Emotional Crying the First Two Weeks of Sobriety

Once again, I wish you each a good morning. May the day hold for you great beauty and love.

I was struck by the search term “emotional crying the first two weeks of sobriety” and will talk about the emotions that hit you in sobriety. And hit you they do, as you suddenly find yourself without the blanket, the numbing effect of alcohol. Suddenly, when you are befallen with anger, hurt, or sorrow, for example, you are doomed to feel it. And it is difficult. It hurts.

You have spent many years, perhaps, taking the edge off, taking the sting out of your emotions, and suddenly there is no veil, nothing for you to fall back upon. So feel you must, and when you’re in it, it feels endless. Maybe even hopeless. But there is one thing to keep in mind – your emotions are surfacing so that you can heal from them. 

That’s right. The past sorrow, grief, sadness, hurt, despair, hopelessness, all are being raised for you to heal from. The first step in that healing process is feeling the feelings. Just stick with it and don’t drink, no matter what. Here are some things you can do instead:

* do brief bursts of exercise. Walking briskly for 15 minutes is a good release.

* call someone and talk to them about what you are feeling. Don’t keep it bottled up. Let it out. Cry as you must.

* write, journal, with your non-dominant hand. All sorts of deep feelings will flow onto the page; continue to write, even as you cry, for it is all cathartic.

I found the writing to be especially useful, as I moved more quickly through my emotions than when I was not writing. In fact, research has shown that when the “other” side of the brain is used, the side we’re not used to using, great creativity flows forth. This was the case for me. Seventy-five percent of the verses in my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, came from my journals that I wrote with my “other” hand.

The thing about crying is that it cleanses the soul. Allow the tears to flow. Have support systems in place. Mostly, know that it DOES get better. The depth of your pain is equal to the depth of the joy you will experience. Just keep maintaining your sobriety.

If you are struggling with your feelings, please feel free to comment about where you are stuck. I will answer all comments.

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Seven Effects of Sobriety

Good morning to each of you! May your day be filled with goodness and peace inside. Today’s search term I chose is “effects of sobriety,” because it is my 12 year birthday today. Twelve years ago today began my amazingly joyful and sometimes excruciatingly painful journey into sobriety.

And regardless of what I was experiencing, I didn’t drink – no matter what. You can do that, too. Do you want a new life, better than any you’ve ever experienced? Then stick with it – no matter what.

You will find the journey more than worthwhile. You will find it very powerful, very healing, very awesome. The journey is all of these things and more.  Some days, it is negative and extremely painful as you look at past experiences. Know that the experience and pain are being brought forth for your healing. Stick with it. Don’t drink – no matter what. It WILL get better!

So, let’s look at some of the effects of sobriety. I have spoken about these before from a different viewpoint…. today I present the end effect one might experience from sobriety.

1. You will begin to feel more self-respect when you don’t wake up all hung over, drooling puking, barely able to function as a human being. Imagine… waking up refreshed, able to get out of bed and function right away. Well, maybe after coffee. lol Seriously, waking up without a hangover did a work of good for my self-respect.

2. As you move through sobriety, you will begin to feel release from old wounds, old haunts, as you heal from the inside out. In addition to help from an alcohol support group, I needed private therapy help. I recommend this if you need it, as it will speed your recovery from old wounds much more quickly.

3. Your self-esteem and self-love will grow as you continue on this journey called sobriety. You will feel good about yourself for staying sober, and your esteem will grow as a result. The healing work you do will help you learn to love yourself; you will forgive yourself, and your self-love will grow even further.

4. You will feel true caring about the people around you. With your new-found sobriety, you will really care at a deep level for those who enter or are in your daily life. Yu will see others with compassion, see them as fallible human beings, and you will be able to forgive them their transgressions.

5. The blaming and self-pity you feel will diminish as you become more accountable for yourself and your feelings.

6. You will be able to see the world with new eyes… Gratitude for all your experiences, whether positive or negative, will fill you up and it will spill out to others.

