Endigar 854

From Courage to Change of April 23:

When I came to Al-Anon I didn’t feel. When I lost a job, I said, “No Problem. I can take it.” When we had a child, I said, “No big deal, it’s just another day.” Nothing moved me at all. It was like being dead.

My Al-Anon friends assured me that I did have feelings, but I had lost touch with them through years of living with alcoholism and denying every hint of anger, joy, or sorrow. As I began to recover, I began to feel, and it was very confusing. For a while I thought I might be getting sicker than ever because the feelings were so uncomfortable, but my Al-Anon friends assured me that this was just part of the process. I was ready to experience feelings, and the discomfort did pass. Slowly I became more whole.

As long as I kept them trapped inside me, my feelings were painful and poisonous secrets. When I let them out, they became expressions of my vitality.

Today’s Reminder

Today I will stop from time to time to see how I feel. Perhaps the day will bring joy or perhaps sadness, but either will remind me that I am very much alive.

“I would not exchange the laughter of my heart for the fortunes of the multitudes; nor would I be content with converting my tears…into calm. It is my fervent hope that my whole life on this earth will ever be tears and laughter.”

by Kahil Gibran

END OF QUOTE—————————————

My daughter and I went to see the movie “Inside Out” which put forth the idea that emotions have differing purposes

I have discovered that emotions are my greatest servants or my most tyrannical masters, depending on how I process them. Do I react or do I respond? Lacking the skill to safely manage my feelings, I made their appearance a secret experience. I was encased in an icon built to navigate the trip wires of my family life. Eventually my emotions would explode beyond all my efforts to suppress, and I would react out of proportion to the situation I was experiencing. This only confirmed to me that emotional expression was humiliating and dangerous.

In the pragmatic morality of the 12 Steps, I learned to use my cluster of sad feelings to seek connection with my Higher Power and to productively introspect. I learned to use my angry cluster to recognize a need for change and develop a plan in the counsel of those invested in my welfare, the Al-Anon family group. I began learning how to use my happy cluster to develop valuable human connections. During emergency situations I saw that it was good to temporarily disengage my emotional intensity to resolve the danger. Yet I had come to understand that the disassociation was meant for an event and not a lifestyle. I keep coming back to the Al-Anon fellowship to practice my newfound skills.

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