Negative Emotions in Sobriety

Negative emotions in sobriety are difficult to deal with largely because we felt that our problems would go away once we became sober. Anxiety can cause heart palpitations, a nervous stomach and a general feeling of unrest. Depression can cause feelings of sadness and lack of motivation.

Alcoholics and addicts whether sober or not do not like to feel bad. It is part of what got us into trouble to begin with. We spend a lot of time gauging our feelings and we react to those feelings from moment to moment. People who are not alcoholics and addicts are able to sit with negative emotions knowing that they will pass. Alcoholics/addicts are not able to do that as easily.

The first thing the alcoholic/addict needs to do is to get sober. It is not possible for a doctor to make an accurate evaluation while the alcoholic is still drinking or the addict is still doing drugs. Years ago when I was at the height of my drug and alcohol abuse, I spend sometime in the hospital because my emotions were all over the place. At first the doctor felt that I might be bi-polar. As I sobered up, my emotions leveled out. What we discovered was that drinking and doing drugs were the cause of my out of control emotions.

For many alcoholics and addicts it is not that simple. If after being sober for awhile, you are still feeling depressed or have anxiety, you may need to see a doctor. It is important to learn to sit with negative feelings; however it is also important to know when you need help. The sober alcoholic community is divided in their view on medication. My feeling is that there are times when medication is necessary. The bottom line is to lead a productive, contented life and only you and your doctor can determine how you need to do that.

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