7. And finally, you will wish to be of service to others rather than stay stuck in yourself and your woes, rather than blame others and feel self-pity.  Because of that, you will feel freedom in your soul. It will soar, as will you!

The possibilities are endless if you maintain your sobriety! My hope for each of you reading this is that you do, indeed, try sobriety, and succeed at it. Speaking from experience, 12 years of it, I can honestly say that the  journey is so well worth it. At last, I found happiness and peace. May you do the same.

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How to Stay Sober During the Holidays

Today, I’d like to discuss how to stay sober during the Holidays, how to rise above the family feuds and grudges that keep the fires of bitterness and resentment stoked. Taking a look at this will require action on your part, and the rewards are simply awesome. You will feel a freedom and a lightness you have not felt in years. You will not want to drink.

Perhaps the single, most effective tool to use to get through and past family feuds and bitterness is the self-appraisal. Let’s review how to do an appraisal and you will discover the secret of how to stay sober.

First, list out your positive points, the things about yourself that you like, that others say they like. Spend some time doing this, maybe a day reflecting on nothing but your positive points. Then, pick a time period, either a week or a month, and list out all the positive behaviors and actions you took during this time that were thoughtful, kind, gentle, compassionate – you get the point, I’m sure. You are trying to ferret out all your goodness, to identify it so you can feel good about yourself. Contemplate about these things for a day, just “being” with your goodness.

After you have spent a day or so discovering and acknowledging your goodness, turn your attention to the darker side of your character, to your negative behavior. We all have such a side. Look at the ways in which you were unkind and demeaning to yourself and others. List these out so you can see them on the page. Acknowledge them. Practice being humble about them.

Now, look at the relationships with others that are problematic for you, ones about which you are resentful or harbor a grudge, ones that are causing a feud. Look at this closely. You are trying to determine if you, in fact, said or did something unkind or rude to another that led them to react in a predictable, human way. If you find situations that you instigated, that you started, rethink your anger, your bitterness and take responsibility for your bad behavior by letting go of the resentment.

This is the one, most single action that, when completed, will show you how to stay sober. You can dive deeper into the situation, also. For example, once you identify that you, in fact, started a feud, you can feel compassion for yourself, a troubled soul. You can feel compassion for the other person who responded like any other human who was treated poorly.

This exercise is the precursor to forgiveness and once you discover forgiveness, you will discover freedom of heart and mind. You will especially wish to right your wrongs during this Holiday season. This means being humble, admitting your fault, and apologizing to the other person for any grief you have caused them.

In a situation where you did not start the ball of hate and anger rolling – the other person did, then look at the other person as a wounded soul, someone who is sick emotionally. Extend compassion to this wounded person, just like you would for anyone who is ill. Really feel a softness in your heart, and let it guide you to forgiveness. It is from that place of forgiveness that you will find great peace. Even though there are situations in which you had no negative behavior, there are many that involve your self-righteousness, when you, in fact, started the ball rolling. That’s what we were talking about in the preceding paragraphs.

And now you know how to stay sober, merely by being responsible for your own behavior, by taking ownership for it.

Do you have some advice on how to stay sober during the Holidays? Leave a comment and let us know.

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How to Stay Sober in the Wake of the Connecticut Shootings

Good afternoon. It is with a weeping heart that I write today, as I am writing to express my deepest condolences to the parents and families who lost children and loved ones yesterday. I am writing to help any of you survivors of those killed by writing about how to stay sober in the face of the acute and deep grief you are experiencing.

I do not have children, yet, I have a cat who is my child and I cannot imagine the grief I would feel if she were shot or lost in some other senseless, and devastating way. So, I can say that the loss of a child must be one hundred times more painful than the loss of my own “child,” my pet. I would want to drink to dull the tremendous heartache and grief.

This may be the case of any sober person related to someone who died yesterday. You are in such pain that the thought of drowning that sorrow in a drink or several must be tempting… oh, so tempting. Yet, with the help of your Higher Power, friends, family, and other sober people, you can get through this without a drink.

