Staying Strong Through Difficult Emotions and Emotional Pain in Sobriety


Hey guys it’s Marcus here and welcome back to YouTube channel!

 Today what we’re gonna be doing is talking about what to do when those unwanted old feelings start to come back in sobriety. This is gonna be a very difficult video for me to make personally because this is something I’m dealing with right now like now ten minutes ago now and we’re gonna talk about how to stay sober when those feelings come up.

For those that have been following the last few videos I’ve been doing on this channel, you’ve been following along as I flew to California from Florida to take my brother up to a rehab and help him get sober and in the process I’ve had to deal with some difficult family members which is why the last video was about how to deal with toxic family.

Through that time, I have noticed I was talking to these people and trying to help us all get together to support my brother so that hopefully he can have a good recovery.

I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of things that happen with the family.

There’s a lot of things that happened with my dad.
There’s a lot of things that happen with other people in the family and for those that don’t know I came from an extremely dysfunctional and abusive home.

` It was very very difficult growing up and in those times like I talked about in the last video I didn’t know what life was like outside of this because I had always been growing up in this type of environment where we had a controlling dad who tried to control everything and control finances, control everything and this is the kind of thing we’re dealing with now.

Inadvertently I HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT MY SOBRIETY COMES FIRST because if I don’t have my sobriety if I blow it all for some feeling or something like that and then I don’t have anything right you know it doesn’t mean if you slip up it’s the end of the world but we got to look at this and say well what do we want to do and how do we work on this because I was talking to my dad and last night.

We had a family meeting via Skype and everything and it got really heated and I started to notice for the first time in many years these feelings creep up and it was like automatic it was automatic these feelings just started to come up these feelings just started to take over my body right and I started to feel these things that I used to feel that I used to have to drink to get rid of.

Right and so I have these feelings there and all this stuff coming up and I’m hearing all this stuff on top of it. I’m not getting sleep on top of it. I’m talking to people back in California on a different time zone and everything’s a mess and you know very few people are cooperative in this process and I look at it and I say to myself what do I do with these feelings and you can see on the board we have the notes from last night’s call. We got you know all kinds of stuff which is very similar to what you guys have seen in the last video like numbing things like that and we got to look at it and say well how do we deal with these because our normal go-to response when we have these feelings is to run to our alcohol to run to the thing that numbs us from these feeling and it’s so easy to do and that’s the first thought that crosses your mind.


Relapse Warning Signs

  1. You stop doing what keeps you sober (i.e. taking care of yourself)
  2. You start feeling and acting how you did when you were drinking (moody, irritable, angry, etc.)
  3. You start thinking about drinking and feel fed up or done

For me being three and a half years sober I don’t necessarily think hey I need to go drink to deal with this stuff, however, it does come up like hey you know what it’d be easy to numb and easy to walk away from this stuff but what I find helps most when these unwanted thoughts and feelings and anxieties come in is to remember where I really live from.

Right back when I used to drink I LIVED FROM A PLACE OF FEAR.


I live from a place of you know just not able to stand up and say this is the end I had no boundaries right dad would call and say terrible terrible things that should be outlawed but nevertheless we have families we deal with this stuff and it sucks but what we have to learn is to set a boundary and to be okay with it.

A I learned when I was in early recovery…

someone had told me you know SAY WHAT YOU MEAN, MEAN WHAT YOU SAY AND DON’T SAY IT MEAN. 


Even though there are hurtful things said, even though things are thrown across the room and things are terrible and your feelings might get hurt.

Even though that happens we can still regain regroup and say what is the objective here and I could say what’s going on.

For example, one of the things that went on is one of the family members gave me some pills for my brother who’s an addict so first of all it’s like why are you giving us pills when we’re trying to get someone sober.


Second of all why are you giving your alcoholic family member pills anyway?

That’s like you know would you go to a guy who’s dealing with burns and light him on fire that would be stupid right you wouldn’t do these things and when I look at this it’s easy to say well you know what you piece of shit why’d you do this what the hell’s the matter with you but what I have to do is I have to regain my composure because that’s not going to do anything except get into a battle.


