Friday, April 18, 2014

Sunny Day!

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

The weather for the past week or so in Richmond has been awful.  Continual rain and dark clouds have made it very difficult to get motivated.  Ever been there?  Yeah, me too!

Today is different, however, because the ‘eye in the sky’ is shining brightly.  It is amazing what a little bit of sunshine can do for your mood.  Do you ever feel moody?  Yeah, me too!

In recovery, one of the issues people often struggle with is their day-to-day mood swings.  One day you’re on cloud 9 and the next day you drop down to cloud -9 and there’s no good reason to explain your huge mood swing.  This is very common but very difficult to deal with in the beginning of your recovery when everything is so raw, real, and even painful.

What we all look for in life are buffers.  Buffers help us deal with the pain the world sends us.  Common buffers include, but are not limited to, food, drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, adrenaline, sports, and many others.  A buffer is anything that you use to keep you from feeling the fullness of an emotion that you find uncomfortable.  This is why drugs and alcohol seems to be the instant fix.  And in the beginning, they do just that.

However, over time, addiction will teach us that the buffer it advertises fails to work in the long-term.  This leaves us in a quandary.  How do we deal with intense feelings with nothing to block the power of those feelings?  The answer is simple:  feel it.

I know that is not the answer you wanted to hear but it is true.  The more we allow ourselves to feel what we actually are feeling the easier those feelings will become to manage.  It takes practice and dedication to maintain our emotional health.  The payoff is totally worth it in the end!

Think of your emotions as your inner ‘oil light’.  Like the oil light in a car that lets the driver know if the engine is ok or is about to lock up due to cruddy or insufficient oil in the engine, so too, emotions are nature’s way of teaching us that something is wrong in our present life.  If we choose to accept emotions as a help and not a hindrance, then they begin to take on a new hope and a new meaning.

Why don’t you give it a try?  Pay attention to your emotions the next few days and see if you notice how you tend to buffer them.  If you find you don’t like what you see, experiment with letting go of that buffer or buffers and see how the experience differs.   As for me today, I’m feeling good because the sun is my buffer.  Here’s hoping tomorrow, if it’s cloudy, I’ll remember my own words!

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people detox off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, and Suboxone.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  We're here for you!

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