You can conquer others with power, but it takes true strength to conquer yourself. - Lao Tzu,\u00a0 Philosopher I asked Dr. Jason Powers, our Chief Medical Officer\u00a0 to help me write on this topic and here is what we came up with: There are actually two types of sobriety: physical and emotional.\u00a0 Physical sobriety is the easy part.\u00a0 Anyone can quit a thousand times, but only the fortunate can stay quit.\u00a0 Emotional sobriety is not automatically rendered with physical sobriety. \u00a0\u00a0Emotional sobriety can be defined as resiliency, wisdom and balance.\u00a0 It is a metaphor of sorts for addicts who develop emotional intelligence over the course of their journeys in recovery from substance abuse. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that involves dysfunctional motivation, reward, impulse-control and stress response systems.\u00a0 The addict\u2019s changed brain is said to be high jacked.\u00a0 We use this term because the ancient Limbic System commandeers the more recently acquired neocortex to use drugs like alcohol, cocaine or pain pills and avoid withdrawal to the exclusion of water, food, or even procreation. In animal models, drugs are preferentially used despite having food, water or mates in heat; and for drug dependent animals, drug are chosen until death in many studies.\u00a0 Truly, then, the \u2018high jacked\u2019 brain is apropos. Since the brain changes are profound and take many years to normalize, addicts early in recovery often relapse due to decision-making impairments.\u00a0 Many of my patients cannot explain the \u201cwhat were you thinking\u201d question.\u00a0 Triggers, like environmental cues or emotional pain, can change the addict\u2019s behavior automatically because the addiction center lies in the subconscious.\u00a0 Researchers have discovered that we can strengthen the addict\u2019s defense against a relapse by enhancing their overall wisdom, resiliency, equanimity and innate coping skill set \u2013 aka emotional sobriety. The need to reinforce addicts\u2019 emotional sobriety was even recognized in the early years of traditional recovery fellowships.\u00a0 In fact, in 1958, The Grapevine, a publication of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson realized that emotional sobriety was the next frontier.\u00a0 He actually was hopeful that the veteran members would make emotional sobriety an actual movement within AA. It is important to recognize that emotional sobriety never became a movement at all nor is it a formally recognized addition to AA or the Twelve Steps.\u00a0 Emotional sobriety is nonetheless a crucial part of the addict\u2019s growth necessary to not only stay sober but also to catch up on their emotional development. Addiction is a young person\u2019s disease because use of substances usually begins during youth and before the brain has fully matured.\u00a0 The addict becomes arrested at the stage of development when they started using.\u00a0 So emotional sobriety is also fundamental to help the addicts catch up developmentally. Any one article cannot possibly do justice to the how of emotional sobriety.\u00a0 But a brief overview is warranted here.\u00a0 Resiliency comes with time, practice and guidance.\u00a0 Meditation can be the most useful tool in developing resiliency because it enhances the neocortex\u2019s ability to rise above the emotional noise of the lower brain structures so the addicts can choose to respond to life\u2019s curveballs rather than react to it.\u00a0 Mediators show a decrease in sympathetic stimulation so that even when stressed, are not as reactive as those who do not meditate. We cannot teach wisdom, it must be learned.\u00a0 One of the worst mistakes I see parents of addicts make is that they do not let them fall down.\u00a0 Without the benefit of learning from experience, there will be no wisdom.\u00a0 If we do not fall down, how can we learn to pick up ourselves up?\u00a0 What is wisdom, if not having the perspective of experience? Addiction is one of those inherently traumatic diseases that patients learn many lessons from but alone is not enough.\u00a0 Recovery is a progressive path, not a perfect one.\u00a0 And wisdom comes with lessons learned the hard way, in and out of recovery.\u00a0 All human beings share this one. The last component of emotional sobriety is balance.\u00a0 This one is tricky for addicts.\u00a0\u00a0 It can be easily argued that teaching a fish to ride a bicycle while underwater is easier than teaching an addict balance.\u00a0 No matter the difficulty, if a blind human can climb Mt Everest, anyone can learn balance, right?\u00a0 The type of balance inherent in emotional sobriety is the not the type associated with moderation as is seen in moderate drinking.\u00a0 Instead, the balance I direct patients to incorporate is of the multidimensional living variety.\u00a0 Some addicts get sober and throw themselves into work, neglecting their relationships, mental health, physical health and spirituality.\u00a0\u00a0 In short the balance of emotional sobriety is in the intentional behaviors in those 5 arenas mentioned above.