STEP ONE OF AA
NINTH STEP PROMISES
“THE FEAR OF PEOPLE WILL LEAVE US”
When I first got sober & clean I was emotionally numb. I had separated myself from my feelings. I was dragging them behind me like a dead rag doll so full of pain, hurt and fear that my ego refused to own. I rejected my own truths, I white-washed my fears with my shallow tough-girl persona. I denied every deep and precious pain I ever felt. I refused to be myself instead I made up a false identity who was socially acceptable in my eyes. I had to create this other person because my true identity was weak, bad, ugly , and wrong in my eyes. That’s what I was taught in my formidable years and that’s what I believed. I laughed when I was nervous. I smiled as I told my new recovery counselor about my near death experiences during addiction.
But wait! Why did I smile when I recalled the tragic events of my life? I refused to feel because feeling is what scared me the most. Sharing my true feelings was a vulnerability I would not chance! Why would I? Every time I showed my true self I was cut down at the knees. My vicious older sister made certain of that. My parents were not evil but they knew nothing about emotional nurturing. So I laughed at my pain. But no, WAIT! To recover I had to make myself vulnerable. I had to tell someone my true feelings and who I was to release the pain that my poor inner child was lugging around behind me…me the ego self, me the tough girl. I had a bucket full of sick emotional survival skills that took no account of hurting others. I could blame every failure every wrong and dishonest deed on the beast of burden of my choice. And usually that meant a boyfriend or a husband. If I didn’t make my own choices then I wasn’t responsible for the outcome.
When I got sober at first the only feeling I knew was intense fear of facing life and other people without my drugs. I was completely out of touch with my true inner feelings and inner-man. I was walking around in-body with my soul and emotions dragging behind me like carrying a rag-doll by her hair that drags behind me on the floor. I remember telling my counselor after attending a women’s issues group that I didn’t belong in that group. All the women were crying and talking about their pain while I was numb…completely numb and I really thought I had no emotional pain. Little did I know I had a boatload of pain it was just…I had separated myself from it.
I remember one day in therapy telling a horrific story to a counselor about a traumatic event in my life and I held a protective smile on my face subconsciously thinking to myself…”I refuse to feel what I am talking about”. The counselor said to me “Laura why are you smiling? That is a tragic event you are telling me about.” At that very moment my soul re-connected with my body along with all my baggage and feelings. The rag-doll and all she carried came crashing down in an epiphany of just how terrible things had really been.
My heart at that moment began to thaw out. But still, it took months before I was able to cry, really let it out. I had froze myself up so well when the tears finally came they didn’t stop for, well I think I cried for about two years regularly, every time I was alone in my car. I didn’t know that crying is a healthy emotion. I didn’t know that feelings are to be honored and felt and then released. Denying my feelings and repressing them made me sick and full of wrath. But finally I was able to cry that poison out of my soul.
Acknowledging my feelings was the first step in my recovery. That was the beginning of my healing from “grave emotional disorder”. Nine years later….I have learned how to become and stay healthy emotionally and it took the 12 steps….a year of therapy…and regular spiritual maintenance. Coupled with fellowship & meetings to get better.