It's been said that when we begin to drink or use, we 'stunt our emotional growth.' Thus, when we clean up, we start out emotionally at the age we were when we first started using! So ... now you know why, in your first year clean and sober, you acted like a 13-year-old a lot!

I'm no psychologist, so I don't know whether there's any truth to that or not ... but I do know that we ARE emotionally 'immature' when we first start our recovery journey.

So what IS this "emotional maturity" toward which we strive in recovery?

    1. A basic understanding that our emotional responses are NOT someone or something else's 'fault.' External forces (ie., people, places, things, forces, 'fate,' 'karma,' or whatever....) are not responsible for our emotional responses to them -- WE ARE. Although this is a 'hard pill to swallow,' it really is a cornerstone of true long-term recovery from addiction.

    2. A willingness to know and OWN our own feelings. To live by the expression, 'To thine own self be true' -- not hiding, 'stuffing' or suppressing our feelings, but being willing to experience and acknowledge them.

    3. The willingness and the skills to APPROPRIATELY share our feelings with others whom we've determined are 'safe.'

    4. The ability to nurture ourselves and our feelings, 'negative' and 'positive,' and ask for help in getting our needs met if necessary.


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