Feeling the feels of Sobriety
One of the biggest realizations as I got sober was that I had not felt real feelings for quite some time. All I did was drink and use drugs to get away from all the feelings of life. Happy, sad, anxiety, excited, angry…. All of them
So take away the outside substance and I am left with the one thing that terrifies me the most in this world, myself. Have you ever been alone with yourself? Your own thoughts? In silence? For some people that can be the happiest place on earth, for me in early sobriety, it was hell. Looking at myself in the mirror wondering what I had done to myself, the hell I just went through. Looking for something else to make me feel different then I was feeling at that moment. It seemed being dry of everything hurt more than the hangover from the night before.
But give it some time. If you work a 12 step program, work a rehab program, work with a circle of people who are also trying to stay sober, the feelings come and the feeling go. That’s the beauty of the reality of “nothing lasts forever”. That includes, anxiety, fear and anger. LET IT GO. One of the tricks of handling the feelings of sobriety is to talk it out with someone who is on the same type of sobriety journey as you. There is so much power in talking with someone who has done what you have done (or worse) and has made it through and made it to the other side.
Lots of sugar, a ton of caffeine and some good conversation can go a long way in early sobriety, it can go a long way in long term sobriety as well. The point is to just not use or drink to get through that fear, anxiety or anger. Call someone, text someone, go see someone in person, express to them that you are feeling this way and talk it out. By the end of the conversation you will have a different perspective and the feeling may not be gone, but it wont be so substantial in your train of thought.
When I first got sober, everything was a big deal, I mean everything. Over time I have learned to pause, take breaths and process what is happening right in front of me. At times this process may only take 10 seconds, so the question you can ask yourself when you’re getting worked up is, “do I have 10 seconds?”.
Feelings are going to come and go, there is nothing we can do to stop them, what we can do is process them in a healthy manner and continue moving forward with life.