Managing Feelings

A big part of getting sober is learning how to deal with our emotions. This Sober Toolbox is a space for sharing tips and techniques for how to deal with emotional pain or stress. If you're looking for more discussion, interactions and feedback, head inside our Members Feed. That's where the real-time conversations take place.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

377 Comments
  1. spring64 1 year ago

    I am eating too much. Can’t get enough carbs and sugar in me. On day 5.

    • Julielynn 1 year ago

      I am on day 5 too! I have been going to the gym more to keep my mind and body busy! Taking group exercise classes like Yoga and Step Aerobics helps to get me there and not feel alone.

  2. chefkbell 1 year ago

    I try to keep my mind busy

  3. jep9703 1 year ago

    I relax and listen to Belleruth Naperstak’s guided imagery and affirmation CDs.

  4. Toksez 1 year ago

    Hi.
    I’m just beginning this journey. I have had several episodes of drinking lately where I don’t remember, behave like an idiot with no memory and ended up loosing my balance and hitting my head. I’m so lucky I didn’t do some serious damage. I feel ashamed of myself and my behaviour and I realise that I can’t just have one drink. I binge. I use alcohol for all the wrong reasons, emotionally ones. I need to stop this, and search for other ways of coping.
    I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s posts. I don’t feel so alone, just knowing other professionals are out there like me trying to do better in their life!

    • stopnow7 1 year ago

      That’s how I feel, too. Thank you for sharing. I just joined today.

      • Danssurfin 1 year ago

        I feel the same and had the same experience. The reality that alcohol abuse disorder is progressive has finally sunk in, that is definitely what it was doing to me….getting worse and worse.

  5. Mirror 1 year ago

    I can relate to so many of these posts!!! Thank you all for sharing. I can’t seem to make it past just a few days before I dive back into the bottle again. But I will keep trying.

  6. ProblemDrinker 1 year ago

    Hi everyone,
    I’m just beginning my journey towards sobriety (not my first attempt) I have found my triggers to be an inability to deal with emotions properly. For example if I’m really happy and it’s a warm sunny day I almost feel a compulsion to enhance that happiness with alcohol, which would be fine if I wasn’t a problem drinker. One thing leads to another and I end up far more drunk than I’d like to be and this is almost inevitably followed by a deep sense of shame the next day. This is also the case if I’m sad. So my question is what are some tools that could help me process these feelings in a more constructive manner? Would counselling be helpful?

    • denversmom 1 year ago

      Hi
      Our thoughts are exactly the same. I’m on day six, third time trying this year . I just finished the book, the naked mind. It helped a little and kept me focused. I’m going to try to keep telling myself life will be happier once the alcohol is completely out of my system. And when I look at alcohol ( which is available at my fingertips in the house) I remind myself I’ll have to start the day count all over again. For me, I’m proud of reaching six days…and I would be so disappointed in myself if I break…so I just turn away and find something to keep busy. It’s soooooooo hard. I’m an adult and should be able to drink if I want ?. But as I laugh at myself…it’s running my life. I think about it constantly and that’s a very bad sign. That just cannot be how people are supposed to live. We both realize this hence why were on this site. I’m going to see if I can find a “meetup group “ in my area for sobriety. I definitely need people in my life who have been through this struggle. Also, every time I think about my beloved red wine I make a cranberry and ginger ale drink…I’m trying to trick my mind ???. Gotta have humor with this struggle…I keep telling myself I’m going to get through this if it kills me. Haha. Last night I thought…what if I suddenly die next week, then damn it I missed out on my last days of wine!! Mind plays some serious tricks on us. Stay strong…I’ll be routing for you!

    • Sandybeach 1 year ago

      about to start day 3. not sure if i’ll make it. trying at least

  7. RoRo76 1 year ago

    Day 2…I used to run in the hills to clear my head when I was upset or emotional.
    For the last several years I just reach for that bottle of beer, wine, or vodka. It’s 9.30am on a Saturday morning & I’m already wondering what the hell am I doing and what’s wrong with just having that one glass this afternoon!

