Many times if we are in our addiction we go through a cycle of guilt. First we take the action of over-doing our drug of choice. Next we either deny hurting ourselves or we deny emotionally hurting those around us. We must stay in denial otherwise we will experience extreme guilt, remorse, and emotional self-hate.Is it no wonder that we drug abusers and alcoholics stay in denial. Why face what we did the night before if we experience pain from it?
So, what if we were to clear up the core issues of why we really drink, drug, and commit self abuse? What if we could change the way that we see ourselves and understand why we are so sick? Would we no longer be alcoholics? The first question every addict asks in response to that question is, “would I then be able to drink responsibly?” The thing is if we were to be healed in our hearts and minds from addict patterns we would no longer want to drink or drug responsibly we would not want to be numb. We, if healed would have no reason to drink again would we?
There are recovery programs now that do guarantee a complete deliverance from addiction and many people do not doubt the possibility of that concept. Furthermore many have been cured of addictions. Nevertheless in AA and NA alike we have good reason to drive-home the concept of “once an addict always an addict”.
The thing is very few people that get sober actually process their core issues meaning, the core emotional and psychological reasons behind their self-abuse. Hence, if we believe we are cured and have not done the emotional work and learned to make a new healthy emotional process our way of life we will just pick up the same old behaviors after we are released from our recovery babysitters and teachers. Not only that, a huge part of recovery is to build many new relationships with sober people like us. If that doesn’t happen the quality of recovery is usually not as strong. In AA we learn to build relationships that we keep throughout our lives.
Working through core issues is a long process that takes years of painstaking emotional work. It takes going back to childhood and reliving our most painful times. Sometimes it takes years to access memories of traumatic childhood events. Let alone facing these events and actually crying, screaming, writing, sharing, and understanding them. We get them out by expressing them in a healthy way instead of running from them. It is not something that can happen with program. We need confidants and tools.
When we wake up in the morning sober and feel the fear that used to drive us to drink we now know that they are just feelings. We need no longer drink and drug over them but at the same time if we don’t address the intense and lingering emotions that we do have while sober, we will either commit suicide, have a nervous breakdown, or drink. The statistics of suicide in sobriety is not pretty.
We make AA a way of life and learn also to be transparent with our feelings. We ARE as sick as our secrets and so we talk about our feelings, fears, cry, scream (releases hoards of endorphins), beat the bed when we are anxious and keep up our spiritual maintenance by doing steps Ten, Eleven and Twelve. We take meditation and prayer seriously. If we can expose and process all of our deep core fears, regrets, guilts, abuses, neglects, develop and maintain a relationship with God it is very likely we will not want to drink and drug again…ever.
Don’t have any emotional neglect in your past? Meditation and prayer to see these things within our past and within us works to bring them to light. Please know emotionally sick people don’t get that way from having nurturing and fulfilling childhoods. We need group therapy. We need to open up and make us vulnerable.
Learning which of our feelings need addressing and which should just be ignored is a matter of the intensity and occurrence of the feeling. Ignoring intense feelings by saying “get over it” is a dangerous game of psychological and emotional repression. Core issues will come up in an orderly fashion when sober. We should honor our feelings and learn to differentiate between feelings and character defects. Not all of our emotional pains result from character defects. Emotions are God given and should be expressed in a healthy way. Saying “I should not feel like this” is like saying “God created junk”. Feelings come from our hearts and are always based in fact and come from our experiences.
To recover we must become as little children. Feel free to use the poster attached to identify and then process emotions. There is no wrong feeling only wrong actions.