Another thing I learned in sobriety when dealing with difficult people and dealing with these emotions is that you can regain your composure and you can have the right to say what you want to say and YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SET A BOUNDARY right you have the right to say you know what.

You just are not going to talk to me that way anymore because I’m not gonna listen click or goodbye or whatever it is and you have to look at this and you have to say these are the boundaries that are set, this is the comfort that I need to do and my sobriety is first and when those feelings come up it’s best to just sit with them and think your way out of them.

Start to understand what’s going on. Say yeah my feelings are hurt because my pride is involved and your pride is gonna be the first thing like when you’re battling with people and when I fight with my dad or whoever else it is right we have these things and and our pride gets involved.

I want to say listen you POS don’t do this and he wants to say well you little fucker or you know whatever and I have to look at that and I have to say to myself well I can look at that and and I can say I’m gonna get mad about this or I could say you know what does it does it really matter I mean this is this is the way the guy’s always been this is the way he always deals with things and one of the things that I learned is that the best you can do in life is ask for someone else’s cooperation. 

I could say you know what Dad I’m gonna ask for your cooperation and nine times out of ten I’m not gonna get it but if I ask for it and then I don’t get it now that’s that’s what set that’s what is and as I wrote last night that is the thing to accept.

Right god grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change and unfortunately one of the things in life is WE CAN’T CHANGE OTHER PEOPLE.

All we can do is ask for the cooperation and I can’t change these people all I could do is focus on what I want do and what I know is right and what is good and sometimes I look at this sometimes you get in arguments and I have to look at it and say well is there something that I need to change right is there something with me okay and look at it objectively and say well am I being a dick, am I being cool, do I have any weird motives here and you got to look at that and say well do I?

Okay if the answer’s no then you got to look at the other people and say well I asked for their cooperation if I don’t get it I accept it.

For me I accept these people in my life the way they are.

Four years ago I had problems with my mom’s husband and just lots of abusive problems lots of trouble stuff that you know today is labeled child abuse and you know back then it was labeled but unfortunately the therapist we had would rather get paid than help people not all therapists are like that just the ones that my dysfunctional family decided to pick for us conveniently.


And so we look at this and we say you know I had these issues with him and I had to accept I have this accept this is what is all right and then I set a boundary I said I’m not going to see you anymore this is just not what I’m gonna allow in my family, I’m not gonna allow it in my life, I’m not gonna allow you people to do this to me anymore!

Now you are responsible for some of your feelings but you have to look at it like we talked about in the last video right you were raised in Plato’s cave kind of thing. You were chained to a wall metaphorically and all you knew was the stuff that you saw and you reacted and you had these feelings and now they’re automatic right.

Much like alcohol we drink alcohol and then automatically we don’t have to think about it. Our brain starts to salivate and crave the alcohol when these things happen and oftentimes when difficult feelings come in the way, we say well what do we do, right what do we do with this all I know how to do is drink this away and we have to say to yourself we’ll one we don’t really need to let them go away we need to just listen to them and start to understand because that’s when the healing begins.


Don’t Fight or Ignore your feelings. Listen to them.

When you look at things and maybe you had it better than I did, maybe you had it worse than it I did I don’t know but the fact of the matter is you can get through it.

These feelings are just telling us things and feelings are automatic and they’re kind of programmed and we have to look at it and say well is this something that’s going to be helped by drinking.

Nine times out of ten a hundred times out of ten right it’s not drinking is not going to help because drinking is going to exacerbate the feelings drinking is gonna make it worse.

Drinking is gonna postpone it and drinking is going to give all these people the excuse that they’ve been looking forward to say hey look you know this is your problem you have this issue and believe me my family still tries to do that to me today where it’s like hey this is your issue you’re the fucking drunk, you know when most of the time I behave pretty rationally you know obviously I had my fair share of bullshit and shenanigans and everything but the fact of the matter is we got to look at this objectively what they say, what’s going on, what do I have to accept, what can I change, what can’t I change?


I can’t change what’s going on, what I can do is change my response to my brother and my reaction to my brother and say hey look this is what we need to do but we need to get you away from the toxic family. We need to get you away from the junk. We need to get you away from everything that is keeping you stuck.