Try to separate yourself from your sorrow for a brief moment to consider where that drink will lead you… to total emotional meltdown, to possible DUI, jail, or other institutions. You could lose everything. And you don’t need that right now. It’s important to  stay present for your family, for yourself. So think the drink through.

Prayer and seeking comfort from others are so needed right now. Try not to isolate yourself; rather, talk to someone about your feelings, or go to a meeting of your support group and share about your feelings of grief. Allow your sadness, your sorrow, to surface and to be known to others. Even as I recommend not to isolate, it is important to allow yourself alone time to grieve, but don’t do it with a drink.

In the wake of this tragedy, these are a few thoughts about how to stay sober. These words seem so trite and lacking, and yet, they are the only ones I can muster at this time.

To those of you who are reading this, please join me in sending prayers and thoughts to the families of the victims, and the children who experienced this tragedy. Thank you.

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More About Creating Peace-of-Mind

Hello again. I have begun to pay more attention to the search terms used to find me, and I see that yesterday, three were used that I’d like to address.

The first is “what to do when you’re in despair.” Actually, to the one that wrote this, I invite you to hang out on this blog for the next several days, and you will read about how I went from great and debilitating despair to an eventual experience of peace-of-mind.

The second is “emotional pain is necessary for emotional growth.” There is some truth in this. Often, we do not look at ourselves or have the desire to grow until we are faced with such emotional pain that it forces us to look, to consider new things that lead us to want to tackle change that we know is coming as a result of our struggle and search. In a way, you can welcome emotional pain because you can be assured you will grow and improve as a result of it.

Finally, “sober through effort and perseverance” was the third term that caught my attention, because I am all about effort and perseverance in relation to drinking and getting sober. Effort is taking action, contemplating, making the decision to make changes in your life, to stay sober while doing it, and taking action.

As far as perseverance, we must return again and again and again to the healing ground, that place of freedom and peace-of-mind that we are trying to locate. So, we return again and again to our sobriety, our trying over and over each day to stay sober. It’s not easy sometimes while we’re healing, and I applaud your efforts in this area!

From yesterday, I asked you to identify your wounds and the feeling associated with each wound. Take that list and look at it, one emotion or feeling at a time, applying the following actions to each.

First, acknowledge that the feeling is there, that you are feeling it. Just say hello to it. Often, just by acknowledging a feeling, it begins to go away, or to ease in intensity. So go ahead. Spend some time acknowledging one emotion.

Then, feel it. I mean, really allow yourself to feel it. I not only invite you, but I also urge you, to do this without numbing yourself with substances, as that will block the process and you won’t get the results that you could get if you are sober or clean and clear-headed.

Feeling the pain, the wound and the associated feeling, is difficult, and, yet, necessary in the process. Sit with it, with the feeling, and it will eventually pass. Respect that the feeling is trying to tell you something. If your feeling is anger, look beyond the anger and try to find the hurt or whatever lies behind the anger.

Maybe your pride was hurt, in which case, you need to fetch yourself up and realize your ego was bruised. You can become humble about having your ego bruised and realize that, perhaps, what was said about you was/is true, and now you have a chance to improve upon yourself as a person. See how that works? It is possible to transform that feeling of anger just by looking at what is behind it and by looking with new eyes.

Certainly, there are other emotions you are experiencing other than anger, but this is a common one, and I wanted to address another way to look at it. We will be addressing it further down the road.

Now that you have felt and respected your emotion, go one step further and realize you are not weak for feeling what you feel. For example, if you feel fear, that is a human reaction that comes from the part of our brain that works automatically to keep us safe. So fear pops up for us to determine if we need to go into fight, flight, or freeze mode.

But fear can become destructive to you. Fear that you are not good enough, or that you will be looked at as weak or stupid, is destructive to your soul and you want to ferret those out, recognize them, so they can dissipate when light is shined upon them.

