- Emotional Sobriety

Emotional Sobriety




Discussions related to 12 Step Recovery and Treatment

Emotional Sobriety

Postby Dallas » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:54 pm

Emotional Sobriety: Emotions produce euphoric and intoxicating effects. They can produce a sense of ease and comfort and contentment. When we are operating under the influence of our emotions verses the influence of our intelligence -- we are Emotionally Inebriate.

The euphoric and intoxicating effects of Emotional Inebriation can produce a dependency and even an addiction to the emotional states. Withdrawal of Emotional Inebriation often results with the toxic feelings of guilt, remorse, depression, resentment, feelings of personal inadequacy, loneliness, restlessness, irritability, discontentment, and the similar physical symptoms in our body that are often associated with a "hang over" or withdrawal from being under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.

So, it isn't any wonder why -- a pattern develops of a return to "chasing the euphoria of the emotional state" that requires certain behavioral and psychological dependencies, scenarios, individuals, experiences and conditions -- to produce the desired emotional state.

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous have proven to be the most effective therapy in achieving personal, physical, mental and emotional sobriety -- if taken as directed, and then continued as "A Design For Living That Works."

Dallas B.

-----------------------------------------



Bill W. -- Letter on Emotional Sobriety

The below is the substance of a revealing letter which Bill Wilson wrote several years ago to a close friend who also had troubles with depression. The letter appeared in the "Grapevine" January, 1958. You can also find a re-print in the book, Language of The Heart, pg 236.
-------------------------

"I think that many oldsters who have put our AA "booze cure" to severe but successful tests still find they often lack emotional sobriety. Perhaps they will be the spearhead for the next major development in AA, the development of much more real maturity and balance (which is to say, humility) in our relations with ourselves, with our fellows, and with God.

Those adolescent urges that so many of us have for top approval, perfect security, and perfect romance, urges quite appropriate to age seventeen, prove to be an impossible way of life when we are at age forty-seven and fifty-seven.

Since AA began, I've taken immense wallops in all these areas because of my failure to grow up emotionally and spiritually. My God, how painful it is to keep demanding the impossible, and how very painful to discover, finally, that all along we have had the cart before the horse. Then comes the final agony of seeing how awfully wrong we have been, but still finding ourselves unable to get off the emotional merry-go-round.

How to translate a right mental conviction into a right emotional result, and so into easy, happy and good living. Well, that's not only the neurotic's problem, it's the problem of life itself for all of us who have got to the point of real willingness to hew to right principles in all of our affairs.

Even then, as we hew away, peace and joy may still elude us. That's the place so many of us AA oldsters have come to. And it's a hell of a spot, literally. How shall our unconscious, from which so many of our fears, compulsions and phony aspirations still stream, be brought into line with what we actually believe, know and want! How to convince our dumb, raging and hidden ‘Mr. Hyde' becomes our main task.

I've recently come to believe that this can be achieved. I believe so because I begin to see many benighted ones, folks like you and me, commencing to get results. Last autumn, depression, having no really rational cause at all, almost took me to the cleaners. I began to be scared that I was in for another long chronic spell. Considering the grief I've had with depressions, it wasn't a bright prospect.

I kept asking myself "Why can't the twelve steps work to release depression?" By the hour, I stared at the St. Francis Prayer ... "it's better to comfort than to be comforted". Here was the formula, all right, but why didn't it work?

Suddenly, I realized what the matter was. My basic flaw had always been dependence, almost absolute dependence, on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security, and the like. Failing to get these things according to my perfectionist dreams and specifications, I had fought for them. And when defeat came, so did my depression.

There wasn't a chance of making the outgoing love of St. Francis a workable and joyous way of life until these fatal and almost absolute dependencies were cut away.

Because I had over the years undergone a little spiritual development, the absolute quality of these frightful dependencies had never before been so starkly revealed. Reinforced by what grace I could secure in prayer, I found I had to exert every ounce of will and action to cut off these faulty emotional dependencies upon people, upon AA, indeed upon any act of circumstance whatsoever.

Then only could I be free to love as Francis did. Emotional and instinctual satisfactions, I saw, were really the extra dividends of having love, offering love, and expressing love appropriate to each relation of life.

Plainly, I could not avail myself to God's love until I was able to offer it back to Him by loving others as He would have me. And I couldn't possibly do that so long as I was victimized by false dependencies.

For my dependence meant demand, a demand for the possession and control of the people and the conditions surrounding me.

While those words "absolute dependence" may look like a gimmick, they were the ones that helped to trigger my release into my present degree of stability and quietness of mind, qualities which I am now trying to consolidate by offering love to others regardless of the return to me.

