Staying sober is very challenging when stresses come into play such as when you feel tired, sick, or are under emotional stress.
This is the time when it is easier to say ‘screw it’, and take a shot, drink, hit, or blast of something. You’re only human right? How much is one drink going to hurt in the huge amount of time that you presumably plan to be sober? Well, for those that are recovering addicts, it does make a difference because it is precisely at this time, when under duress, that recovering addicts need to learn to control themselves and not escape from the uncomfortable feelings that they once sought to numb. What are the best methods to train yourself to not succumb to destructive thinking, often brought on in specific situations? For a lot of people that have been addicts, being in settings in which they have to socialise with peers, family, or others at public functions can bring great stress from programmed negative thinking. The best way to counteract this is to learn to be comfortable in these situations, instead of avoiding them. This is extremely challenging for some and it should only be done when the internal change has begun to blossom from within after being sober for at least several months. It is kind of a test to gauge how well you are recovering, although you don’t have to necessarily look at it like that. The point is that you want to feel comfortable around people from all backgrounds and be able to healthfully engage with them.
Holiday gatherings are a good time to get together for emotional healing
Having tolerance and patience to be around people and talk with them about a variety of topics without getting all tangled up with unhealthy mental thought patterns, is critical to shedding old emotional triggers that lead to using. These destructive thought patterns can include prejudiced attitudes, anger, jealousy, low self-esteem and other negative thinking that recovering addicts so often have to battle when in social situations. Practice being ‘other-centered’, rather than self-centered, when it comes to engaging in activities that might have been uncomfortable in previous times in your life and learn to be sincerely interested in what other people are saying. Holidays are the best time for this test as many recovering addicts don’t enjoy family gatherings because of a dysfunctional experience with family members. It takes forgiveness and patience to reconnect with relatives and parents who you could not tolerate before, but is a great indicator of how far you have come. When you get in a conversation with your parents and they repeat that tired old story over and over again, or say something in a way that used to set you off, this time you can graciously and patiently nod your head, and let it pass. This is a true test of manhood or womanhood. If you get through this, without blowing your top, you know that you are on your way to total sobriety. Being able to gauge the progress of your sobriety is important, so that you can know that all the effort you put into getting clean was worth it.