After applying awareness and respect to your wounds, you will feel some relief from them, just by having admitted they are there. Now you can go on to the next part of the process, which is looking in more depth at your fears. I do this because fear often rules us and the reactions we have, the words we say, or the actions we take.

Return tomorrow and I’ll talk about fear and how to deal with that emotion. Tell a buddy who is struggling about this blog, so s/he can get the benefits from the process I am guiding you through. See you tomorrow where we will further the journey to peace-of-mind!

 

 

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The Freedom of Choice in Sobriety – 2

Let’s continue with yesterday’s post. I was talking about how powerful it was to realize my pain had been useful to another. In fact, it was so powerful, that I gained the understanding at a deep level that my purpose in life was to take the experiences that led to my misery and help others to get past theirs, simply in the telling of my story and the healing work I was doing. That realization is what continues to fuel me 3 years later.

What happened that day when I realized my true calling in life? Well, I made the choice, although unconscious, to look at my misery from a different angle. I chose to see that misery and my struggles because of it as learning experiences for me, in order to prepare me to be useful to others. I chose that path, and I continue to choose it.

How do you get past your struggles, your anger, bitterness, and misery? You, too, can choose to see those events with new eyes, as learning experiences so you can then reach out and help another, and another… and yet another… Unlike me, you can choose to do it consciously. Tell you what, it’s freeing. You get released from the misery, the struggle… the bitterness and anger.

For example, are you a Vietnam Veteran, struggling with resentment about how you were treated when you returned home? Drinking over it, perhaps? You may think that I’m going to tell you to get over it. I don’t believe in that philosophy. Instead, I say choose something different.

Identify the feelings that series of events evoked in you, and use that knowledge to help a vet now returning from war. Make sure that what happened to you is not repeated in current day. It is my hope that you will find, as you help others, your resentment will lessen.

It’s all about what we choose to focus on… in our sobriety, we are able to choose to believe in better things, different things. We are able, in sobriety, to seek out a positive outlook, to consider the benefits of our experiences and how we can be of service. It is freeing to have choice.

It leads the way to more peace-of-mind.

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The Freedom of Choice in Sobriety – 1

The day dawns bright and sunny in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ah, another warm day. Another good day in sobriety. I say that because I know it will be true. It will be true because I choose to make it so. You see, it’s all about choice for me.

This is a new thing for me, the practice of choice. I didn’t learn it until about 5-6 years into sobriety, 4-5 years ago. Until that point, I felt I had no choice but to be miserable. After all, I was angry and bitter at my parents for the way I was raised and I was justified. Right?

Yes, I was victimized and yes, I had negative feelings about myself and others because of it that I needed to look at and feel. However, in sobriety, I learned that in my misery, especially in my misery, I had a choice and the ability to look at my experiences with different eyes. I became able to look at bad experiences from a 180 degree view point.

How did THAT happen??? Well, I became more healed from my childhood issues and, at the same time, discovered that I could decide how I wanted to spend my time… in misery or in happiness. Seems like a no-brainer, but for me, a woman who stayed angry and bitter for 50-some years about stuff that happened almost that long ago, it was not evident. It was not on my radar.

Oh, I went to meetings to deal with my sobriety, and I heard people share about the choices they had in their lives. I used to get pissed when I heard that. That was all well and good for them, but it wouldn’t work for me. I was DAMAGED, don’t you know? I had justification for my anger, my bitterness, my indignation.

The thing is, I say with great gentleness, that I was graced with the ability to look at my wounds in a different light. Since I had been getting help professionally, I had slowly healed. One day, I spoke to another alcoholic who was in misery from his childhood, and I was able to relay what I’d learned so far about healing.

After I did, he was so grateful, he almost cried. I realized that my experiences growing up had been of use to another, because he was able to relate to my pain, and the healing words I spoke resonated with him. I realized my misery was useful to another. That was very powerful.

The story continues, but it makes for a really long post, so I will continue this tomorrow. Come back to find out how I dealt with this realization.

 

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