Emotional Sobriety

Sponsor assignment: Would you give your reflections on what “emotional sobriety” looks like to you?

Emotional Sobriety… hmmm

First thoughts are it’s about letting go again – I get to a point, on occasion where I think I can steer again and that’s when things start to get out of whack, my emotions go up and down, usually down, and I start to get comfortable in the wrongness. It’s an odd trap where I begin to enjoy the sadness, anger or the like – like the 12 and 12 says “we exult in some of our character defects”. When I start to think I know better than my boss, sponsor, group, government, AA… then I’m gonna be off soon, and with me it gets rather noticeable.

When I was drinking and first getting sober I had so much going on inside my head – committee meetings, tapes of resentments stuck on repeat, “should of done different”, grand revenge schemes and more. Even one of those things today is a sign that I’m off kilter and need to readjust, it’s easy to recognize them, but not quite as easy to affect the change necessary for some reason.

Chuck C talks about love, giving of yourself completely expecting nothing in return. When I’m there, in action and not in action for other causes I am serene and less likely to have the resentments, fear and depression creep up. When I’m in action for ulterior motives (to impress a guy, look good for a boss or sponsor or sponsee) I don’t have the same calm. For me the calm is the goal – I want my mind to be empty of the sudden rage and instant replays that I do. I can do that in an unhealthy way, I can detach from all feelings and be like Mr. Spock, but it doesn’t feel right.

Part of finding a way out of that is breathing for me, remembering to stop take that deep breath, take more deep breaths and stay in the moment. My thoughts and feelings can change almost instantly when I stop to breathe – if I make the time to breathe, well to be honest, there is always TIME to breathe, to meditate, it’s about sticking to it. Meditation, even just five minutes of quiet mindfulness meditation helps me to stay centered and where I’m supposed to be. I also get immense usefulness out of “pause when agitated or doubtful” when I actually remember to do it and that being agitated is bad for me. Every day I read from 7 books that help me to get my day started – then I when I get to the office I read 86 – 89 from the Big Book in the parking lot to remind me of what I’m about. Seems corny to me, but it sets my mind right. The goal is always to quiet my mind, to keep the crap from taking over and putting me in a bad place – I don’t always manage to get there, but I like it there more than anywhere else. It puzzles me that I have such a hard time sometimes remembering to let go and be a part of instead of apart from.

Its not so much what it looks like to me – more like what it sounds like in my head – if there’s just the one regular voice in my head then I’m probably doing ok. When the committee or other fun things start I lose the quiet I long for.

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