  8. Sonic 1 year ago

    Light a candle.play spa music…drink liquorice and peppermint tea…

  9. JulzPlz 1 year ago

    I placed post-it notes around my house. ie: “Isn’t it nice not feeling like shit this morning” and “Tomorrow you’ll remember coming to bed”. Also, the money I would of spent during the week and especially the weekend is placed in my “Moving to NYC” savings account. It’s a win win!

    • 20012015 1 year ago

      That’s a great idea. I’m going to do that too. Thanks

  10. Straddler 1 year ago

    Day 3. I just woke up on a Saturday morning. It is 4am and I feel like when I breathe, the air goes all the way down instead of “bumping” up against my hangover. What helped me: Deep relaxation music to go to sleep with. There is actually Music for addiction recover on YouTube from Brainwave. I am finding it useful.

  11. metoday 1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing some strategies. Day 3………..it`s like a steep hill and I feel too tired and heavy to climb at the moment. It will get better.

  12. Neverenough 1 year ago

    Just this past weekend we went for a huge family reunion which is based on alcohol consumption basically. Everyone drinks huge amounts, no exception. I was really anxious about it the whole week but what helped was not overthinking it. Just thought – will be there and not drinking, end of story! Brought huge chilly bin with me with pretty much every non alcoholic drink known to man ( non sugary ones) and treat – two red bulls. The two main feelings I experienced over there ( from 3pm on sat to over night to Sunday) was total, utter relief that I wasn’t drinking ( I would have been pissed by 5pm) and total boredom. There. It was fine. The good thing I also noticed that you can glugg really fast and you fine! I’m the pick up glass – drain it all person so af drinks are best for that! Believe in yourself, you are stronger that you think!

    • Bigeyes 1 year ago

      I’ve seen several references to drinking Red Bull when out socially. Wondering why?? What does it help with??

      • Neverenough 1 year ago

        The red bull situation doesn’t help with anything to be honest but I get tired earlier when no drinking alcohol and some places are just not good at doing coffee. Also, red bull was sort of treat drink even when I was drinking, only allowed myself have it on special occasions so just continue with it. It’s not big deal, just change from other non alcoholic drink.

    • Torea2019 1 year ago

      I enjoyed reading this @neverenough

      • Neverenough 1 year ago

        Thank you. It was therapeutic to write it all down. ❤️?❤️
        Another family weekend ahead and I’m already getting pressured via txt messages as ‘you have to have a drink with us next week though’!. Seriously makes me so friggin angry! Why!? You drink till you get blotto and leave me alone! This family functions are getting really bloody tiresome now..not surprisingly my friends are very supportive and cheer me on but man this family is driving me nuts now!!! Thanks for reading. Xxx

      • Neverenough 1 year ago

        Thank you. Another weekend away with family and friends where everyone drinks apart from me and the kids. My go to drink treat for the weekend is now diet tonic water. Can’t manage more than half red bull and sleep before midnight…don’t think about it is the way forward with me. Told our hosts as soon as we got there that I’m not drinking and poured myself soft drink in wine glass. Done.
        The only thing I don’t know how to do without sort of offending anyone is to go to bed about 9pm. Really wanted to but felt like had to stay longer ..wasn’t bored just tired…any tips on that?

  13. Neverenough 1 year ago

    Read. Talk. Best to talk with someone close who understands.
    Go for walk. Exercise.
    Only been sober for two weeks so not sure what will happen when the really hard stuff comes along but hope the above will help. Please share your strategies with me.

    • SoberHobbit 1 year ago

      I use a diary and everyday there is what I call the GOD BOX. It’s half the page. It’s empty most days and I believe it’s empty because now I’m sober nothing that bad happens. But when the really hard stuff comes along that is something I can’t deal with, I write it in the GOD BOX section and close my diary. It’s the stuff that I know I can’t change do anything about. Additionally, if it involves someone else, I’ll pray for them as mich as I need to to let it go. Then I’ll go and reward myself with connecting to another person, do some training or just go and get something ticked off my work list. 99/100 if I look at the God Box for yesterday the “hard stuff” from yesterday has gone. It works for me. Might work for you.