Because in life we have these things and WE GET STUCK and we don’t know how to get out of them and it’s a lot like a person who you know, say they want to lose weight and they know they could just go to the gym and start working out and boom right like me I can go to the gym I could be healthy I can stop smoking these damn things and we look at that we’re like those. Those are so easy on the surface right and it’s easy for someone like me to come in and be like hey look you know when you got these feelings don’t go drink oh yeah well thanks fucking professor Marcus you know that’s a genius thing there but the fact of the matter is it’s easier said than done because I know what it’s like to be in your shoes because I’m probably in them right now.

We look at it and again a lot of you guys had it worse a lot of you guys had it better but we have to look at it and say am I going to allow this to affect me and talk about it right now talking about this I’m starting to feel better already even though it’s kind of family to the Internet world right and not like a person therapist or whatever but talking about this stuff that starts to make you feel better as well because what you want to do is you want to diffuse it.


You got to diffuse and you got to buy yourself sometime because time is going to allow you to get distance.

Like just before I made this video I had a terrible day talking to family not getting the sleep didn’t get work done I was supposed to make a whole bunch of videos I didn’t do it it’s my first video today and it’s like 9 o’clock at night and you know it’s easy to get down on yourself and it’s easy to say well you know this is what I need to do but the fact of the matter is once you start and once you buy time alright I could say you know what I get in this argument I hate this person, let’s be angry, let’s be rash, let’s you know I’m never gonna see you again you fire or whatever and we have to pause and look at it and say well what what good is going to come out of acting that way if I could buy myself 15 minutes, 20 minutes a day a week whatever it is then I can diffuse it.

You know now that the feelings are removed or desensitized now I can act an irrational way that makes sense and hopefully gets more reaction.

It’s like you know you got to look at life in terms of in terms of not something that’s happening to you!

It would be easy for me to look at this and say all this family stuff is happening to me right all of it’s happening to me but the fact of the matter is it’s happening anyway I just decided to help someone that brought me into it again and brought those feelings and again.


It’s not happening to me I’m doing what I’m doing and

that’s the best I can do.

I’m asking for cooperation from those that that I think can help and if I don’t get it I say you know what then you’re not gonna be a part of this, you’re not gonna be in this.

Because a lot of times we’re gonna look at this and the easy thing is to say oh woe is me I grew up with a terrible dad I grew up with terrible stepparents whatever alright I grew up with this an it’s easy and you got to look at it and say well I choose not to be a victim anymore.

I’m not the victim of my dad’s words. His words might affect me because I’ve been trained to on the knee-jerk reaction but the fact of the matter is when I draw back and I look at it I say you know this doesn’t really change anything I knew this person was this way the entire time I knew that the response would be the way that it is and I know I can’t change things so what can I do well one I could take care of myself and my sobriety first because that’s the first thing right you got to get a level head, you got to get clean you got to stay clean and you got to have the upper hand!

Right it’s like when I when I was drinking I was down in the pit all right I was down in the pit fighting with family dealing with this shit I’d get angry and pissed off and I’d go drink and it was just a cycle and I was in the pit and  when I was able to get sober I was able to draw out a mic on this mountain now watching the pit right and sometimes someone will throw a rock out of the pit oh shit you know that frickin hurt me right but I’m able to say well you know that’s a rock from out of the pit I can just move back a little bit they won’t hit me anymore and now I’m able to look at it from afar without being entrenched in it.

That’s the key to making this work is not being entrenched in it whether it’s a family the spouse grandma dad whoever it is in your life brother that is causing you pain or has caused you pain right put yourself out on that on that metaphorical mountain and look down at it and say you know what this stuff it’s gonna affect me somewhat but I don’t have to live in it right!

You don’t have to live in those emotions anymore you don’t have to do well in those emotions anymore and more importantly you don’t have to drink those emotions away your feelings will not kill you drinking probably will and reactions to feelings can for some people and we have to look at it.

