I think the toughest thing to deal with when we get sober, is the onslaught of feelings. The normal human reactions and responses that we medicated for years, or decades. Christ, they come at us like huge waves in the first couple of years, no doubt about it. Sometimes tsunamis. It’s one of the reasons why some return to drinking. Unless we have a rock solid family, or belief that sobriety is waaay better (which it is, believe you me!), it’s so tempting to go back to the anesthetic.
And in our hypercritical society these days, I’ve noticed a lot of people apologising for the way they’re feeling: if they’re feeling low, sad, or angry about something. The positive thinking movement has a lot to answer for, as we should allow ourselves to feel ‘crap’ but without wallowing in those feelings. (Feelings act like magnets, they seem to attract people and events to us which further inflate those feelings.)
There’s no need to EVER feel apologetic about our feelings. Feelings are what define us, along with our actions (words come and go, and many say things they didn’t mean to, so it’s easier to look at their actions rather than words.)
I love my grumpiness, angst, depression (which is slight these days), hurt and shame. They encourage me to look at things in a Different Way. And by looking at things differently, I can DO something which I hadn’t considered before.
Feelings make me more me, and much much more creative. Look at how artists use feelings to express their souls. So, we’re all artists and feelings are the beginning and basis of all our art, however we express them.
Feelings are like lighthouses: pointing to another direction and another view. So FEEL and don’t apologise. And please don’t label them as “bad,” or “unhelpful” because I reckon they’re mighty helpful.
This wonderful image of Fuerteventura lighthouse is by Jonathan Warner, a superb photographer and friend.
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This post was shared with the Boozemusings Community by Annette Allen, an active member of BOOM Community Rethink the Drink and the author of An Ethiopian Odyssey
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