    • Amanda222 1 year ago

      I am feeling the same. Day one. A couple of glasses each weekend then it was bottles. Never realised It was becoming such a bad habit.

  14. metoday 1 year ago

    I managed 6 months of beeing sober 1,5 years ago. After that, I thought I could only drink at the weekend, which was, of course, total bullshit. I startet drinking 2-3 glasses of red wine nearly every evening, at the weekend much more 1-1,5 bottles. With family, friends but most of all alone, what I loved the most. Me and the red wine, dating every evening. Every morning the difficult thoughts, self-doubt. I have tried again four times to become sober but cannot manage more than 2-4 days. Today is my day 1 and I have not felt so terrible for a long time. It feels as if my inner voice keeps telling me the party is over, lights off. It just makes me very sad and it takes me a lot of strength not to drive to the supermarket. Will it really get better to manage? I can not remember my 6 months sober anymore. It is like deleted in my brain.
    Thankful for comments.

    • waterbutt22 1 year ago

      I agree with never enough. This Naked Mind book really helped me. Im not quite there yet – but 90% of the time…!
      For me, my trigger is when I get crabbit and I don’t like myself – so I try to run away from me!

    • Neverenough 1 year ago

      Ah, I feel for you. I’m not sure if this would help but the This Naked Mind book is really good to read. Perhaps you might find it helpful?

    • Classic50 1 year ago

      The best thing I’ve found is to expect it to be really hard…and when it comes in floods have a comfort experience on hand to embrace you. …as well as this I read a letter I’ve written to myself and just ask myself to wait till tomorrow lunch time to make my decision….ususlly the poison has drained by the morning and o can move forward….best wishes it’s always horrible till it clicks and one day it does…just keep goingx

      • 20012015 1 year ago

        @Classic50 I like the sound of that. Going to use that tomorrow?

      • Neverenough 1 year ago

        Sounds like a great plan – the letter I mean! I’m going to do this too!

  15. Jodie 1 year ago

    Need some support, as I am reaching the weekend and have thought about a drink all day, really want to stop, and as my friend only lives two doors away, and she doesn’t want to stop, help

    • Lakeview 1 year ago

      Hi Jodie, that’s tricky, try and maybe think how you will feel tomorrow if you drink today. when you say she doesn’t want to stop does that mean you think she also drinks to much. I’m gong to a huge event tonite and i’m panicking as well, maybe make a joke about it and say im giving my liver a break this weekend, boring I know but just to give yourself an excuse !! so you can get strong again.

  16. gilligan5323 1 year ago

    I’ve made it to 50 days. It feels really good. Last night we decorated our tree and that would normally be a big trigger for me. It wasn’t last night. I just enjoyed making the house look and smell like Christmas. It was wonderful.

    • feemac 1 year ago

      My mother is now living with us so we have a tree for the first time in years. It was so nice decorating it with her, my partner and my sister. Listening to carols and goofing off. Well done on 50 days 🙂

    • JoniB 1 year ago

      Hi @gilligan5323 sounds like a prefect night. Congratulations on 50+ days! Well done! ☺️?

  17. lucianorigobelo 1 year ago

    Sometimes is difficult for us to see that happiness in life can be made by simple actions. The more away I’m from alcohol the easier it gets to continue away. Last saturday night I got very happy eating a ice cream. I felt I was taking care of the person that one day left alone: myself. I’m very happy today and feel grateful to have a healthy mind and healthy person. Sometimes I just think that life can be easy and this takes simple acts. Today I believe I’m myself. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  18. palphi 1 year ago

    Go to the gym,or cycle for miles

  19. Kate1975 1 year ago

    https://www.headspace.com/register – A really great easy to use meditation app with helpful explanations that anyone can use 🙂

    • 01oceanbreeze 1 year ago

      Thanks @kate1975 – just joined headspace and did my first meditation session – it felt so good. Will incorporate into my life now each day. ❤️?

  20. Brandon Metallic 1 year ago

    Alot of my emotional stress was often from toxic relationships so now that I’m sober I really try to avoid people who’s values aren’t in the right place and in return I’m relieved. But just like anyone else I have difficulties and one is with woman so when I get stressed out about my partner lying or something of that sort I go to the gym and talk about it plenty, Also I share with her about how I’m feeling and if she doesn’t react negatively I get pretty relieved.

