Makana Path Blog

July 23, 2020

Your Guide to Coping with Emotions in Early Sobriety

coping with emotions in early sobriety

When you have freed your system of toxic substances and are working on kicking your addiction to drugs or alcohol, you may think you are supposed to be happy. Instead, you probably have a wide range of emotions running through you that are a bit confusing and challenging. Your guide to coping with emotions in early sobriety includes a look at what you might be feeling as well as some ways to address those emotions in a healthy way.

Why You’re Emotional Now

The truth is, many of the emotions you’re experiencing now were probably there all along. When you used drugs or alcohol, it allowed you to run from your feelings. When you became sober, the real issues you were running from began to surface. So, you are probably experiencing this range of emotions now because you are facing life without those crutches of drugs or alcohol.

You Are Not Alone

It is common for people who are new to sobriety to think they are experiencing something new, different, and shameful. You are not alone if you feel this way. The concept is known as terminal uniqueness, which actually comes from 12-step programs. When you have a substance use disorder, you may feel different or the “worst” in some way. You don’t want anyone else to know what you’ve been through or what you’re going through.

What you’re feeling, the emotions you are experiencing, are very common, though. A lot of people who have been addicted to drugs or alcohol will go through the same reflections on their past actions and their current situations. You are not alone. You can cope with your emotions in a healthy and productive way to move forward with your recovery.


One of the emotions in early sobriety is shame. You may have done things while you were using drugs or alcohol that are troubling and embarrassing to you now. Perhaps you lied, stole, or were involved in some other criminal activity.

Shame is an appropriate response. However, you will need to work through your feelings of shame to be able to move forward with your life. One way to cope with this emotion is to look at your past realistically. You probably did what you did to support your habit or because you were high or intoxicated. You’re not that person anymore. You can start now to set right what was wrong, so you can begin to heal.


Guilt and shame are different. When you are experiencing guilt, you feel as though you have done wrong or you have failed to live up to your responsibility in some form. When your emotions in early sobriety include guilt, just as with shame, you can get help in addiction treatment as you see your past from a realistic viewpoint and work to make things right again.


You are frustrated as you are coping with emotions in early sobriety. That can, in turn, make you angry that things are not going as you expected. Your anger may actually be a cover for grief, sadness, or fear, also common emotions for you now.

Your anger may even make you feel more powerful and proactive, whereas the other emotions can leave you feeling powerless. In therapy, particularly when you participate in effective methods such as intensive healing workshops, you can uncover the underlying issues that are making you angry and work toward resolving them, for a healthier you.

Inability to Express Feelings

You are experiencing a range of emotions now, but for a long time you have been pushing aside those feelings. In early sobriety, you are finding it difficult to identify and express your feelings. In therapy, you will learn how to identify and work through these emotions so you will not be as frustrated with what may seem like unidentifiable emotions.

Trauma Shock

You may have turned to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with a trauma. Many people experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a traumatic event or after experiencing traumatic circumstances. Working through the trauma itself is the most important step for you at this point, so you can also learn healthy ways of coping with emotions in early sobriety.

When you are experiencing the shock of trauma, you need to be able to fully process the traumatic event or circumstance. Specialized treatment for trauma can help you regain control over your life by confronting the underlying issues that led to your addiction and that may still be lingering as you enter into early sobriety.

Intensive Healing

Intensive healing workshops can supercharge your recovery, with a therapeutic experience designed to address your emotional and mental needs holistically. You can learn productive and healthy ways for coping with emotions in early sobriety so you can continue on your path to a successful recovery.

Contact Makana Path for Intensive Healing

At Makana Path, we offer healing on a deeper level. We focus on holistic wellness as we work with you to address the underlying issues that led to your addiction to drugs or alcohol. Our intensive healing workshops will help you heal your mind, body, and spirit so you can cope with your emotions in a healthier way. To learn more about our Intensive Healing Program, contact Makana Path today by calling 1-866-313-0978.