Thank you “Elmer” for your insight on emotional tools which you shared at the Triangle Club to help the guys your worked with get well.
In Gainesville ******ics Anonymous Program some of us have a certain tradition. I am not talking about the 12 traditions right now. I am talking about an exercise that we do in accordance with the fifth step. This tradition keeps us SANE, AND SOBER. This tradition keeps shame at bay which is the number one reason people leave the program…shame. Yes “resentment is the number one offender but it is not the #1 reason people that have the program working for them yet choose to leave. Ok yes they leave because they drank or wanted to drink and then the shame sets back in.
The Gainesville tradition that I am referring to is that we share in our meeting “WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW IT MADE US FEEL.” We have learned that keeping secrets about our INTENSE feelings will kill us. We have learned that all the repressed emotions in the world will not change who we are. We have learned how to come to terms with who we are and to accept that. But not only accept..WE SHARE NOT ONLY “WHAT HAPPENED” BUT “HOW IT MADE US FEEL”
This is the magic children. This is the one thing that 12 step programs around the world are missing. THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING ONLY WRONG ACTIONS. If we label our feelings “wrong” we are labelling ourselves wrong. Every feeling that we have is for a valid reason and is valid. Granted we don’t share all of our feelings nor do we allow our feelings to rule over us. However, we do respect and honor our feelings, they are valid. No we don’t run around having to express every small felling we have. There is a time to say “feelings aren’t facts” and simply ignore them. But there are on the other hand feelings that are eating our lunch that need to come out… Otherwise we may slip into our old behavior of projecting and blaming others for the way we feel. So we put our intense and nagging emotions into the middle of the meeting room so they get absorbed and carried away by the Spirit of the program. This my friend is one of the most important solutions I have. It is just as important as not holding resentments. Similar article “Men in Recovery”