Friday, February 14, 2014

Don't Let Your Emotions Make You Their Bitch

(Life is not always pristine. Neither is recovery.  Sometimes more frank language is used in recovery circles to make a point.  This is the spirit of the above word picture.)

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Most people who struggle with addiction also struggle with their emotions.  That is, strong emotions can be a trigger to use drugs and/or alcohol.  Also, strong emotions can be hard to control.  The conundrum for most addicts and alcoholics is exactly how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way which doesn't ignore them but also doesn't indulge them like the proverbial toddler screaming on the floor for oreo cookies before supper. 

If you've ever messed up and done something stupid because of out of control emotions, I think you will agree that it is best not to, "let your emotions make you their bitch".  As a matter of fact, The Urban Dictionary defines the word 'bitch' as a, "modern-day servant; a person who performs tasks for another, usually degrading in status."  That is, it is an insult to the person defined as said bitch.  What this translates to, in the case of the word picture above, is a really nice slang way to say: 'hey, I know it's difficult to deal with your emotions.  And yeah, people really do make you mad sometimes.  But, you can't let your emotions get the best of you.  If you lose your control, you lose respect.  You have to control yourself at all times.  Don't go blowing your stack.  It'll make you relapse."

And that is the most succinct way I have ever seen a very important concept distilled down when it comes to proper care of your emotions while in recovery.  To be sure, it is a uniquely human characteristic to have emotions.  We should not be ashamed of them.  We don't have to justify them or excuse them.  We have to acknowledge them for what they are: messengers to tell us what is right and wrong in our life.  If you listen closely to your emotions, you will hear what they are trying to tell you.  It is only for your best interest and once you pay attention, they will diminish in power.  

For example, if a coworker throws you under the bus during a meeting, you will most likely feel angry.  Why?  You feel angry because you were completely disrespected and devalued in front of your superiors and your colleagues.  Plus, it is just plain rude.  If you are able to access the self-awareness that what you are emotionally experiencing is anger then you can decide what you want to do with it versus say shooting up or getting stoned or drunk instead.  The truth of the matter is, as you begin to become more self-aware, then you would understand that anger is a secondary emotion to pain and the whole scenario of being thrown under the bus during the meeting actually hurt your feelings because you expected respect and didn't get it.  You were betrayed.  Publicly.  Who wouldn't feel hurt?  Who wouldn't feel outraged?  Who wouldn't feel depressed?  And, of course, who wouldn't feel angry?

However, here is where the road splits between addicts and non-addicts.  Non-addicts might feel the same emotion but they will handle it in a more mature, healthy manner.  They will not decide that self-injury or injury to others is the best way to soothe their emotional pain.  That is what an addict or alcoholic does.  Now that you are in recovery, you can make a better choice. A healthy choice.  Breathe.  Deal.  Self-sooth with self-talk that helps you get to the root of your feelings.  Talk to a trusted friend or sponsor.  Be heard so your pain is acknowledged but then make a healthy choice in reaction to it.  Then you won't be anybodies bitch because let's face it, no one wants that job!  

If you or someone you love is in need of detox off alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869.  At The Coleman Institute, we are dedicated to helping people get clean and stay clean.  Please call today because it is never too late to start the rest of your life sober!  

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