  21. singanewsong 1 year ago

    Yes, me too for relapsing, brought on by loneliness and not being able to manage strong emotions. Day 3 again !

    • Annie 1 year ago

      my relasping is always bought on by lonliness too

  22. Chii 1 year ago

    I’m a chronic relapser too.
    I have quit drinking more times than I care to remember, but I always manage to sabotage myself somehow, and quite frankly I’m sick of it!!
    Finding this site is a real help, just knowing there are others like me helps a lot. Good luck to you, hopefully this time we can make it!

    • totemdreamer 1 year ago

      I can relate, I always sabotage myself

    • Rt2long 1 year ago

      Have you read or listened to Annie Graces’s book “This Naked Mind”? I found it extremely helpful. She also has a website: https://www.alcoholexperiment.com/ . There you can sign up for a 30 day stop drinking experiment.

  23. MissFreedom 1 year ago

    Found that not overthinking really helps me , like if drinking pops in my mind i say to myself yeah yeah ok i will drink later not now …. it passes and no drinking .

    • Neverenough 1 year ago

      Love this approach, works for me too!

    • Poppy88 1 year ago

      Yes! Over thinking is a hard one to control but once you do it becomes a little more bearable and the benefits of being sober become more and more valuable and you are way more conscious of this as the days go on. Congrats on not drinking 🙂

  24. MalibuStacey 1 year ago

    https://www.facebook.com/upliftconnect/videos/1027218427415138/ – A very broad mantra for day whatever.

  25. Anonymous 1 year ago

    Hi . Don’t make the same mistake as I did .
    I m a chronic relapser. Make a commitment to your self and when you do think you got it under control don’t let your guard down because you will be in the rabbit hole before you know it .
    As much as I hated aa.. try different meetings until you find one that clicks.
    Check in with this sight as often as you can . There’s something about seeing your days tally.
    Don’t think about how you may feel that moment if you are struggling to drink . Think of your worse hangover !!!

  26. Brendab 2 years ago

    Hi Anonymous, you’ve made the decision, good for you, my tip is get a support network around you, read recovery literature, join on line groups, and take it a day at a time. Don’t expect quick miracles just take it at the pace it comes, perhaps see your doctor for a health check up, that helped me, and remember addiction usually gets worse not better if not arrested, so whatever else don’t pick up a drink under any circumstances, find something else to do…worked for me good luck…B

    • thecandidme 1 year ago

      I’m looking for online groups. Can you suggest any that will help me get through the witching hour?

  27. Anonymous 2 years ago

    I’m starting to drink too much. I don’t remember what I did the night before, and I don’t like the things I’m doing. Last night I yelled at my wife for no reason and I don’t even remember it. Today is my day one. Thank you everyone for sharing your stories, I think this will help me. I’ve been drinking heavily for the past 10 years, this is the first time I’ve admitted to it. Here we go, but I’m ready. Any tips??

    • Jim 1 year ago

      A few tips that have helped me: read material online about how unhealthy alcohol is, remember the times in life when I was sober and everything was ok, remember the money I am saving, knowing deep in my heart that I am complete and my best without the dimming of alcohol.

      You can succeed. Take it one day, one hour, one minute at a time. Just refuse to have a drink. Be more stubborn than the addiction, and it will weaken and you will regain control of yourself and your life. You can do it.

      Jim

    • CMC 2 years ago

      Awesome you’re ready to make a change! I’m in the same boat. Have you checked out the community area? There’s a lot more posting over there. I like to peruse it for inspiration. Good luck to you!

  28. morgan 2 years ago

    https://youtu.be/ib0Mqc1joO8 – Great anxiety resource

  29. DaveH 2 years ago

    Go and do something to help someone else is my go-to for these times. It stops me thinking about myself. It makes me think about their problems, not mine.

