What to Expect in the Emotional Rollercoaster of Early Sobriety

Can you picture an amusement park? Cotton candy and cheap life-sized versions of stuffed animals everywhere. There’s the faint smell of throw up and loud screams echoing about in the background. The bulk of your time spent standing in line for hours for the ride that last 2 minutes. Ah, good times good times.

The roller coasters are the thrilling life-threatening experience that some of us crave- they make camping out in these lines for the quick cheap high almost worth it. There’s the ups, the downs, the loopty-loops, the unexpected change in speeds- it can all be so much fun or terrifying for others. However, fun aside, take that roller coaster of an idea and apply it to our thoughts and emotions in early sobriety.

While in the thick of addiction, most succumb to the complete numbing of the chemicals we choose to imbibe in. Without any recognition of the fact, our emotions quickly dissolve into non-existence. Whether intentional or not, alcoholic thinking will prevail and mute our feelings away. Once we decide to finally turn it all around and choose recovery, it is then that we must buckle up for the roller coaster starting its slow climb. Early sobriety is not for the weak of heart.

You Must Be THIS Sober to Ride

Dropping the booze and mind-altering substances doesn’t put us program people in the clear completely. There’s a lot of introspection and self-awareness that must be done to prevent us from returning to the desolate lives we once knew. It’s almost like a form of rebirth as we start discovering ourselves again. We begin to really understand the gears that make our clock tick. Once our feelings come back, the flood of sensations and ambitions that spawn can be overwhelming of course.

Emotions are a tricky thing. Most people don’t realize that emotions are one of the strongest cognitive abilities human beings are capable of. Our emotions are something we have the ability to feel mentally AND physically. You think about a purgatory-like room with white walls and for most, there’s little to no emotion. Then think about how much of a jerk Roger was being at work yesterday- completely different stimulus. The anger can give us hot flashes and make our thoughts fly around more impulsively. Learning to control the reactions we have from our emotions in early sobriety is the skill to be practiced.

To Feel or Not to Feel

When we became sober and rid all the toxicants from our bodies, the emotions in early sobriety appeared out of nowhere. Emotions for addicts/alcoholics are the ultimate vanishing and reappearing act. It’s no secret that alcohol and narcotics numb us but they never disappeared entirely. Upon getting sober we start noticing positive feelings we thought were long lost such as:

  • Love
  • Trust
  • Surprise
  • Optimism
  • Admiration

Just to name a few. Unfortunately, we also begin experiencing the gut-wrenching heavy emotions such as:

  • Rage
  • Apprehension
  • Disgust
  • Grief
  • Remorse

It’s our ying and yangs to life as both joy and fear-based emotions are reintroduced in early sobriety. All of the emotions can be a positive thing if harnessed in the right way though. It doesn’t have to be such a roller coaster if we keep everything in control.

girl with varying emotions

Staying Buckled Up

Emotions in early sobriety are a matter of comprehending and understanding all the feelings that arise. It’s a matter of understanding ourselves and dealing healthily with the good, the bad, and the ugly that life curveballs at us. Not losing it and falling into a downward spiral because something unfortunate occurred. Being able to agree with the concentrated mood swings and the spine-chilling feels, that’s the idea behind it. Understanding that emotional roller coaster is a matter of accepting our emotions in a sense. Life can be all about perspective for some.  

We walk into every situation in life with a preconceived expectation, good or bad, about how it will turn out. Understanding these emotions in early sobriety can be just a matter of opening up to others’ perceptions at times. This can be from eating a piece of chocolate to visiting family to whatever, you name it. The idea is that emotions will sneak up on us and catch us off guard- it’s all about how they’re channeled.

All Over the Place

Learning to cope with life’s stresses and becoming present in the moment is a tough one, but that’s what it takes to slow that roller coaster of feelings down. Positive or negative emotions, it can throw even the wisest off their game. Those recovering in early sobriety learn the tools for living in the present moment and accepting things for what they are. Not all are so fortunate to really get to understand themselves and dissect their problems like a 12 step program can teach most addicts and alcoholics.

