Why would anyone want to sit with uncomfortable feelings? While doing just that can seem like the worst possible choice, it can actually lead to feeling better. Chances are, either consciously or unconsciously, we began drinking in earnest to try to forget or distance ourselves from uncomfortable feelings. The problem with using a substance to rid us of these feelings was that it was only a bandaid, and a skimpy one at best. The substance didn’t rid us of the feelings. In fact, it most likely made us feel worse.
Dealing with uncomfortable feelings, isn’t about saying yahoo, I can handle my feelings now that I’m sober. Strong arming our feelings doesn’t help any more than drinking them away did. When uncomfortable feelings come up in sobriety we can learn to sit with them. We don’t mean having a fireside chat with yourself. Sitting with our feelings is about paying attention to them.
Running away from whatever caused or causes you to feel pain and hurt is not going to help. Sitting with your feelings is about acknowledging the emotions brought on by discomfort. Some of us may have feelings that are very difficult to sit with. In this case it is best if we work with a therapist. In the therapist’s office, we can sit with our feelings in safety. We don’t have to sit with them all day long, either.
Sitting with our feelings is like wearing a new pair of leather boots. They are stiff and uncomfortable, but we walk around the house anyway. The next time we wear them, they don’t feel quite as uncomfortable. The point of sitting with our feelings, just like breaking in a new pair of boots, is that we don’t have to sit with them all the time.
Our feelings don’t have to own or define us. We have our feelings, and, we have more to ourselves and our life, especially in sobriety. We have new friends, places to go where we feel safe, freedom to take a walk at noontime, we can read a good book, play with our dog or cat or kids!
“The day of the sun is like the day of a king. It is a promenade in the morning, a sitting on the throne at noon, a pageant in the evening.” — Wallace Stevens
If you someone you know is struggling with drugs and alcohol, Serenity Oaks Wellness Center can help to get you sober. Our 12-Step aspects and holistic therapy can show you how to adorn your soul in recovery.
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