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Emotional Sobriety - A Precipice

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

I haven't written a blog in a very long time but I have been experiencing a lot of things that I can now bring to those in the recovery community.


5 years into recovery from alcoholism I felt emotionally numb or sensitive and not really any stability in between. I woke up most mornings feeling dreadful, on the verge of tears and inconsolable. This was despite attending 3 meetings a week, using an app to practice mindfulness and reading AA literature that provided an extract from the Big Book, a meditation and a prayer for the day.


I had reached the stepping off point. I spoke up in a meeting, something I had avoided through fear and feelings of inadequacy. I disclosed how I had been feeling, the thoughts of hopelessness that emerged from desiring oblivion and not wanting to die. To drink is to die but in my mind I was dying slowly and I was totally baffled as to why I felt this way. Alcoholism is cunning, baffling and powerful.


I was approached at the meeting by some of the winner's, the old timer's, those individuals that knew exactly what I was experiencing; being emotionally unsober. I was asked why I hadn't reached out to another alcoholic? This was my first mistake, not realising that AA is made up of unity, fellowship and service. Secondly, I was provided with a recording of a share by Tom B and it was suggested I listen to it. I realise that suggestions in AA are akin to deciding whether to pull the rip chord after jumping out of an aeroplane; the consequences are stark.



In the last year I have begun to understand that the Steps aren't just something that I did in 2017 and left there as a monument to sobriety.



The removal of character defects by focusing on Step 6 and Step 7 is essential before the maintenance Steps can be practiced with the most intention to progress spiritually. This book informed me that if I don't recognise my shortcomings and humbly ask my Higher Power to remove them on a daily basis then I will be doing enough to be miserable. I particularly enjoyed the story about the man living next to the river. A truck, a boat and a helicopter are sent to rescue the man and each time he declines the help, declaring that God will rescue him from peril. I related to this story as I was attending meetings with knowledge of the program only to fall short of realising that God had provided sanctuary, support, fellowship, belonging and genuine love.


I have started to share my experience, strength and hope with people in the rooms of AA. I know that I have to give it away to keep it. I practice humility in my life today by trying to be aware of when I am wrong and promptly admitting it. Making amends isn't my Step 9 in 2017, it has to be a daily inventory. I practice mindfulness and attempt to make conscious contact with God as and when necessary. This can be in the morning after reading the 'Just for Today' card or after saying The Serenity Prayer to ask for the wisdom to know what to do next.


Emotional sobriety is an essential component of long term sobriety and something that I will continue to nurture in recovery. I cannot do this alone and nor would I want to. The people in AA both in the rooms and online are a beacon of light to those suffering the terror, bewilderment, frustration and despair of a disease that proves fatal on far too many occasions.

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