Ask any man, “What are you feeling?”and ninety nine out of a hundred will respond, “I feel good.” The problem is, good isn’t a feeling. Good is a catch all term we use to avoid thinking about our feelings and emotions. The truth is that most, if not all addiction comes from an attempt to avoid experiencing painful or uncomfortable emotions and feelings. We turn to alcohol because we are attempting to avoid stress or anxiety. We turn to drugs to avoid fear or sadness. Food can be a good escape from shame. We may use pornography or unhealthy sexual behavior too escape loneliness or rejection.
As a child growing up in a home with an alcoholic father I learned at an early age about disappointment, shame and pain in general. The technique I learned to use to deal with it was not to feel. I discovered that if I shut down emotionally and just didn’t care I was less likely to feel hurt. This kind of response can work in the short term but in the long term it has devastating results. Our feelings and emotions are an important and healthy part of life. They are meant to be processed and experienced. Feelings, even the ones we would classify as negative, play an important role in our development ansd in our mental health.
Chip Dodd, in his book, The Voice of the Heart, says, “Hurt points to our need for help… Neglect of our hurt through denial can lead us to worse consequences than the hurt itself. The very things we use to hide or numb hurt eventually kill our hearts… Our fixes do work against the pain in that they do mask or numb it enough to allow us to survive. But they will never bring true healing.” If our true desire is to experience more than survival, then we must stop attempting to numb our painful and unpleasant feelings. We must begin to experience and process our feelings. How do we do this? This process takes place in a community where we can receive the support and care needed to help us learn to live life in a healthy, productive and joyful way. In this community we come to realize that we aren’t alone. Others have been where we are now and together, we can walk in recovery.
If you’re ready to press forward, to discover a path where you can process these feelings and learn from them then a Bridge Group may be for you. I also offer personalized coaching. You can cross that bridge from where you are to where you want to be. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your first consultation is at no charge.