Saturday, October 08, 2011

Out of the Woods and Into More Feelings

As I approach my anniversary I’m thinking about why I started this blog and this book. When I was ten years sober I realized that there were some things that were different or new in the ways I lived my sober life. When I talked with other women who had ten-plus years, I heard similar observations and questions.

For most of us the raw pain of early days was past but new kinds of pain or “strong emotion” emerged. When alcohol was put down and step work was moving along we began to see the other ways that we tried to stop feeling. Most of us had done at least one version of transferring addictions. Food, shopping, relationships, work, sugar, worry, exercise, TV, and on and on.

So this week it hit me –as I lived through some yucky feelings of jealousy, resentment and shame—that in some ways recovery gets harder. There are fewer “medicators” or distractions. More self-awareness means there is a shorter period of time in which I can indulge in a belief that “they” are my problem. In our early recovery days we heard about how uncomfortable it is to have “A head full of AA and a belly full of beer”. Ditto that with having a head full of AA and a heart full of resentment. You don’t even get to indulge in the fun part before the AA head says, “Uh huh, and your part is…?” Or “Oh might this be a projection?” Or “How nice of you who claims to be a spiritual person.”. Yes, yuck.

And while I don’t think to have a drink I might think a new sweater, some candy or another workshop will fix me up, but then I remember that I know the false solution each of those represents and “Sit still and Feel” becomes the only possible—uncomfortable—solution.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m grateful beyond belief for these years of sober life but sometimes I want some polka dot band-aids and red licorice and the cashmere comfort of unawareness.

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