This seems to be the primary healing circuit: an outgoing love of God's creation and His people, by means of which we avail ourselves of His love for us. It is most clear that the real current can't flow until our paralyzing dependencies are broken, and broken at depth. Only then can we possibly have a glimmer of what adult love really is.

If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependence and its consequent demand. Let us, with God's help, continually surrender these hobbling demands. Then we can be set free to live and love: we may then be able to gain emotional sobriety.

Of course, I haven't offered you a really new idea --- only a gimmick that has started to unhook several of my own hexes' at depth. Nowadays, my brain no longer races compulsively in either elation, grandiosity or depression. I have been given a quiet place in bright sunshine.
~ Bill Wilson
Last edited by Dallas on Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Makes sense

Postby Toast » Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:25 pm

Hi, thanks for the topic, it all makes sense to me. I've heard it said many times that we're 'emotional junkies' who just cant live without feeling something, and that means anything as long as its not reality.

Be well

John
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Postby Dallas » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:46 pm

Emotional Sobriety: By learning how to discipline, control & create our desired emotional states -- and eliminate our undesired emotional states -- we can turn Polar Bears into Polar Puppies without Pills, Pot or Alcohol.

Dallas B.
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Postby Ranman99 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:16 pm

I feel pretty luck/blessed/charmed that some of the greatest things in sobriety have come to me when I got out of my own way and that I did not look for nor plan.

Strange enough the more I wanted to do step 11 type stuff and then step 12 type stuff the more time opens up in my life just for that.

Dang freaky I say 8) 8) 8)

Have a great day!!
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Postby Toast » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:41 pm

The hardest thing for me is not reacting to my fears. I always think the worse will happen then i spring into action to stop it and it invariably happens anyways as a direct result of my foolish actions. Took me 7 yrs of not drinking before i got a sponsor and went through the programme. Was far too ashamed of myself to tell anyone anything. The result was i lost more in those 7 crazy years than i did in 17 drinking. Be fair to say my emotions ruled the roost during that time in my life, boy was i raw. When i finally did write out a step 4 there was more in it about my first 7 years in AA than the 17 i had out there in la la land! Since had another 10 yrs on the programme trying to fix the damage i caused when i first came to AA.
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Postby Toast » Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:03 pm

As for chasing an effect. I think thats why i got into sponsorship big time a few years back. I wanted to recreate the good feelings i got when i went through the programme with a sponsor. Saying the Step 3 prayer with a sponsee still gives me goosebumps.

Saying that the latest batch think i'm a marriage guidance counsellor and i'm fast losing interest in some of them. They get AA girlfriends then stay at home and try and fix each other. A rocky road if you ask me.

But one guy i meet up with fell down a concrete stairway when drunk and done some serious brain damage. He also lost 70% of his sight in the same incident. He now has the mental age of a 12 yr old but so much wants to grow back into an adult. To watch this guy absorb everything he can about recovery just fills your heart with goodness. Restores my faith in the human will to overcome any problems. In fact he doesnt have any problems, to him they're all challenges! We do the gym a few times a week then go for lunch, just knowing he need never drink again makes him the happiest guy on the planet!
Toast
 
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Postby Ranman99 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:05 pm

What an alkie digress??? Never!!! We had a good morning meeting this morning on the topic of the daily reprieve.

What I find to be true is that finally after bouncing around so many times in and out of the program and being too smart for doing the steps as they were written and as instructed I have done a fairly decent and honest job of going through them this time and staying on top of it on a day by day basis.
i.e. living them

Finally got over the hump so that I am convinced and jump back to the principles fast because I actually like living happy, joyous and free. Go figure :lol: .

Life really does become that much more simple. Easier to have a daily reprieve when we are in decent spiritual condition :roll:

Ciao,
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Postby Dallas » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:36 am

Some of the comments that have been posted here are off topic and I have no way to move them other than to remove them.

At each forum index of topics there is an Annoucement -- that requests that comments be topic specific -- or, simply start a new forum topic for your comments -- if they do not pertain to the subject of the topic.

Sorry if your messages got removed during house-cleaning. Feel free to re-post them in an appropriate thread. Thank you for your cooperation.
Dallas
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Posts: 4781
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas USA

Postby Ranman99 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:28 pm

Your doing a bang up job Dallas!!!

I just got off the phone with a bloke who has been struggling for some months.

He has tried meetings now and again and sees the whole AA thing as pointless does not see how it can have any help what so ever.

Anyway shared my experience and told him to keep an open mind and meet me at the next meeting.

Funny think is he has come to a good understanding that it is more than just the booze as he went 2 months dry and picked up again and knows that there is something more to it than just staying dry.

