Shedding Light on the Shadow
In Recovery, I Don’t Suppress, Deny, or Ignore My Emotions or My Addiction
February 6, 2012
I sometimes wonder, what do I do with all these emotions? And after many years, now I know better to just feel them — experience them — as best I can, without being overwhelmed. And without repressing them. In recovery, I don’t stuff my emotions down anymore. I don’t ignore them but don’t dwell in them. I try my best to just let them be where they are and, eventually, they work themselves out. In a way, it’s interesting to experience myself experiencing emotions because it’s so different from how I operated for so many years.
I realize my anger most often really comes from sadness; my compulsion is born from not being able to be present or quieted; my anxiety comes from perfectionism and self-doubt. There are deep emotional layers to this experience in recovery. And it’s no wonder, because I stultified all these emotions for years by acting out. And so, the uglier, secondary stuff, the rage, and compulsivity, and addictiveness grew and grew.
When I found myself tempted to act out recently, I doubled up on my calls and prayers. I shed light on the part of the addiction that wanted to thrive in shadow. And although I didn’t make it through the last few days completely unscathed, I didn’t lose my sobriety, either.
Still, I’m glad I was able to step toward the emotions, rather than run away from them. I’m glad I was able to surrender to the fact that I’m an addict going through a really rough patch with my ex-wife and appropriately, I relied ever more on my fellowship and my God.
I want to be sober regardless of my situation with my ex. I want to be sober for me so that I can live in peace and communion with the God of my understanding. I want to live a healthier life than I ever did in full-blown addiction. To say recovery is a challenge is an understatement; but day by day, step by step, I am reassured that it’s far better than the alternative.