Say you know I’m gonna draw away I’m going to accept people for who they are and understand that those people in your life like I was talking to one of my brothers and it’s like oh you know my dad doesn’t love me my dad doesn’t love me and I said no that’s wrong!

Your dad loves you with the ability of love that he has to give and unfortunately it’s not much. They are giving you what they have to give that’s what they have unfortunately it’s small sad for them maybe sad for you but the fact of the matter is now you can accept it and say that’s what it is.


I can’t change you. I can’t make you different. I can’t make you love me the way that I think it should be right and that’s what keeps us stuck. 

The root of all suffering is desire for things to be different.

If you’re suffering about someone not loving you the way you want to be loved or someone not doing the things that you want it’s because you desire that but once you accept them the way they are and you accept take this is the baseline that’s what they have to give if it’s total shit I get away.

That doesn’t mean you don’t love them anymore.


You have the right to respond however you want you have the right to not have someone in your life if that’s what stops you. You have the right to make a response and say this is out this is not acceptable it doesn’t work now unfortunately there’s so many people and lots of people watching this video are like the people that were chained and watching the shadows on the wall and that’s all they know in life right like Plato’s allegory these people are there they’re looking at the shadow on the wall that’s all they know they think life is shadows.

You might think life is abuse.

You might think life is terrible.

You might think life is family bickering and hurt and pain but it doesn’t have to be right.

It doesn’t have to be those things might be normal like they were for me for so many years it was normal so much that I started to repeat some of the actions with my own family and I’m trying to forgive myself for that and we got to look at that and we have to say enough is enough, it’s time to get out, it’s time to take care of me and do what you got to do to take care of yourself.


Do what you got to do to distance yourself and cut the ties with the things that are bringing you down.

Cut the ties with the things that are bringing you down.


It’s like if you were in a boat and it’s taken on water right what do you do you get rid of the stuff that’s making you heavy he gets rid of the stuff that’s taking you down that’s what you got to do in your life you got to get rid of the stuff that takes you down. 

You got to understand with a sober mind. Talk to someone about it. Write to someone I mean forums or come on one of our live things talk about it and start to get some help and understand that you’re not alone and understand that you can get help and when those feelings come you don’t need to drink them away there’s nothing in life worth drinking your own life away for these feelings will pass being an alcoholic may not and we have to look at that we have to say today is a new day I’m going to accept whoever it is that’s causing me pain I’m going to look at things differently and I’m going to grow and work on your own growth.

Just like I do on a day to day basis I work on my own growth I start to understand things and I have to catch myself when I get caught up in those and say mark you’re getting caught up in those feelings again step aside right and that’s all there is to it step aside give yourself some time love yourself understand what’s going on don’t drink and set boundaries.

I hope you guys like this video.

It is kind of some rambling it’s just something that’s going on in my heart.

We’re gonna do some more videos like this maybe we’ll go into detail I don’t know but dealing with family can be difficult and when those emotions come in its best to not drink and it’s best to get distance and it’s best to pause and step back because everything and everyone in life can wait 15  minutes right you could take a pause you could say you know what let’s argue about that in 15 minutes gain your composure think about what you want to say and come at it with an objective mind and above all don’t drink don’t get caught up and start to take care of yourself.

I hope you like this.

I’m probably just talking to myself so when I watch this again it’s probably to help me but if you do like it put your comments in the boxes below and know that I’m human and I have struggles too and these things hurt me and that’s where this comes from that’s why I built this channel that’s why we’re here to talk together that’s what we’re here for and my goal is to make this one of the biggest sobriety sites on the internet sobriety channels on the internet and that’s the goal because I want to help those that need help and I want to help everyone understand what’s going on as much as I can.

And I want you to know that I’m not someone that’s above it all. I’M ONE OF YOU that’s how I learned this stuff right by being one of you and you know take care of yourself and understand that you can set boundaries it doesn’t mean you’re a dick if you set boundaries it doesn’t mean you’re a jerk if you cut ties with people right you don’t have to be it.



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Remember when those old feelings come in, you are in charge of what you do with them you might not be able to control a body feeling but you can control your response.

Thanks again for watching I’m Marcus subscribe and I’ll see you in the next video!