It’s Normal and Common To be Sad In Recovery For No Apparent Reason
Well the common consensus in AA is if your not happy, joyous, and free then it’s your own fault. Your obviously not working the program right or you would be ecstatic with joy at least most of the time, right? On the contrary, many of us are so desperate to allow some of our long repressed grief to escape that we will latch-on to any sorrowful event no matter how far removed from us it really is, just to have something “valid” in the eyes of our fellows to grieve about. Please I need to let out some of this repressed emotional pain!
Someone dies in the program and we don’t even know them much more than a distant hello, but it’s an opportunity for a “valid” expression of grief so we grab onto it with the rest of our home-group who barely knew the guy. Hey, maybe some of the people really are sad the fellow died…but I kinda doubt it.
WE DO NOT NEED A REASON TO LET OUT OUR PAIN. THERE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A DEATH OR LOSS FOR US TO FEEL INTENSE EMOTIONAL HURT. THE ONLY “VALID REASON” WE NEED TO EXPRESS PAIN IS, THERE ARE MANY THINGS WHILE IN OUR ADDICTION WE SHOULD HAVE CRIED ABOUT AND DIDN’T. THAT REPRESSED PAIN DOES NOT GO AWAY, IT NEEDS TO BE LET-OUT. AND IF WE IDENTIFY THE CORE SOURCE OF OUR PAIN DURING THE VENTING AND EXPRESSION, THEN ALL THE BETTER FOR OUR HEALING.
In this human life there are many things to grieve over. Sickness, disease, loneliness, emotional disorder, loss. Please be kind to yourself. If your heart is screaming to cry, we must not turn it to anger and criticism it does not get released or healed that way. Rather, we have the steps to help us to be restored to emotional balance and peace of mind.
Quality emotional sobriety has many faces and sadness for no apparent reason is one of them. Your not in recovery if you don’t feel hurt and sad or scared for no apparent reason. Most of the people telling us we are supposed to be happy all of the time have no idea what emotional balance really looks or feels like. Crying is a healthy emotion. Grieving is a healthy emotion and there does not have to be a death for us to feel real grief. Especially in recovery because many of us didn’t grieve or feel our pain while in addiction. We stuffed it down and now that we are sober it is surfacing. We may need to grieve when there is seemingly nothing going on except the fact that we are recovering from an emotional trauma.
I am validating you now. It’s OK to grieve when no one has died. It’s OK to cry when we see no apparent reason. We should honor our feelings. Honor our heart when it talks to us. We do not let our feelings rule over us or paralyze us. but neither do we continue to ignore, deny, invalidate our own hearts cry.
HOW DO WE GRIEVE?
Healthy grieving will prevent morbid reflection because it gets the pain out. Morbid reflection is when the negative tape won’t stop playing in our head. Doing a fourth step on recurring memories works fabulously as does revisiting our Step 3. “That’s right, God has my back and I am forgiven”.
To grieve, we cry, we write, we share our feelings with someone who WON’T SHUT US DOWN OR INVALIDATE OUR PAIN. We grieve to the emphatic person who understands and won’t call our grieving a character defect like self-pity. A good cry can release many relaxing endorphin and the vital chemical dopamine. A good cry can put our brain chemicals back on track.
Our Brain Will Heal
Don’t believe for a minute that your brain can’t be healed and create it’s own endorphin and dopamine. I have read and heard it said but my experience is that feel good chemicals can go into over-drive in recovery. Cut down on your smoking for a day or two and then see what happens when you do have say 4 cigarettes a day. OMG! Not to mention sex and orgasms are always best in early recovery from my experience.
If you don’t get the 2016 red Ford Mustang that you wanted and are throwing a hissy fit over it, well that would be self-pity. but if you are feeling deep emotional pain and sorrow yet nothing is going on then write. The core issues will surface. Often when an emotional trauma from the past is surfacing we will have a recurring memory attached to the pain. Normally we cast the thought aside but we should explore the thought instead. Recurring memories are signalling us to do some work in that area of our past. Were we wronged? If it’s a memory from our childhood we should picture ourselves as a child, not as an adult who says “get over it!” When we picture ourselves as a child then we have more understanding toward our feelings and what we may have gone through at a young age. Then we can allow ourselves to cry over it. We were harmed. We were neglected emotionally. Our parents most likely had no idea how to emotionally nurture us. It doesn’t mean they didn’t love us dearly.
We can’t heal while we stay in defensive mode
PLEASE, THERE IS A REASON WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO NUMB OUR FEELINGS FOR YEARS ON END. IT DOESN’T MEAN WE ARE BAD OR OUR PARENTS ARE BAD.
If we stay defensive of everything and every one we will never get to our core issues because we will be too busy trying to shoot down any semblance of guilt in us or the adults who raised us. We cannot see clearly when we are too busy holding walls up around us which are blocking our view of truth. Truth is our healer. Truth is our friend. Unlike our past, in recovery the lie becomes the enemy and truth becomes our protector. The lie doesn’t protect us it harms us. Character defects do not protect us from others but rather they shut out Love and Truth which are the magic gifts of recovery. Truth and Love are spiritual gifts, they are magic.
I used to think that character defects hurt others. That if I engaged in them it would hurt other people. But character flaws hurt me first and foremost.
Please self-pity is not the same as valid emotion. Self-pity is pouting over not getting our way. I know it is so similar to authentic pain of loss that many AA’s really don’t know the difference. But if you do the journalling you will quickly find out what is really going on with your heart. Many times the pen is like magic. It reveals our reasons for grief and sadness.
Being afraid is part of the human condition and that’s why there is a “fear list” (Which most members don’t even include in their fourth step) included in the fourth step, and don’t forget your sexual inventory. Please don’t believe the steps are only done one time and then the work is over. A fourth step should be done every time we get a taste of misery, deep emotional pain and resentment. AA is strong in dealing with our own faults and wrongs. But many of us have suffered whether at the hand of a loving or a cruel adult. So if we have no resentment attached to our pain then we write down the even, what happened, and how it made us feel. We can use an empty chair and imagine our assailant or abuser is in that chair. Then we tell them how they made us feel. We can write them a letter that we need not send. But the letter will relieve us of boxed in feelings toward the person.
After all…its hard for me to imagine a child with a healthy emotional rearing to resort to self-destruction and self-hate and loathing because of their wonderful childhood. If you don’t know the ‘why’ you became an addict you are missing a large part of what recovery is.
Many times a simple look at our family tree will answer many questions for us.
The question “why” is the beginning of knowledge and knowledge is the primary tool linking us to wisdom.