Emotional Sobriety in Addiction Recovery

Emotional Sobriety in Addiction Recovery

Recovery is a lifelong process of discovery and learning. Emotional sobriety has a big role in supporting an individual through recovery by focusing on positive thoughts, being around positive people and finding ways to spend time that do not revolve around drugs or alcohol. It is important to learn the ways emotional sobriety impacts addiction recovery and how to implement the tools in daily life for a healthy recovery.


Emotional Sobriety

Sobriety is more than quitting drinking or using drugs. The first step is necessary (quitting) but being sober takes a lifetime of intentionality to remain on the path of recovery. Many feelings and emotions can arise which may challenge an individual new to sobriety. Emotional sobriety is defined, more or less, by an ability to keep a healthy balance of one’s emotions. The person with emotional stability has accepted reality as it is today, in the present moment, not how the person wishes it could be. The following may also be true:

  • Individual has learned how to deal with emotions in a healthy way
  • Uses proper tools as necessary in a healthy way
  • Practices patience and awareness


A person can stay sane and sober no matter what feelings arise. The ability to not need to get away from uncomfortable feelings through drugs or alcohol takes time to process deep seated emotions and behaviors to get to a place of stability. One addiction should not replace another as emotional sobriety focuses on less impulsive decisions and more measured ways of thinking and being in the world. Emotions and feelings are a part of the human experience but it is a lifelong journey for a person with substance use disorder to fully comprehend the meaning of positive emotions.


Emotional Fortitude

A person with addiction must learn to be ruled less by emotion and more how to integrate emotions into practical, daily experiences. It may seem a lot to process all at once: giving up drugs and alcohol and learning to be emotionally stable. Some of the ways to build emotional fortitude in recovery include:

  • Learning where emotions come from
  • How to honor emotions
  • How to work through emotions as they arise
  • Learning ways of adaptation which are positive and focused on sobriety



Over time, a person in recovery learns to accept reality for what it is rather than what should be. An individual who accepts addiction is a part of the past can look to the present and future to develop emotional strength for the journey of recovery. Insecurities and hang-ups will still be present, but it is how a person handles them that defines the recovery experience. No person is perfect, but emotional sobriety is less about perfection and more about positive coping strategies for the long haul. Balance is possible with daily focus and intention on being positive, happy and, most importantly, sober.


Sober living is an amazing experience filled with challenges. The Villa is here to help you navigate the ups and downs of the journey from addiction to healing. Call us to find out how we can support you with resources and information on addiction recovery.