Many people get clean and continue to live a dirty lifestyle and they become victim to their emotions. It’s a constant conscious effort to deal with life on life’s terms. It’s understandable to be caught off guard, but when you’re recovering it can be just the smallest thing that sends you into a quick nose dive. It’s truly amazing how keeping a positive outlook on things makes the world a difference. Keeping in mind that all our emotions are fleeting, feel them and embrace them with warmth in early sobriety. If done right, this may be the last time we have to ride this roller coaster.

Don’t Become Comfortably Numb

Once our emotions have gone completely numb, there’s no doubt that change is needed soon. Recovering from chemical dependency will help us to be able to truly feel again. It takes getting clean and sober for our senses and true happiness come back to us. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 1-888-481-1993 or visit www.coastaldetox.com. We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.

Connor Barton
Connor Barton
2022-06-03
Verified
The staff here is amazing. Caring and attentive. I finally kicked the sticks and couldn’t be happier.
Jacob Rashid
Jacob Rashid
2022-06-03
Verified
So nice to have Grandma back to her old self. She has struggled with xannies for as long as I can remember. The staff were so attentive and met her where she was, not where they wanted her to be. Thank you Coastal Detox!
Tara Payne
Tara Payne
2022-05-20
Verified
I struggled with alcohol addiction for most of my life. After many tries nothing worked.It was my 43rd birthday and I wasn't gonna see 44 if I didn't get help. I called around and found Coastal. So glad I did. I am so grateful for EVERYONE there. This beautiful facility is not just a detox. They actually have programs to help you learn to live a sober life and enjoy being yourself again! Entire staff is awesome! (Ms Diana ❤️ and Mrs Karen ❤️)They really understand how your feeling as most are in recovery also. If your looking for some help please give them a call. I give them 10+stars. Five months sober now!!! Thank you Coastal!!!
Bob Hawkins
Bob Hawkins
2022-05-04
Verified
The entire staff of Coastal is great, the therapists, the nurses, the techs, everyone. It’s a great environment to begin your recovery in. As an added perk, the food is some of the best you’ll ever have thanks to the chefs.
Tony Givens
Tony Givens
2022-05-04
Verified
My experience at coastal detox was very good, the staff there is terrific. They helped me get through the process of detox in a safe and professional manor.
Jodi Silverman Goldberg
Jodi Silverman Goldberg
2022-03-21
Verified
It been almost a year!! Thank y’all
Matthew Mcnulty
Matthew Mcnulty
2022-03-07
Verified
This is the top tier Rehab/Detox center in Southeast FL. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. Their attention to detail is impressive. They specialize in treating alcohol abuse among several other conditions. If you or a loved one are looking for a blueprint on how to sober up…Coastal Detox will lead you there.
Mary Katz
Mary Katz
2022-02-26
Verified
My experience with Coastal has been one of empathy, kindness and family. From Admissions to Nurses to techs I have never felt so cared for. Food and drink 24/7. Coastal is a place I went twice. First time 14 days next 6days later for another 11. At 59 and umpteen detoxes Coastal by far is Heaven Sent! As a Nutritionist and Trainer, I'm so happy to be back....the Mary ,who was lost:)
vicky ehr
vicky ehr
2022-01-29
Verified
Great place . Helped me so much I am a 64 year old woman and this place got me sober with dignity and kindness. I highly recommend it plus the food is incredible. Rooms are really well laid out. 2 guys to a room . Each bed has its own t.v with head sets so you dont bother your roomate. Take an extra pillow and comfort blanket from home. At least 3 pairs of pj’ s sock and shoes and comfortable clothing fit. You do your own laundry there. I will send you the link to look at. After thinking all morning this is hands down the place for you. Lots of young people and fantastic therapists. For my wonderful son who suffers. From addiction the way I do.

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