There is a lot of talk in the rooms about feelings, and specifically about feelings that we didn’t want to feel. I know that I personally drank to cover up feelings — of inadequacy, of fear, of confusion. We talk a lot about how alcohol numbed our feelings, or put them aside, but we don’t often talk about the feeling that resulted from our drinking.

I know for me, especially as I neared the end, I felt feelings of hopelessness, anger with myself and others, and despair as a result of my drinking. I felt like I was trapped — and I was trapped in a cycle of daily drinking. I felt that there was no way out and I hated what was happening. I distinctly remember looking at myself in the mirror, sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the middle of a bender, and thinking — I hate you.

Thankfully, I haven’t felt those feelings in a long, long time. I haven’t looked at myself in the mirror and seen a monster. I haven’t felt that I had no options. I haven’t felt that I had to pull into the liquor store parking lot and buy a bottle because it was Tuesday. While I may have wanted a drink, I haven’t felt the need to drink.

And for these I’m grateful.

But sometimes, sometimes, I need to feel those feelings again. I need to remember the feeling of the ache in my heart, the miserable falling feeling in gut, the feeling that I’m stuck and that I don’t know how to get out. Because, sometimes, that idea of a drink still sounds good. And when it does, I need to remember that the fun is short lived, that the drink doesn’t wash away a problem, and that the first drink only leads to the next.

And when I remember how those feelings felt, I am able to bring myself back to reality and say no to the feeling that just one might be okay.

8 thoughts on “Some Feelings Need to be Felt

  1. I like watching recovery centered movies for that – Flight, Everything Must Go, Clean and Sober…. I’ll be damned if I don’t get that pit in my stomach every time. A good drinking dream every now and again is good for that too.

    One interesting little twist of thought that I noted; I always like to say that I drank to escape those feelings. There was no covering them up, just drowning them out. Maybe it’s just me.

    Regardless, nice post, man. Peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s strange how the brain, which automatically learns to withdraw a hand from a hot stove, forgets over and over again what happens with alcohol. Without deliberately thinking it through, my first impulse is always to forget just long enough to get that first drink down. And then it doesn’t matter what I remember.

    Thank you for the reminder, Damien.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I hear this, Damien. Totally. I remember those times of self-loathing and hating the man in the mirror. I still struggle with echoes of that, as I work through shame and low self-esteem. That is my latest challenge. I don’t necessarily want to drink, but I sometimes don’t want to feel those feelings. That’s the real work.

    Great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This. So much this. I don’t ever have a problem quitting drinking in the few days and even weeks immediately following one of my benders. The shame and pain are “fresh enough” to keep me sober for awhile at least. What I worry about is months down the road, when I’ve tricked myself into feeling normal again and think maybe I can have just one drink. For this reason I’ve created a little deck of cards that I keep tucked in my purse. I call them my Cards Against Humanity and on each one I’ve written a little phrase reminding me of some regretful thing I’ve said or done while inebriated. Classic performances of mine like “Stone Wall Faceplant” or “Christmas Party 2011” or “The Shower Incident.” When I start feeling cocky and like I’ve got this thing in the bag, I read one or 2 of my cards and it brings me back to those old painful feelings and to the reality that sobriety is NOT to be taken lightly and requires daily work on my part. Like you said so eloquently, Some feelings need to be felt.”

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s