The Emotions, Oh The Emotions
I am an alcoholic. Emotions for my type are felt tremendously different than those "normies" we share the planet with. What alcoholics are really good at, and some could argue masters of are stuffing our emotions way down deep, so that they remain hidden until the most inopportune time when they come billowing out in a rare show case of what could be called insanity.
For me, emotions represented weakness, because even as a woman if I couldn't handle my emotions it meant I was weak in character. To feel the emotional wreckage that was left behind from all of the really bad things that happened to me meant that they weren't just from a horrific nightmare, but in fact had happened here in real life. But if I didn't feel those emotions, maybe I would someday forget that I had been raped (more than once), or abused, or any of the many bad things that happened to me. If I didn't' feel those traumas I could pretend that they never happened, and gloss on by those unimaginable events as having no impact, because I could pretend they never happened, right?!? FALSE! Holy shit is that the biggest load of you know what.
You see, I drank because I feared feeling all of the pain from those things. I drank because that was the only coping mechanism I knew of to survive. If I had to feel all of the trauma I would just assume be dead. That's the dark truth of it all. Alcoholics don't just happen. There's an entire back-log of shit that we've all been through. Compound the shit with a genetic predisposition to addict, and you've got the perfect cocktail for an alcoholic / drug-addict.
So what happens when we get sober? Well, all of that trauma we never handled comes bubbling to the surface in a title waive of every negative emotion all at once. And some of us don't make it because of that fact alone. Some people never can recover because the pain of everything cripples them, and that's the sad truth. But for those of us that are lucky enough to meet our bottoms with our Higher Powers handing us the sweet gift of desperation to change our ways we slowly pull ourselves out of the dark, and into the light. Think of these emotions as a flood light being shined on you after spending days, months, years in a dark cave with little to no sunlight. It's shocking, breathtaking, and painfully hard to adjust to. But, like your eyes adjust to the morning light, we adjust to our emotional state of being, and heal from it.
The 12 steps of AA are designed so that we can release our resentments and anger, not by placing blame on the ass-holes of the world, but by taking ownership of our part in the events that caused our resentments to form. These steps are ego-deflating, and give us the tools we need so that we can own our shit, forgive, and carry this program & message to the next person that comes in bruised up and broken down. And that is a beautiful thing. To go from being emotionally crippled to being a sobriety sherpa for someone else that wants recovery, I mean that right there is God expressed in human form.
Emotions. I was once was terrified of them. Now, I can observe them. For me, I have had to learn that I am powerless over other people, places, and situations. But where I do have power is in how I react, or non-react to those people, places, and situations. From there, I know that my first thought is usually wrong, and my first emotional response is usually an over-reaction. Pause, Lindsay.... breathe, observe the emotion. Ask God for the next right thought or action, and then proceed. That's how it has to be for this alcoholic and addict.