My physical sobriety was just the first step. My emotional sobriety is an ongoing process that starts the moment I wake up every day.

I never learned how to manage my emotions when I was growing up.  When I was 11, I realized a couple of shots of vodka gave me a reprieve from my disturbing emotions.  What I didn’t realize was that I was self-medicating a deficiency in dopamine that would progress my addiction to alcohol as a way to temporarily feel better.

Managing emotions starts with learning how to do so. There are several opinions about our ability to control our emotions, moods, and feelings. I numbed my feelings with drugs & alcohol for so long, I had a hard time even recognizing my feelings.  That’s why we now have things called “The Feelings Wheel.”  That’s why we now have an epidemic of addictions, and we’ve become the most stressed, depressed, over-medicated population in history.

For me, managing emotions means learning how to recognize them, label them, experience them, accept them, move forward, and feel better without using harmful substances & behaviours.

Cognitive therapies taught me the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviours as a “cognitive triangle” where each aspect is connected. When we can change one of the three, we can change the outcome!

Thoughts create Feelings.

Feelings create Behaviours.

Behaviours create Thoughts.

Learning to overcome my addictions started with an understanding of my thoughts, and how my thoughts were feeding my feelings, and how my feelings were fuelling my behaviours.

There are hundreds of tools that can be used to deal with the pains of life.  We don’t need medications, we need to be educated on using our own internal pharmacy.

manage emotions to overcome addictions

You can access a few of my favourite tools on the resource page:

Addiction Recovery Resources

May the force be with you… and, remember, YOU are the force!


Tanya MacIntyre is the author of Mindful Wisdom from my Philosopher Dad and Daily Wisdom from my Philosopher Dad.

As the co-founder of Red Roof Recovery, Tanya is a Specialist in Addiction Recovery and Relapse Prevention. Red Roof Recovery offers a variety of programs that teach people how to use cognitive behavioural and other therapies & tools to soften the path of recovery from addictions and other mental-health disorders.



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