I’m curious to what you’re thinking when I call this writing The F Word. I’m talking about feelings. I’ve heard recently that in the beginning of recovery that I shouldn’t trust my feelings cause the best of it got me into recovery to begin with and nothing else. I can say that’s true enough, feeling the way I was feeling was horrible to say the least. Feelings got me to where I am right now and feelings were not my best friend in the beginning. How many of you could say this? Going to go out on a limb and say a “bunch” of you.
Growing up those feelings were everything, from excitement, happiness, connection, sadness, lost and love among the many out there I experienced all of them. When addiction came in I used coping as a way to feel them in a different better way. It worked obviously for a few years however I started using them in bad ways. Winning baseball games, breaking a work record, even graduating high school. I never let myself feel those special moments. It was the bad moments I only wanted to get rid of like my cousin Sabrina’s sudden passing or losing the umpteenth job cause of my drinking…. Yes been their done that. I had the dis-ease of the disease.
When is the right time to start trusting your feelings after such a long time of them letting you down, drowning them in sorrow or pity or just facing them? I honestly can’t answer that, that’s something you need to find out for yourself and how do you do that? Something I would call testing your boundaries in a good way. You’ve heard the saying you have to crawl before you walk, that’s testing boundaries as a child. Literally stepping into to the unknown of a new experience. Something you will inherently benefit from as you grow up. Early in recovery I did just that and yet I couldn’t get away from it cause I was staying in a shelter. It was that or on the streets. Addiction was all around me and I needed that to see where I would end up.
I’ve seen people who could not or would not feel their feelings at all and resorted to their own coping mechanisms and it’s not just drinking or getting high. They range from a bunch of things like lashing out or no one’s going to make me feel like this anymore, however they’re all fear based. Defensive tactics to make ones-self feel safe. I’ve had all these, from someone interrupting me while I’m talking (shame of not being good enough to be heard) to spitting the truth right in my face (shame of showing my imperfect qualities I didn’t want to see anyways).
It was when my awareness level was brought up to a point that I started recognizing these qualities in me that were qualities that I wanted to let go of. Who wants to talk to Nathan when they have to watch what they say? Watch what they do that might offend him? No one wants that and being Nathan, I didn’t want people around me to feel that way around me to begin with or anymore. I chose how I responded to those around me. See cause it’s not about changing people around me, it’s about changing the way I am around people.
I have to admit that when this level of awareness started working within me, things changed little by little. People started showing up in ways I never thought possible and this is nothing new. This has been talked about for like “Ever!” however I needed to immerse myself into it, I had to keep on surrounding myself around this way before I ever got it.
Feelings are like the F word…. Feelings are the F word and you should be careful in the beginning because of the fear it brings up in you when you haven’t learned to deal with them yet, however feelings certainly aren’t bad, people need to learn to feel their feelings and let them go if they need to or enjoy the benefits of them. Like I said I have no time line to say when you can start using them for yourself, you just test them until you feel comfortable like finding comfort in discomfort. If you really want change, give yourself time, it won’t happen overnight, it’ll happen with progress and not perfection. Don’t be afraid of the F word, embrace it and make it work for you rather than you working around it.