Anyway lets see how he goes. Just thought I would throw that out. For many years I did not do the work required but I did have some strange faith that when I did want to do it I would try it the AA way.

Thank HP that I kept that attitude and that was where I turned when I had finally had enough.

CIao,
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Bill W. -- Letter on Emotional Sobriety

Postby Dallas » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:00 am

Note: Some forum members are having trouble locating the below letter on Emotional Sobriety -- so I'm adding it to a couple of different threads here.

--------------------------------------------------------

Bill W. -- Letter on Emotional Sobriety

Below is the substance of a revealing letter which Bill Wilson wrote several years ago to a close friend who also had troubles with depression. The letter appeared in the "Grapevine" January, 1958. You can also find a re-print in the book, Language of The Heart.
-------------------------

"I think that many oldsters who have put our AA "booze cure" to severe but successful tests still find they often lack emotional sobriety. Perhaps they will be the spearhead for the next major development in AA, the development of much more real maturity and balance (which is to say, humility) in our relations with ourselves, with our fellows, and with God.

Those adolescent urges that so many of us have for top approval, perfect security, and perfect romance, urges quite appropriate to age seventeen, prove to be an impossible way of life when we are at age forty-seven and fifty-seven.

Since AA began, I've taken immense wallops in all these areas because of my failure to grow up emotionally and spiritually. My God, how painful it is to keep demanding the impossible, and how very painful to discover, finally, that all along we have had the cart before the horse. Then comes the final agony of seeing how awfully wrong we have been, but still finding ourselves unable to get off the emotional merry-go-round.

How to translate a right mental conviction into a right emotional result, and so into easy, happy and good living. Well, that's not only the neurotic's problem, it's the problem of life itself for all of us who have got to the point of real willingness to hew to right principles in all of our affairs.

Even then, as we hew away, peace and joy may still elude us. That's the place so many of us AA oldsters have come to. And it's a hell of a spot, literally. How shall our unconscious, from which so many of our fears, compulsions and phony aspirations still stream, be brought into line with what we actually believe, know and want! How to convince our dumb, raging and hidden ‘Mr. Hyde' becomes our main task.

I've recently come to believe that this can be achieved. I believe so because I begin to see many benighted ones, folks like you and me, commencing to get results. Last autumn, depression, having no really rational cause at all, almost took me to the cleaners. I began to be scared that I was in for another long chronic spell. Considering the grief I've had with depressions, it wasn't a bright prospect.

I kept asking myself "Why can't the twelve steps work to release depression?" By the hour, I stared at the St. Francis Prayer ... "it's better to comfort than to be comforted". Here was the formula, all right, but why didn't it work?

Suddenly, I realized what the matter was. My basic flaw had always been dependence, almost absolute dependence, on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security, and the like. Failing to get these things according to my perfectionist dreams and specifications, I had fought for them. And when defeat came, so did my depression.

There wasn't a chance of making the outgoing love of St. Francis a workable and joyous way of life until these fatal and almost absolute dependencies were cut away.

Because I had over the years undergone a little spiritual development, the absolute quality of these frightful dependencies had never before been so starkly revealed. Reinforced by what grace I could secure in prayer, I found I had to exert every ounce of will and action to cut off these faulty emotional dependencies upon people, upon AA, indeed upon any act of circumstance whatsoever.

Then only could I be free to love as Francis did. Emotional and instinctual satisfactions, I saw, were really the extra dividends of having love, offering love, and expressing love appropriate to each relation of life.

Plainly, I could not avail myself to God's love until I was able to offer it back to Him by loving others as He would have me. And I couldn't possibly do that so long as I was victimized by false dependencies.

For my dependence meant demand, a demand for the possession and control of the people and the conditions surrounding me.

While those words "absolute dependence" may look like a gimmick, they were the ones that helped to trigger my release into my present degree of stability and quietness of mind, qualities which I am now trying to consolidate by offering love to others regardless of the return to me.

This seems to be the primary healing circuit: an outgoing love of God's creation and His people, by means of which we avail ourselves of His love for us. It is most clear that the real current can't flow until our paralyzing dependencies are broken, and broken at depth. Only then can we possibly have a glimmer of what adult love really is.

If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependence and its consequent demand. Let us, with God's help, continually surrender these hobbling demands. Then we can be set free to live and love: we may then be able to gain emotional sobriety.

Of course, I haven't offered you a really new idea --- only a gimmick that has started to unhook several of my own hexes' at depth. Nowadays, my brain no longer races compulsively in either elation, grandiosity or depression. I have been given a quiet place in bright sunshine.
~ Bill Wilson
Dallas
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Posts: 4781
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas USA

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