Sunday, January 10, 2010

“Buried Feelings Are Buried Alive”

This month I would like to review a very helpful and informative book by Tian Dayton called Emotional Sobriety. As many addicts find out in early recovery, addiction is a feelings disease. It operates on rogue emotions that seem unbearable to the addict which then leads the addict to use a chemical substance to thwart the unwanted feeling. A huge part of recovery is to begin to become aware of one’s emotions at all times. Awareness is the beginning of the process that leads to right action.

In Emotional Sobriety, Dayton makes the point that our emotions are the key to sobriety. Just as right action leads to right thinking, emotional self-management leads to stronger sobriety. For example, many addicts report that the emotion of boredom is a trigger to go and use their drug of choice. In the healing process, it is important for an addict to begin to recognize the signs and symptoms of boredom so they can check that situation emotionally. Instead of sitting and dwelling on the feeling of boredom, a person can engage in recovery behaviors like go to a meeting, talking with a sponsor, exercising, or engaging in prayer and meditation. This redirection of energy will relieve the boredom feelings and enhance sobriety by reinforcing to the addict the truth that uncomfortable emotions can be dealt with in self-affirming instead of self-destructive ways.

This book was very hard to put down. With the turn of each page, I found myself amazed at the clarity and depth of Dayton’s writing. I really enjoyed this book because it is easy to read and very well written. Tian has packed this manuscript with detailed information on trauma, emotional growth, emotional set-backs, reframing your thinking, and so much more. Moreover, the book is compassionate in its approach towards the reality of dealing with feelings as an addict.

I highly recommend this book for any addict at any point on their recovery journey. Addiction is a disease that tells you that you have no disease. Part of treating the addiction is letting yourself feel your emotions so you don’t have to anesthetize yourself into oblivion. Go ahead…get emotionally sober, you won’t regret it!

Chris Newcomb - Aftercare Coach / Coordinator

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