A friend of mine shared this catch phrase with me last week and it has stuck with me. This concept has helped me in the past as I grew to understand it. It aligns with Non-Violent (Compassionate) Communication that I’ve been incorporating into my life over time. And it described me today! I lashed out at someone, creating an opportunity to make an amends! As someone once said, put down the shovel and stop digging… I have another hole to fill in.
But, the real question is…what was the source of my pain, causing me to hurt…
I’ve been in a mood since yesterday and I’ve been trying to figure it out. I’ve lapsed into a little of my cross-addiction behaviors — spending time chatting online, looking to fill an emptiness. But, this time I’ve stopped doing and running and tried to figure out what’s going on. That’s one of the tools I’ve learned — interrupt the cycle, the normal behavior pattern where situation drives a feeling and feeling creates a behavior. That gives me a chance to alter the behavior…thus keeping my feelings from controlling my behaviors! And more importantly, allows me to feel what I need to feel instead of running from them!
I meditated this morning in the shower (it’s works for me!) And, a lightbulb finally went on.
I figured out what event created the feelings of loneliness, that were driving the behavior to chat and “act out.” My cross addiction is people – relationships – sex. I use them to avoid feeling loss or grief; it’s essentially using people to numb my feelings. But I know it doesn’t make them go away. I also know they aren’t bad feelings – they are expected, normal, nothing to be afraid of. But for years – decades – I’ve “used” people to hide from my feelings just like I’ve used drugs and alcohol. And part of my recovery is working to align my behaviors with my values. I value people as children of god. I value intimacy, and sex as a means of expressing that intimacy in a loving relationship. So, having anonymous sex isn’t aligned with those values. Even casual sex with friends gets confusing and creates other feelings that usually don’t help what I’m going through.
As I start to work more on my cross-addiction, I’m wanting to find a different way to relate to people that meets my needs more effectively. I’m not there yet – but this time at least I stopped myself, and took some time to figure out why. And now, instead of numbing, I can take time to grieve the losses in my life — experience the feelings, the sadness, the regret, the anger. And then, as those feelings get worked through in a healthy way, they pass… And in doing so, I learn that feelings don’t have to control my behaviors.
So although I have an amends to make because of my pain, I was able to notice the behavior and stop myself…and figure out what was going on. I figured out what I was feeling on multiple levels and why. I dug through recent days to understand the event that triggered the feelings, but also the unresolved loss from my past. It was unresolved because in my active addiction and using, I never allowed myself to fully experience the grief that comes from loss…the sadness, the regret, the emptiness. And my “familiar” patterns of addiction were trying to rear their ugly heads. It’s easier for me to avoid my feelings — numb them — or lash out, act out elsewhere so as to divert my attention! But, slowly, with each day of my recovery, I’m learning a different pattern…find the pain, work through it, and move on.