    • shannac 2 years ago

      Something I will try to do Dave, it sounds like a very good way of deflecting self pity. Something I must do. You look a very kind person in your photo, I can see how doing things for others is you. I’m day one here and looking around the site but currently it’s overwhelming me. I will keep visiting though. Thank you for reading this.

  30. Treefox 2 years ago

    For a blue day (not a seriously suicidal day), just a bad, sad, depressed, negative, tired, low energy day, the best advice I have , with many years of feeling this, on and off, is to ride it out. Remind yourself that tomorrow you are likely to feel very different, go with the flow. Cry, sleep, call in sick at work (if possible), eat chocolate and have an early night. Do not push yourself and be your very best friend. Treat yourself with huge kindness and love and allow yourself to feel low. This advice is not suitable if you are seriously depressed, but it works for off days/mental health days.

  31. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Found reading both lotta books helpful. Trying really hard not to over think. Anyone have any other tips for the telly cray days at work dealing with rude people ??

  32. DrewR 2 years ago

    7 years ago I started running. 6 years ago I quit drinking. The running wasn’t really working with the drinking and in fact, it was after a race, in which I hurled immediately upon finishing, that I knew I needed to change something. Running is where I go for therapy. Because of my addictive personality, I tend to replace one addictive trait with another, this has been my MO. When I am struggling, my first reaction is to go for a run. My second is to write. For what it’s worth, I do a lot of both.

  33. Susanpk 2 years ago

    Well for me it’s all about riding it through and embracing those real feelings that I buried for so so long with booze.

    • Susanpk 2 years ago

      Time for me to put my big girl panties on, grow up and live life on life’s terms. Just learning now all about the tools available to me.

  34. Trijntje 2 years ago

    I was in a very good space. At the moment I do not seem to be unable to get a grip on myself. I cannot understand how my drinking can get hold of me. The inner pain wants dulling.

  35. Anonymous 2 years ago

    This comment has just shone a wee light on my dark day.. day 1 to 7 was enlighten in.. now I’m on day 12 I’m tired emotional sad angry.. I have headaches and anxiety I’m pissed off and fed up and bored and most of all lonley

  36. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Dont ever give up.!! First step is the hardest. Stop and take the leap once you do youl never look back. Its not easy but youl have support. Do it for yourself. Your whanau will thank u for it but you must do it for you. All the best

  37. Liberty 2 years ago

    https://www.fkdepression.com. – This man has a short, blunt and free to download e-book on depression from his website which is aptly named: Fuck Depression:. The book has some resources that might be useful.

  38. Anonymous 2 years ago

    So we think we are Alcoholics or we certainly have a drinking problem or we wouldnt be here right ! The most important question is why are you here ? WE are all here because we have got to a stage where we want to change something, it may not be the alcohol alone ,it may be a combination of things, but for whatever reason we realise Alcohol is a big part of that Jigsaw and we recognise that.
    Recognition is the most important factor ! we may have other problems to contend with but right now we are dealing with our most important battle our cravings for Alcohol.
    I’m sure there are scientific terms for detoxing ,but I don’t need to know them I know the pain I feel although I keep it secret from my loved ones.
    We are all Individuals and all have different strengths and weaknesses and that causes a problem in that there is no magic cure, what works for one may not work for the other. We have to find our own way ! Some confront their addiction , others hide themselves away and ride the storm out, I have learned however its not easy but somehow with determination we can get through each stage and what to expect from my own personal experience .
    Days 1 > 7 was new and exciting I can do this .
    Days 7>30 was by far the most difficult ,physical and mental tiredness
    Days 30> 100 thinking I had this thing beat , and self doubt that I could try the moderation route.
    Days 100> PRESENT , I cant stand the thought of Alcohol , but my life is missing something ?
    I didn’t know what to expect when I stopped drinking and this is what I got, and I don’t want to go through it again. My life isn’t perfect but without alcohol its a damn site better ,read at depth the members comments and share their pain and triumphs , just like us their emotions and circumstances change daily
    and adapt and that my friends is what we have to do to keep this thing beat. YOU CAN DO THIS.

