Sep 30

What is Emotional Sobriety?

emotional sobriety

What is emotional sobriety? AA literature speaks to being “happy, joyous, and free” – a promise made by many who say, if you work a good program, you will achieve physical sobriety and become happy in the process.

However, emotional sobriety is not so much about feeling good, or bad; emotional sobriety is the ability to actually feel one’s feelings yet not be consumed by those feelings or driven to act out because of feelings – whether it is to start using again or to act out in other not-so-spiritual behaviors. Being restored to sanity isn’t about being “happy, joyous, and free” all the time, but it is about being in the present moment, whatever that happens to look like. It’s being able to be in the question: What am I experiencing right now? And how about now? Can I be present to all of my feelings without any one of them defining me?

Emotional sobriety sometimes is merely tolerating what you are feeling; it’s about staying sober no matter what you are feeling. Life can be challenging – having emotional sobriety means that you don’t blame yourself or your program when things get tough. And, it means that you don’t necessarily need to do something to make the feeling go away.

Emotional Sobriety vs. Spiritual Bypass

Often times you will hear this advice: pray about it, meditate on it, or do service work. And this can be good advice. However, if you are looking for ways to distract yourself from your feelings, then you might not be necessarily working such a good program after all. This spiritual distraction is what is known as spiritual bypass.

Now, it is normal to want to protect ourselves from our painful realities; in fact, as a defense mechanism, we are all susceptible to do this unconsciously. And using spirituality as a defense certainly looks a lot better than using drugs or alcohol. However, it is a defense mechanism nonetheless. The ability to access all of our feelings and being present to what is real is what enables choice, and choice propels us towards our most authentic and fulfilling selves in sobriety.

Bill Wilson on Emotional Sobriety

In a letter that was published in January of 1953, Bill W. addresses emotional sobriety, coming to the conclusion that his “basic flaw had always been dependence, almost absolute dependence, on people or circumstances to supply [him] with prestige, security, and the like.” He also recognized that his perfectionism and high expectations almost always led to “defeat,” which in turn would bring on another bout of depression.

Bill W. goes on further to say that the root of “every disturbance we have, great or small” is some sort of “unhealthy dependence and its consequent demand.” We must continually surrender our demands. It is then that “we can be set free to live and love: we may then be able to gain emotional sobriety.”

Emotional Sobriety and the Human Condition

So, give yourself permission to feel all of your feelings and just know that we don’t have the sort of surgical precision to only feel the feelings that we enjoy. As humans, we experience happiness and regret, joy and grief. That is just the human condition. And experiencing all of our feelings is true emotional sobriety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/

http://home.earthlink.net/  letter written by Bill Wilson, January, 1953

 

Sep 02

Binge Drinking and Depression

Binge Drinking and Depression

When people are feeling depressed many of them view alcohol as a comfort or stress reliever. In the beginning alcohol may even feel like it is making life easier but it is actually concealing a terrible truth. Alcohol can only make depression worse never better. This is because alcohol is known as a depressant. This means that alcohol depresses arousal levels and reduces excitability.  Alcohol can not only worsen symptoms of depression but it can also cause depression in the first place. Alcohol induced depression is very common among people who engage in binge drinking.

What are the different kinds of depression?

  • Minor depression that lasts a few days.
  • Major depression lasts longer than two weeks, and the symptoms can be highly disruptive in the individual’s life. This can be referred to more technically as Dysthymic disorder.
  • Alcohol induced depression.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that people experience due to the change of season. This condition is most common in those countries where there is a long dark winter.
  • Some women experience postpartum depression after they have a baby. The cause of this will be hormonal changes in the body.
  • A psychotic depression is where people also experience distorted thinking that has a psychotic nature. This is the most serious type of depression because the individual may be a danger to themselves or other people.
  • Those individuals who are dealing with bipolar disorder will have periods where they suffer from the symptoms of depression – this may then be followed by period of mania.

What are the symptoms of depression?

  • They feel drained of energy
  • Inability to sleep at night.
  • Turning to food for comfort. Alternatively the individual may completely lose their interest in food.
  • Problems with forgetfulness.
  • The individual may find it a real struggle to get out of bed in the morning.
  • The activities they once enjoyed no longer feel satisfying.
  • Pessimism about the future.
  • They may feel guilty about things that happened in the past.
  • Body aches and pains that seem to have no obvious cause.
  • Difficulties with concentration.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse. This includes dangerous patterns of consumption such as binge drinking.
  • The individual feels irritable much of the time.
  • The feeling that life lacks any real meaning or purpose.
  • Low self esteem – the person may believe that they deserve to feel the way they do.
  • Thoughts of committing suicide.
  • Feeling disassociated from the world.
  • The individual may feel like there is a barrier between them and other people.
  • They do not feel like socializing. The individual may begin to isolate and avoid other people.
  • A sad nostalgia for the past.

What is binge drinking?

Binge drinking refers to a specific type of drinking that is particularly dangerous. Binge drinking is a type of drinking where the individual deliberately becomes intoxicated by consuming an excessive amount of alcohol in a very short period of time. Bing drinking is usually a pattern of drinking most people only engage in on the weekends but it is still a form of alcohol abuse. Binge drinking is actually the most common form of alcohol abuse. Binge drinking means that the individual is deliberately trying to get drunk and this can cause all sorts of problems and trouble. It is not necessary for people to drink every day in order to suffer consequences from alcohol abuse; binge drinking just on weekends can easily cause consequences. What are the dangers of binge drinking?

