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"Emotional Sobriety, The Next Frontier according to Bill Wilson

What is Stage II Recovery and Emotional Sobriety?

An Infusion of Science and Spirituality

Stage I Recovery is coming to terms with a life that has been ruled by Alcoholism and/or other addictions. In the first year or two, we start to stabilize our addictions, we accept support, and we begin to clean up the wreckage of the past. When a member realizes that considerable emotional damage and limitations preceded their addictive behavior, they are ready for Stage 2 Recovery.“

These "be devilments" must be dealt with in order to continue progressing in recovery, and a more emotionally connected existence. In the clarity of sobriety, an individual may realize that S/he tends to act out in other 'self-destructive“ ways such as involvement with abusive or emotionally unavailable people, financially disastrous behavior, sexual compulsivity, etc.

This is also a time when low self-worth can become apparent, manifesting in isolation and/or depression. Close friendships or a loving, sexual relationship with a partner are particularly difficult until these core issues are resolved. In stage II, we re-experience grieving and begin to let go of original hurts and pains. (Hardship is a pathway to peace), one begins to discover and “inner-self“ that may have been hidden under repressed feelings.  

As we learn in Stage two Recovery, to extend compassion and understanding to our neglected "true self", a richer experience of self-love emerges. When we do this work we learn the value of affirming messages. The unconscious gets reprogrammed with supportive images and voices that are in harmony with life and other people. If one avoids working through stage II; they will be prone to relapse or other addictions such as food, gambling, sex and/or other self – disruptive behavior.

By working the 12 Steps of Stage ii Recovery, and attending meetings regularly, we attain emotional sobriety. To know what emotional sobriety is, we need to know what emotional intoxication is, also known as para – alcoholism. Para-alcoholism represents the mannerisms and behaviors we developed by living with an alcoholic or dysfunctional parent. As children, we took on the fear and denial of the alcoholic or non-drinking parent, without drinking or druging. Doctors tell us that people living with an alcoholic or drug addict will become neurotic.

We also can became alcoholics and drug addicts ourselves; we need Emotional Sobriety in order that we can make lasting amends to our children, our families and stop the madness within us here and now. Emotional Intoxication can be characterized by obsession and unhealthy dependence. There also can be compulsion. Even without drugs and alcohol, we can be "drunk" on fear, excitement or pain. We can also be drunk on arguing, gossip, or self – imposed isolation. 

In essence the list of 23 characteristics of the "Alcoholic Personality", offers a textbook example of the behaviors and attitudes that characterize the an emotionally intoxicated person. We fear authority figures and judge ourselves harshly while being terrified of abandonment. Without help, we seek out others to reenact our family dynamics.

We can re-create our family dysfunction at home and on the job indefinitely until we find stage II recovery the next frontier according to Bill Wilson. This means that our adult relationships resemble our very first relationships developed as children to survive an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional home. We find others to create chaos, conflict, or unsafe relationships.

Emotional sobriety involves a change relationship with self and others. We measure emotional sobriety by the level of honesty, mutual respect, and the acceptability of feelings in our relationships. If our relationships are still manipulative and controlling, we are not emotionally sober no matter what we tell ourselves about our recovery program.

Emotional - Sobriety means that we are involved in changed relationships that are safe and honest. We feel a nearness to our Higher Power. We cultivate emotional sobriety through the Twelve Steps and through association with other people working Stage II Recovery.

How might I be affected?  (See Self-Evaluation above)

Recovering adults raised in alcoholic families report a variety of long-term effects. The following questions may help you assess your own situation. Answering “yes” to these questions may indicate some effects from family dysfunction. Royal Infants share a wide range of personality traits. None of us has all of these traits, but we will probably find many that describe us.

Royal Infants may show these characteristics:


Self- evaluation: on a scale from 1 to 12, how much does this personality trait negatively affect your life? Number one indicates that it has little negative effect. Number 12 indicates that it has great negative effect. Circle where you are today. Please explain your answer.

Most people could likely identify with some of them. If you find yourself answering “yes” to over half of them you likely have some long-term effects of living in an alcoholic dysfunctional family. If you find yourself answering “yes” to the majority of them you might consider seeking some additional help.

You may want to do this exercise with your sponsor or a trusted friend for more clarity.

1. Do You often become angry at or afraid of authority figures and attempt to work them against each other in order to get your own way?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

2. Do You seek approval and frequently lose your identity in the process?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

3. Are you able to make a good first impression but unable to follow through?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

4. Do you have difficulty accepting personal criticism and become threatened and angry when criticized?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

5. Do you have an addictive personality and are you driven to extremes?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

6. Are You self-rejecting or self alienated?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

7. Are you often immobilized by anger and frustration and rarely satisfied?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

8. Are you usually lonely even when surrounded by other people?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

9. Are you a chronic complainer who blames others for what’s wrong with your life?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

10. Do you feel unappreciated and think you don’t fit in?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

11. Do you see the world as a jungle filled with selfish people who “aren’t there” for you? here” for you?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

12. Do you see everything as a catastrophe, a life and death situation?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

13. Do you judge life in absolutes: black or white, right or left no middle ground?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12


14. Do you live in the past while fearful of the future?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

15. Do you have strong feelings of dependence and exaggerated fears of abandonment with sick abandonment needs?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

16. Do you fear failure and rejection and don’t try new things that you might not do well?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

17. Are you obsessed with money and material things?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

18. Do you dream big plans and schemes and have little ability to make them happen?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

19. Is it difficult for you to tolerate illness in yourself or others?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

20. Do you try to charm superiors and intimidate subordinates?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

21. Do you believe rules and laws are for others, not for yourself?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

22. Do you become addicted to excitement, life in the fast Lane and dangerous situations?

yes______ or no______ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

23. Do you hold emotional pain within yourself and lose touch with your feelings?

Yes______ or no_____ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Emotional sobriety involves a change relationship with self and others. We measure emotional sobriety by the level of honesty, mutual respect, and the acceptability of feelings in our relationships. If our relationships are still manipulative and controlling, we are not emotionally sober no matter what we tell ourselves about our recovery program.

Emotional - Sobriety means that we are involved in changed relationships that are safe and honest. We feel a nearness to our Higher Power. We cultivate emotional sobriety through the Twelve Steps and through association with other people working Stage II Recovery.

 

 

Copyright ©2017 Bill Weaver
 
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