    • Jasmaine 2 years ago

      I really enjoyed your post…“I can’t stand alcohol but my life is missing something”….I feel the last part heavily…….I feel it’s the fake joy that alcohol gave me….my mind is playing tricks in me……this constant thinking is exhausting

    • Jasmaine 2 years ago

      I really enjoyed your post…“I can’t stand alcohol but my life is missing something”….I feel the last part heavily…….I feel it’s the fake joy that alcohol gave me….my mind is playing tricks in me……this constant thinking is exhausting

    • Blessed 2 years ago

      Read this post at the perfect time. I’m ten days sober, and day ten was by far the hardest. It’s good to read that I’m not alone in the difficult days.

    • redredwinegoestomyhead 2 years ago

      Thanks so much for this post it has really helped me xx

  39. Labella83 2 years ago

    Grateful to have this site to come to read. 5 days sober. Do not want to go back there

  40. Ana.M 2 years ago

    Me too Coco,hang in there xx

  41. hummingbird 2 years ago
  42. Heidi Mohrlang 2 years ago

    Grateful to habe access to livingsober.organization in timed when I’m stuck and can’t physically get to a meeting. Thanks for being bere!!!

  43. Bjohn 2 years ago

    I have found the app Insight Timer to be very helpful.

  44. Anonymous 3 years ago

    When you decide to quit drinking, you also decide to leave the emotional pain and stress. One aids with the other so you will have to learn how to manage both. I used alcohol to deal with problems concerning my family and marriage. I used alcohol as a crutch until I learned to use God as my crutch. We have to see the power of faith and leave our worries to the Lord. He works miracles for us all.

    • sober4real 1 year ago

      Love this! So true!

  45. Anonymous 3 years ago

    Living has become unmanageable I am a alcoholic addict n gamble. My ways of life are affected I am desperately trying to quit n find it hard. I can’t be a mom to my kids I use to be. I am unsuccessful in life n a failure to the people around me. My drinking has got the best of me n my addiction with crack cocain. My kidneys n my liver r soar n I guess u can say I am tired of life

    • Emptynest 2 years ago

      Never give up , tomorrow is another day , take care xx

  46. april ohslon 3 years ago

    I can relate. I just got on the womens changing our lives sobriety programmed at cads. I did walk in at glendene bridge for 9 weeks, graduated on the 10th week. im 44 maori and I want my mind spirit, me back too. I felt a spiritual movement and the committee in my head which seemed to take over my life suddenly took a back seat as I realised I had a life. I was a people pleaser who got hurt easily then I started giving out shit and got shit and lived with shit. I added zoplicone to the mix last year until I grew a tunnel vision angry mode. I have three little kids and grown up kids but I just want control over me. for the first time im learning loving rehab and I love aa as its life I can relate too. I was a bad company of sorts to drink with because no one related to me and I didn’t relate to them because they spoke about me in front of me like I wasn’t there and just basically piss head druggy crims telling me how to talk act and shut up. I love the support I have from my partner who also stopped but I do intense learning because I want to grow me up and not just age. I want to build my self confidence to grow me to be the type of people person I admired and I learned from rehab, when I thought I want to be one of them (but I wont be – negative thinking), I did become sober and embracing the TFA and taking lessons and enjoyment with me. I learned boundaries and thankfully I was unpleasant company that I don’t get anyone testing the no drinking boundary so far. just a common respect. I really just want to grow April up for the first time and I love me now when I look at me in a photo or mirror.

  47. Anonymous 3 years ago

    I too sleep well since stopping and since stopping zoplicone which I added to a drinking problem of 27 years and the last of the 27 years with zoppies. I go to bed late at times cant shut down my mind always consciously worried I think or I taught my mind to travel and I often have to meditate or really pray. easy to stop drinking although its been 95 days for me but hard to totally regain my own thinking pattern and I have the past to confront all the time. all those in recovery need positive support. I know I don’t need alcohol to make me someone anymore. I can talk be happy miserable but focused and not for too long, still get angry but not complete out of control and enjoy having cuppas biscuits cake and chocolate plus sober company I enjoy.

Licensed by NZ Drug Foundation under Creative Commons 4.0 2020. Built by Bamboo Creative and powered by Flywheel.

Forgot your details?

Create Account