Getting Comfortable With Your Moods
When we first remove alcohol from our lives, we may not be able to fully anticipate just how big we feel our feelings all of a sudden. Many of us have spent years consuming alcohol through a wide variety of events and occasions—both the good and the bad—and without that sedative effect, we may be surprised by how intensely we feel again. This may be compounded if we were intentionally using alcohol to blunt these moods in the first place, which is not uncommon. Understanding and getting comfortable with our moods is one of the most important practices we can do to prevent return to alcohol use and build a full alcohol-free life.
The first step to becoming comfortable with your moods is to start practicing self-awareness and identifying those emotions. Naming our feelings is a powerful tool; when we know what a feeling is, we can better navigate it. To do this, simply pause, take inventory, and identify the specific feeling you are experiencing. (We began practicing this concept when we learned HALT.) Journaling may be a helpful tool as you build this awareness. Conducting a mental body scan is also useful to identify feelings: check in with each part of your body, from head to toe, to see if it is holding any tension, agitation, or excitement. Anxious feelings are often held in places like the forehead, jaw, chest, and restless extremities, for example. Putting a name to these feelings empowers us to either accept, embrace, or change them.