Recovering from addiction, yours, or a family members, can be one step foreword and two steps back. Emotions numbed out, or stuffed, come to the surface leaving us on shaky ground. It’s a little like having the flu. Its all gotta come out, before you begin to feel better.
Sounds simple. Right?
Why is it we learn early on never to tell the truth when it comes to our feelings?
Think about it. How many times a day do you say “Hi. How are you?” It’s like white noise. It doesn’t really mean anything. It’s not like I expect you to answer, at least not truthfully.
How are you?
Good, pretty good, not bad, OK, fine.
That pretty much sums it up.
So lets read between the lines.
Good: This could be code for “I think this is what you want me to say,” or “My life is awesome.I’m happy as shit, but I don’t think I should boast about it,” or “I’m barely making it here pal, but I’m not telling you that.”
Pretty good: This could be code for “Life sucks,” or “I just had a fight with my husband and feel like crying,” or I dropped the kids off at daycare and feel like the worst mother/father in the world,” or “I’m almost broke and don’t know how I’ll pay the rent but it could be worse.”
Not bad: This could be code for “I’m bored and indifferent and life sucks,” or “I don’t like my job but I’m stuck with it,” or “I can’t remember the last time I really laughed, ” or “I’m in a hurry leave me alone.”
OK: This could be code for “None of your bleepin business,” or “I’m still breathing,” or “Everything’s falling apart but I can smile about it.”
Fine: This is the biggest lie of all. It tells you absolutely nothing. I’m sure we’ve all heard its acronym.
So, as you see, getting it all out is easier said, than done.
Recovery from anything is not possible until you start.
Now I’m not suggesting the next time you go to the supermarket and the clerk asks “How are you?” You respond by telling her your life story. It wouldn’t go over well and the people behind you in line may get a little impatient, or hell, they may even join in! Can you imagine? Group therapy in the supermarket. It would be like multitasking, or ‘shopping’ therapy. But never mind. Really, it’s not a good idea.
Thing is to find safe, stable people, who you can begin the process with. The mistake we so often make is we begin this process with our families. The very people we learned to shut down our emotions with in the first place.
Becoming emotionally fluent is an overwhelming, scary process. It leaves you feeling naked and vulnerable and eventually….. Free.
To be truly alive we must experience range of emotion. All of them.
Intimacy is the gift we offer to those special people in our lives.
Into me you see.
I allow you to really know me. My thinking, my feelings and my behaviors. Without intimacy marriages fail, families don’t communicate, and you’re left feeling lonely, even in the midst of a crowd.
The good news is we can start right now. Today. Find one person who you can tell the truth to. How you really feel. Get vulnerable. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. Don’t run from it. The dis-comfort won’t last.
And remember it’s not your significant family members you want to start this with. Start with a 12 step group, or in counseling, or with a sponsor.
As you gain experience you’ll know when the time is right to start with your family. Some of us are still awkward saying I Love You and really feeling it.
Don’t shy away from your feelings. Experience them.
And when you do, watch out! Weird things start to happen, like walking down a street and crying, just for the sheer joy of being alive.
And one day you cross the threshold of human doing, to human being and then?