In times of crisis like the coronavirus pandemic has caused, we need all the recovery tools we can get. Smart sobriety means working on all the stuff our substances were covering up. The author of the classic 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery offers a fresh list of "smart" things to do to attain and sustain emotional sobriety.
Whether it's called "dry drunk" or "white knuckle sobriety," it's that stage in recovery when we realize that "putting the plug in the jug" isn't enough. The next step is taking responsibility for the emotional immaturity that fuels our addictive personality and has a tremendous impact on ourselves and others.
Allen Berger, PhD, draws on the teachings of Bill W. and psychotherapy pioneers to offer twelve hallmarks of emotional sobriety that, when practiced, give people the confidence to be accountable for their behavior, ask for what they want and need, and grow and develop a deeper trust in the process of life. These smart things include: understanding who you are and what's important to you; learning not to take others' reactions personally; trusting your inner compass; and taking responsibility for your reactions to problematic situations.
It is in these practices that we find release from what Bill W. described as an "absolute dependency" on people or circumstances, and develop the tools to find prestige, security, and belonging within.
About the Author
Allen Berger, PhD, a popular public speaker and nationally recognized expert on the science of recovery, is the author of 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery, 12 Smart Things to Do When the Booze and Drugs Are Gone, and 12 Hidden Rewards of Making Amends. His pamphlet, "How to Get the Most Out of Group Therapy," helps clients in treatment, continuing care, or Twelve Step groups, understand what happens in group meetings and how these meetings help members acquire recovery skills. Dr. Berger lives in Los Angeles, California. You can find him online at www.abphd.com.
Berger, Allen. 12 Smart Things To Do When the Booze and Drugs Are Gone: Choosing Emotional Sobriety Through Self-Awareness and Right Action. Hazelden. Sept. 2010. c.200p. bibliog. ISBN 9781592858217. pap. $14.95.
McAlister, Brian. Full Recovery: Creating a Personal Action Plan for Life Beyond Sobriety. 2d ed. MacSimum. Sept. 2010. c.240p. ISBN 9780982394816. $22.95. SELF-HELP
These two titles cover similar territory how to free oneself from emotional bondage and to achieve abundant living after putting the plug in the jug. Psychologist Berger ("12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery") draws on the studies from psychological research and the lessons of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) founder Bill W. to offer 12 smart things to do to achieve self-mastery the maintaining of a healthy relationship with oneself. Each chapter offers readings and instructions on such goals as pressuring oneself instead of others to change, appreciating what is, and not taking things personally. Essentially,
"True emotional sobriety is a life's journey, with...much to be learned along the way. Dr. Berger provides a wonderful, detailed road map to guide readers on the journey."
--Jerry McDonald, ACATA; Producer, Drug Awareness Hour at the Betty Ford Center