Emotional intoxication is one of the greatest, if not the greatest threat to my sanity and sobriety. It does not matter if it is anger, sadness, jealousy, contempt, shame or even all the positive emotions such as joy, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe or love. Obviously, these are not substances but rather intangible ideas that can affect our minds as well as our moods and actions. Although I cannot abstain from them completely without consequence I must be cautious how much I allow myself to indulge in them or I will face consequences as well.
Over indulgence in emotions or emotional intoxication can be just as dangerous as outright suppression of them in my experience. Like most things in my life, these require establishing the proper relationship with them and establishing self-imposed boundaries. If I suppress them on a continual basis they resurface in even more insidious manners and are substantially more difficult to manage. If I actively overindulge in my emotions they will become compulsions. Much like drugs (alcohol included) it is my participation and relationship with my emotions that fuel my addiction to them. What can I do to not suppress but also avoid overindulgence?
In my experience avoiding emotional intoxication requires mindfulness. It is a matter of being present in the moment with my feelings, understanding what causes me to feel them, accepting that I am responsible for my emotions and staying present with them but not allowing them to poison my words, actions or thoughts. In order to avoid this, I must actively let them go. Actively letting your emotions go after you have acknowledged them can be difficult at first, however it does get easier over time with mindfulness thanks to neuroplasticity. (Neuroplasticity is the ability of the nervous system to adapt new neural connections or rewire the brain in simplified terms.)
I am fortunate that I suffer from grave mental and emotional disorders because I have some prior experience with using mindfulness to avoid freeing the beast inside me. That beast is a poisoned, sick, victimized soul clawing at my calm composure, wanting to again be set free. Over or under indulgence in my emotions disrupts my internal security system that keeps this beast at bay. In order to keep the security system from failing, I have to consciously check the flow of my thoughts to avoid over or under indulgence. Emotions are not something I can abstain from, they are something I must face, embrace and understand their place.
After I think about the cause of them and recognize it is not the person, situation, action, distraction, etc. that causes them, rather my of perception of them. Emotions can be just as dangerous as drugs (alcohol included) if I allow them to be. They can also be catalysts for great personal growth, spiritual nourishment, creative pursuits and so much more. Today I choose to maintain my sobriety from drugs and emotions.