think Type A people are like that. I've gotten better though. Age has mellowed me.

    I hope you and your child can work through the problem.

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    1. I'm a total Type A personality. I used to be very reactive but the program(s) have helped me settle down. I'm sure age has helped too. I'm glad you've mellowed out too...funny that getting older isn't all that bad, huh? Thanks for the positive vibes!

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  3. Hopefully all is worked out indeed at your feed.

    I tend to be a bit of a smart arse and turn things around that way. If it's something super serious I'll bite my tongue, usually, until something that will help and not escalate things comes out. But rarely do I ever have a temper, if ever.

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    1. Thanks, Pat. Things have a way of working out one way or another (great, now that song is stuck in my head!), life is like that now.

      I could see you being a bit of a smart arse at times but also knowing when to hold your tongue when appropriate. I don't see you as being a fly off the handle kind of guy. You're far too chill for that. Despite all the crap I give you, I know you've got an emotional balance...the cat...not so much! haha

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    2. haha the cat just let's his mouth run. That and maybe he'll go pee on someone's head he doesn't like.

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    3. That's because the cat is pure evil!

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  4. I hope this whole situation will be worked out soon. I'm sorry you are dealing with it.

    Unfortunately I tend to be reactive. Not that I freak out at other people, more just that I freak out on myself. I can also be distant which I know isn't healthy either. I should listen to the link you shared! Thanks for sharing it.

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    1. Thank you, Julie. I knew the day was coming so it wasn't a big surprise, just one I wasn't looking forward to and honestly wasn't ready to sit down and talk about but now that it's done, I'm glad it's open and being discussed. My poor kid though. Ugh. Being a parent can be tough.

      I can relate to what you're saying Julie. I can distance myself from others too. I tend to detach as a way to protect myself from being hurt or even from hurting them. It's something I have to work hard on. That whole work in progress thing. If you listen, I hope you take as much away from it as I did.

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  5. Great post today!!! I was the enabler as well as the co-dependent in my sons drug addiction. Emotions come in many forms for those abusing drugs as well as those of us on this side of the addiction, loving the person who uses and abuses drugs. It's an emotional rollercoaster that you sometimes can't get off of. Thank you for this post! Visiting From The Chronicles of Loving A Heroin Addict @http://memorialvigil.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks, Gossip Girl. I fell into both roles with my hubby as well. His addiction was to porn. Gadzooks, right? Who knew such a thing existed? Not me, that's for sure. Took me by surprise! :) But I'm grateful for the addiction and all that came afterwards. Forced me to take a hard look at myself and see that while I was chemically sober from drugs, I wasn't emotionally sober. You're right, it's such an emotional roller coaster on both sides of the addiction. Having our emotions in balance is vital for a healthy recovery no matter what the addict chooses to do. Thanks for another visit.

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  6. I don't think you really want me to get going on people and emotional knee-jerk reactions and never stopping to think about things beyond rationalizing the aforementioned emotional reaction.
    heh

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    1. I don't know, Andrew, you have some really good thoughts on many different topics. I bet I'd find it interesting.

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  7. I hope I've learned my lesson on control... except when neccessary, lol.

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    1. I'd like to think I'm the same too, Chris. Although, I suppose there is a time and a place, huh?

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  8. Sorry about your kid. Maybe they need a good run in socks down the hall.

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  9. I'm grateful to not be a parent, because it would be so, so challenging to be and maintain a healthy level of emotional sobriety. You're a big, mature person. I appreciate that you're always focused on self-evolution. Love you lots, darlin.

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    1. It is a very challenging job but it is also very rewarding. I have to remind myself of that every so often. There are many times I'm banging my head against a brick wall...or that's how it feels, anyway, until I see the payoff. You rock too, my dear. Love you lots!

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  10. I live alone, which gives me the space to sort of gain some perspective before I plunge into a problem of a friend or loved one. That's probably good, because I really need the distance to stay sane.

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    1. I've wondered what it would be like to live alone. I've never been completely alone. I've always had someone: either a roommate or my children. I think I'd be lonely after too long a time although I know I'd enjoy the quiet time like I do when I'm alone now for a chunk of time. It does give me time to think and reflect (and write!) All that to say, yes...distance can be good. :)

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  11. I tend to observe the situation, but when I step in to offer help, I try to keep an even keel and not be judgy. My stepdaughter in law has told me that she can talk to me because I don't get judgmental. I try not to get too wrapped up in family drama. If someone asks me my opinion or for help, I try hard to be as diplomatic as possible. So I guess there's emotional sobriety there.

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    1. That's a great way to be, JoJo. I love when a person I'm talking to isn't all judgmental when I'm sharing stuff with them. It's hard enough to open up with people as it is so having that fear of being judged makes it that much harder.

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  12. It depends on my mood. Sometimes I get wrapped up in in and other times I'm too tired to bother and ignore it completely. Emotional sobriety sounds like something I should invest in. I'll have to look into it! :)

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    1. Yeah, it's really hard sometimes not to snap off a snide comment. It took a lot to hold back my tongue when my child was telling me what was going in their world because I'm so emotionally invested in it with them. I kept thinking, "Don't say anything or they'll stop talking!" Whew, it was tough!

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  13. I am an emotional person, and have dealt with teenagers which is always stressful, but now I am dealing with the wild child who is 29 and living home with mum and dad again and let me tell you that is stressful, she may no longer be a wild child but she is still a source of stress and headaches.

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    1. I can totally relate. I have a teen and a mid-twenty something at home. Two totally different people with two totally different sets of issues. It's hard to know when I should stay quiet and just listen and if I should offer any words of wisdom. I've had to learn to just wait until the twenty-something asks...now that's rough for me!

