emotional sobriety

What is Emotional Sobriety?

Emotional sobriety is a phrase that was used by Bill Wilson in a Grapevine article, entitled The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety, published in 1958, some 20-plus years after he got sober.

Originally a letter to a friend, he charts his journey in recovery in a very specific way.

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Acceptance and Surrender

 

It has become almost something of a cliche in society nowadays to use the adage that you cannot cope with a problem unless you first admit it.

Not that this is a new or novel idea, but it is probably true that this sentiment has become much more powerful and widespread owing to the nature of the growth of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-step recovery movement generally.

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The Need to Question Gratitude

Quite often in an AA meeting or similar, you will hear someone announce themselves as my name is so-and-so and I’m a grateful alcoholic/ addict, or I’m a grateful recovering alcoholic/addict.

Equally, you are quite likely to hear someone say at a meeting something along the lines of a grateful alcoholic will never drink.

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The Myth of Tough Love

Tough love is one of those expressions that has crept into the vocabulary of mental health and 12-step recovery in recent years.

It sort of implies that an action or directive is being given or taken which may on the surface seem a bit tough, but is being done from a place of love, for the benefit of the individual concerned even if they are unable to see it.

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Why People Struggle with Being Vulnerable

People quite often like to categorise emotions as being good or bad, with emotions such as anger and self-pity being thought of as bad or weak.

Emotions such as gratitude and a positive outlook are thought of as good healthy emotional states. Truth is that judgement of any emotional state is itself counterproductive. Emotions are neither good nor bad themselves, neither strong nor weak, they simply are.

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