Someone else blogged somewhere today about sitting with their feelings.  It reminded me of a time early on in my recovery.

I was cooking in the kitchen with my wife – there was progress for a start.  No histrionics etc.  just working together.  A song came on the radio.  “You can have this played at my funeral” my wife said.  Now the song was essentially a farewell to the love of someone’s life.  I was both sad (mention of funeral) and happy (due to subject of song… which I assumed was directed at me!).

I sneaked upstairs and called an AA friend.  I explained I was having two feelings at once.  “Is that normal?” He chuckled like so many AA friends do to me at times.  “No one can deny how you are feeling.  That is the only true reality for you your emotions in the moment right now”.   I was stunned – forty something and I’d just spent all my life running from feelings, avoiding them and simply this was truly life defining for me at that moment.  He did point out that he didn’t think it likely to be unusual by the way.

In my development in my recovery that was one of those light bulb moments where the earth shifted a bit and I suddenly looked at everything through a new filter.  That was when I realised that for me a large part of my alcoholism was simply about me having an emotional disease – or as I think of it an emotional dis-ease.  I separate the dis and ease because I don’t sit easily with emotions, good bad or indifferent, ideally I like numb.

About furtheron

Music and guitar obsessive who is a recovering alcoholic to boot
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11 Responses to Feelings

  1. ainsobriety says:

    I think numb seems easier.
    Earlier in my sobriety I was very taken with Buddhism. I saw it as s potential was to become underling. Permanently detached from my feeling. An out to avoid them!

    But it turns out Buddhists still have feelings. They just allow them to be experienced and don’t grasp at them. Understanding that has helped me lessen my personal fear of being overwhelmed by emotion.

    So, no easy out for me! And I have begun to learn that I need to experience the less pleasant feeling to truly appreciate the awesome ones.

  2. untipsyteacher says:

    Feelings are tricky.
    I want to accept my feelings, but not accept them as the final truth.
    I guess that doesn’t make sense!
    I think what I am trying to say is, if I feel sad, that’s ok, but it doesn’t mean I have to stay in that feeling. I can let it go.
    I too tried to numb my feeling of anxiety and of being overwhelmed.
    But NOT ANY MORE!!!!
    Day 203!

  3. sherryd32148 says:

    Wow…what a powerful moment that must have been for you. I think because I’m a woman I’m used to having more than one feeling at once – in fact, I think drinking for me was an attempt to get numb because there were too many coming at me a once. Now I try to just roll with it and my therapist is teaching me how to observe them and not let them carry me away.

    Dis-ease. I like that. A lot.


  4. Numb definitely has its advantages. I still prefer it today. I thought everyone did.

    What was the song? Do you mind saying or is that too much to reveal in a public forum?

  5. JJ says:

    I agree with the ideas of Buddhism in that you allow yourself to feel. It’s tricky because you want to assuage the anxiety and emotional whirl, blow off the tension with something like alcohol or food.

    But to spend 10 minutes with a feeling and actually think “What is this?” and be curious about it tends to alleviate it. Imagine, all these years running from things and all it takes is some effort to be quiet and recognize the various feelings and observe them.

    You did better than I did, I was about 56 before I figured this out. I think, particularly for men, that emotions are taught to be bad ju-ju. God forbid any man should feel in our society. It is thought that it takes away your power, but real power comes from within, from being steady and awake to being human, which entails emotion.

    Much like loneliness, it’s not so bad when you sit with it. After a while it dissipates. If it comes again you sit with it again and observe how you feel. Despite the need for practice, what a freeing thing, eh?

  6. looby says:

    How could anyone possibly prefer a state of being numb? I find that incomprehensible!

  7. liz says:

    AA is a fantastic organisation in so many ways.

    Just read your review of Girl on a Train. had dithered in the library and finally didn’t get it then someone said it was on kindle at a bargain price but then said it was pretty grim so i didn’t buy it. Now i think maybe I will.

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