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  14. I know what you say Elsie .About your kid dear hope all doing better. Im reactive I know but I try to learn about all you talk today.
    I had really difficult times witj Esperanza. And sometimes all we finished cried :(
    But now we handle better.... I think. Oh the kids Elsie ..m
    Hugs and lovd my dear and sweet friend !

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    1. Thank you, Gloria. Things are beginning to look up with each passing day but I think this is one of those issues that will just take time to heal. And yes, there were tears and I have a feeling there will be more to come. So sorry you can relate to that too. Lots of hugs and love to you and your kids too!

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  15. I know what you say Elsie .About your kid dear hope all doing better. Im reactive I know but I try to learn about all you talk today.
    I had really difficult times witj Esperanza. And sometimes all we finished cried :(
    But now we handle better.... I think. Oh the kids Elsie ..m
    Hugs and lovd my dear and sweet friend !

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  16. Hi Elsie - what a great post with some world-wise comments. I too am an A-type personality ... I try and not react ... but it's not easy. Thankfully I only have me to worry about now - so I endeavour to deal with all things myself ... and manage - I find it easier to be independent ... but that's the way some of us are. However I've learnt from my friends and contacts around and now bloggers about other ways ...

    It's good you're here writing for us - so we can learn ... I hope all will be well - that silver lining sounds helpful ... with thoughts - Hilary

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    1. One of the best things about blogging is the support, I think. It's a great place to find a new way to look at things and also to find words of encouragement when they are so desperately needed. As I said above, I've wondered what it would be like to alone. I've been independent, just me and my kids, but never alone. Not sure how I'd manage. Thanks, Hilary.

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  17. I tend to get wrapped up in family problems. Doesn't end up well all the time.

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    1. I used to get waaay wrapped up in it all. Even the small stuff. Stuff that shouldn't matter, but I was right there, smack dab in the middle of it. Now, I've finally learned to step back. Made life much more relaxing. Ahhh!

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  18. I tend to get wrapped up in family problems. Doesn't end up well all the time.

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  19. Sorry to hear about the problem with your kid. At least you handled it as well as you could. Hopefully things are on the mend now.

    I don't have any children, but I DO have some very stubborn and stupid pets, so I can pretty much relate to you as a parent in every way.

    (To anyone reading this who doesn't know me, that's sarcasm)

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    1. Slowly but surely they get better, or at least they do for a few days, and then something will happen to make things stir up a bit, but the kid is doing better about it now so that's good.

      Yeah, those pets, I tell ya, they can be worse than the kids sometimes!

      (I too am being sarcastic!)

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  20. I will check your link and learn more about it. Frankly I get overwhelmed with all my family's activities. Take care !

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, Grace. It's been very helpful to me over the last few years. It also helps that Tom is fun to listen to.

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  21. I've been at this computer way too long trying to catch up on... well, everything. So, while I very much want to watch your video, I want to give it my full attention. I don't have the time to do so right now. Ergo, I'm making a note to self to come back tomorrow morning when I can enjoy it quietly over a cup of coffee and really give it my undivided attention. I have several situations going on outside of my control (meaning they aren't mine, but they affect me or people I love) and it's making me a bit crazy/migrainey and all sorts of other unhealthy things. I've had talks with self about boundaries, but maybe this is what I need to hear (but when I can actively listen vs distracted listening). So thank you for posting!

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    1. I'm the worst. There, I said it. I've visited your blog but haven't kept up on my comments so much. Sorry to hear you've had migraines and the other stuff that's gone on with your young friend. I hope the Tom B. audio helps. It's good stuff.

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  22. I don't have kids, but if I ever do I hope I can stop and listen when problems arise rather than immediately flying off the handle. My mother is the type who flies off the handle for no reason at all, never mind the earth shattering madness she causes when there actually is a problem. I don't ever want to be like that.

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    1. My mom used to fly off the handle too. And so did I once upon a time. It didn't resolve much. I remember telling myself I wouldn't be like her, and then I was, so I made myself stop. It wasn't always easy. But I remembered how I felt when I was a kid, I didn't want my kids feeling the same way.

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  23. I always try to step back and diplomatically offer solutions...

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  24. Hey you... long time no see... I hope all is well with you..

    as for what do I do...??? I step back as well... I have too much on my plate right now to try to be a savior for another person...

    I hope all is well...

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    1. Well, hello there, stranger! Long time! I hope you are doing well!! Let me pop over and see what you are up to.

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  25. Hey you... long time no see... I hope all is well with you..

    as for what do I do...??? I step back as well... I have too much on my plate right now to try to be a savior for another person...

    I hope all is well...

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  26. I think I could come into this category because I always try to be patient and emotionally control... I get anger and feel frustrate easily but those times I only rise up with deep thought that let go this feeling. Glad you obtained this ability to control family issues and hope you sustained throughout.

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    1. I think that's good, Jeevan. It sounds like there is an even balance of emotions and an ability to have that deep thought too. I still struggle with that.

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  27. Too often we tell ourselves we aren't allowed to feel the negative emotions we face, and that messes with our entire psyche. We really do have to give ourselves permission to feel the bad, and then to reason through it. I'm glad you're in a good place and hope things get better with your kid. There's nothing worse than when you can kiss a boo boo and make it all better. =(

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    1. Yes, Crystal, I agree. For a long time, I denied myself the ability to feel negative emotions. It messed me up big time and my world came crashing down around me. I was a hot mess. I don't do that anymore. Yeah, these boo boos that I can't kiss away just suck. Thank you!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.