  • It can lead to symptoms of depression. It can also exacerbate existent depressive symptoms.
  • Alcohol is damaging to every organ in the body. It is not necessary to be a daily drinker before entering the early stages of alcoholic liver disease.
  • The individual will be more likely to commit crimes or become a victim of crimes when they are intoxicated.
  • It can easily lead on to alcoholism. The vast majority of alcoholics will have started off as binge drinkers.
  • It can lead to alcohol poisoning. Some people have died because their blood alcohol content reached levels that were excessively high.
  • This is the pattern of drinking that is most likely to cause hangovers.
  • Some people will experience blackouts when binge drinking. This means that there will be parts of the evening that they cannot remember.
  • It can mean that people are unable to take care of their family, social, and work commitments the next day.
  • When people are intoxicated they can do things that they later deeply regret.
  • Binge drinking is associated with domestic violence.
  • It is also associated with promiscuous and unsafe sex.
  • People will make irrational and impulsive decisions when they are inebriated.
  • Many people who commit suicide will have been binge drinking beforehand.

Binge drinking and depression

  • There are number of reasons why binge drinking causes depression to get much worse. For instance, as mentioned above alcohol is a depressant. There is also the fact that if the person is already depressed then it means they are binge drinking to run or hid from their condition instead of treat it. This obviously makes things much worse in the long run.
  • A person who is binge drinking often will regret what they did while they were drunk. This means they will have more things that are eating away at them.
  • Binge drinking makes people more impulsive. If the person is already feeling depressed then they may engage in behaviors they might not normally consider doing while sober.
  • Binge drinking will cause the person to have less self-control. This mixed with the fact that they have a reduced decision making capacity makes someone with depression a high risk for suicide.
  • Binge drinking often means that he individual might often have problems with family members and loved ones. This can make depression worse trying to deal with that.
  • Binge drinking will make an individual less capable of handling the symptoms of depression. This is because alcohol is a toxin that harms the body and mind.

When people with depression begin binge drinking they can get caught up in a vicious cycle. The symptoms of their depression make life unbearable and so they binge drink as a type of self-medication. When they do that they will feel better in the moment but the binge drinking is actually making the depression worse as listed above. This means when they sober up now their depression is even worse than it as before and causes the person to want to drink even more. This leads to a cycle of wanting to escape through binge drinking while the binge drinking causes more reasons to want to drink due to the worsening depression.

Jul 22

How to Control Binge Eating

How to Control Binge Eating

What is Binge Eating?

Binge-eating disorder is a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food. Almost everyone overeats on occasion, such as having seconds or thirds of a holiday meal. But for some people, overeating crosses the line to binge-eating disorder and it becomes a regular occurrence, and is usually done in secret.

When you have binge-eating disorder, you may be deeply embarrassed about gorging and vow to stop. But you feel such a compulsion that you can’t resist the urges and continue binge eating. If you have binge-eating disorder, treatment can help.

Causes of Binge Eating

The causes of binge-eating disorder are unknown. But family history, biological factors, long-term dieting and psychological issues, such as those resulting from childhood trauma and/or abuse, increase your risk. Many studies have documented a link between childhood abuse and later obesity. The reasoning for this is possibly because stress may cause one to overeat high-sugar and high-fat “comfort” foods in an uncontrolled way.Women who have experienced physical or sexual childhood abuse before the age of 18 are almost twice as likely to have a food addiction in the middle of adulthood in comparison with women without a history of childhood abuse. The likelihood of a food addiction is also increased further for women who have experienced both physical and sexual childhood abuse. The prevalence of afood addiction varies from six percent in women without a history of physical or sexual childhood abuse to sixteen percent among women who do have a history of both severe physical and sexual childhood abuse.

How to Control Binge Eating

Traditional Treatments:

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, whether in individual or group sessions, can help teach you how to exchange unhealthy habits for healthy ones and reduce bingeing episodes.

Medications

There’s no medication specifically designed to treat binge-eating disorder. But, several types of medication may help reduce symptoms, especially when combined with psychotherapy.

 

Other Ways to Control Binge Eating

Lifestyle and home remedies

  • Stick to your treatment. Don’t skip therapy sessions.
  • Avoid dieting. Trying to diet can trigger more binge episodes, leading to a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.
  • Eat breakfast. Many people with binge-eating disorder skip breakfast. But, if you eat breakfast, you may be less prone to eating higher calorie meals later in the day.
  • Don’t stock up. Keep less food in your home than you normally do. That may mean more-frequent trips to the grocery store, but it may also take away the temptation binge eating.
  • Get the right nutrients. Just because you may be eating a lot during binges doesn’t mean you’re eating the kinds of food that supply all of your essential nutrients. Talk to your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplements.
  • Stay connected. Don’t isolate yourself from caring family members and friends who want to see you get healthy.
  • Get active. Ask your health care provider what kind of physical activity is appropriate for you, especially if you have health problems related to being overweight.

 

Alternative Medicine to Treat Binge Eating

  • Massage and therapeutic touch
  • Mind-body therapies
  • Acupuncture

 

Coping and Support to Deal with Binge Eating

  • Ease up on yourself. Don’t buy into your own self-criticism.
  • Identify situations that may trigger your binge eating.
  • Look for positive role models who can help lift your self-esteem, even if they’re not easy to find.
  • Try to find a confidant you can talk to about what’s going on. Together, you may be able to come up with some treatment options.
  • Try to find someone who can be your partner in the battle against binge eating — someone you can call on for support instead of bingeing.
  • Find healthy ways to nurture yourself by doing something just for fun or to relax, such as yoga, meditation or simply a walk.
  • Consider journaling about your feelings and behaviors.

 

Support for binge eating can also come from a 12 Step fellowship. There are meetings for Overeaters Anonymous. The 12 Step program can be helpful in learning how to cope with your food addiction and binge eating and also in shaping a new, healthy lifestyle. If you find yourself struggling to cope, there are treatment programs that treat eating disorders such as binge eating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com

www.wikipedia.org

http://womenstreatmentcenter.com