I have to admit one of the hardest parts about sobriety is feeling feelings. I think a lot of addicts, myself included, are trying to numb something when they drink or use drugs. They are trying to numb pain or just trying to not feel anything at all. I didn’t even realize I was doing this until I stopped drinking. All of the sudden I was hit with all these emotions and no tools to deal with them.
When I was actively drinking I always had this “I don’t care” attitude and I guess I really didn’t. I didn’t care about myself, my friends or family, and I didn’t care if I hurt someone. For me, I think it worked well for awhile. I deflected pain for many many years. I was the one hurting people before they could hurt me. I was never the one who got attached in relationships or showed feelings first. If someone did something to me, it was easy for me to tell them to fuck off and I would never think about them again. You can’t get hurt if you don’t care, right?
I never connected the way that I acted and my love for alcohol. But now it makes sense. Alcohol allowed me, actually it encouraged me, to not give a fuck. It justified my bad attitude, my bad decisions, and my general acceptance of a mediocre life. Looking back I realize how mean and unpleasant I was. I realize that I thought that type of life was normal. Now I know that I was so wrong.
Being sober is great, but no one ever tells you how many feelings you will feel. I wasn’t ready for all these feelings and I’m still learning how to deal with them. Now that I’m sober I can’t run away from my emotions, I just have to sit there and take them. I thought I was a tough girl, but all these emotions make me feel like a 5 year old who is just learning how to navigate her way through life. I even get mad at myself for being mad or sad about things I think I shouldn’t be. Who knew there were SO many feelings?! WHY! Why are there so many feelings? Sometimes it’s like I am outside of myself watching myself become upset and saying – why are you doing that? Who cares?! This isn’t even a big deal! Save it for the really bad stuff! And I feel defeated.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. What a lie. Words sting. Words stay in your mind for months and years after they have been said. Physical pain is the easy part – that’s why I play soccer.
I just feel like my emotional compass is messed up. What should I get upset about and what shouldn’t I? When do I stand up for yourself and when do I just let things go? When do I figure out if I’m being too sensitive or my feelings actually have validity? I must think about the repercussions of every single thing I do and say… because now I care. I don’t want to hurt anyone and I don’t want to hurt myself. I feel like my heart is on my sleeve and just about anyone can have a poke at it.
Sometimes I just don’t want to feel feelings anymore. It’s hard feeling helpless. Controlling my emotions will obviously take time. Not every part of sobriety is glamorous and crying your eyes out for no good reason is one of those parts.