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Simply put, emotional sobriety is actually feeling what you are feeling and knowing what your needs are and to be able to respond to that in a healthy way. The opposite, emotional enmeshment, is when your own feelings and needs are mixed up with other peoples feelings and needs. The consequence of that is that you more or less live out of what other people want you to be or feel or do. 

Many times emotional enmeshment is a result of living with addiction and codependence. 

Why and how addiction arises in a person is widely discussed with a lot of information on the subject. I believe addiction emerges out of a childhood that had no or a lack of emotional safety. In an environment where we are not allowed to feel what we feel and to express ourselves freely. The caretakers in the childs life can not reflect accurately what the child is feeling but instead projects their own dramas, fears and shortcomings onto the child. Therefore, when not acknowledged 

addiction, codependency and emotional enmeshment and confusion is passed on from generation to

generation in dysfunctional families. 


  • an attachment disorder

  • a strategy for survival

  • a way to adapt to others so much that you don't develop your own sense of who you are. 

  • a way to survive pathologic circumstances like violence and physical and emotional abuse. 

Addiction and codependence is a way to ignore, escape, twist, change, lie and violate our feelings and innermost truth . . . . So that we can survive.

We learned fast and easy, as the vulnerable child we were, how to escape our intense and overwhelming feelings of fear, despair, confusion, hate, abandonment, neglect, disrespect and humiliation in other words our pain.   


Why the addiction,


why the pain?

Gabor Maté

emotional sobriety
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