This morning as I was attending a church leadership meeting I found out some incredibly sad news about a family in our church. It just broke my heart. In fact, it’s fair to say I literally wept as we talked about the situation. There wasn’t a dry set of eyes in that room by the time we were done. It shook me to my core and I was incredibly sad. I haven’t felt that deep of a sadness in I can’t remember how long. As I was driving home I realized that one of the reasons I couldn’t remember the last time I felt that sad was because I’ve never really allowed myself to feel that way. Sadness is WAY too strong of an emotion for me to have allowed in my past. As an addict I would have done one of two things. I would have either bottled it up (effectively saving it for later) or I would have numbed it out by acting out with my addiction. And as far as bottling it up to “address” for later — that just means postponing when I would have acted out to numb not only that feeling but all of the other ones I had bottled up.
The difference was profound. I never once found myself wanting to hide the emotion or to pass it quickly. In fact, it’s now almost 14 hours later and I still feel some of that sadness inside of me. And I’m okay with that. I don’t mind it. I don’t feel agitated by it. I don’t want it to just “go away”. Instead, I feel like feeling the sadness is the right thing for me to do. It honors what my friends are going through as a family. It puts me in connection with God. I’ve done a lot of praying today. I’ve talked with my wife and children about it. Sure I want to just “fix things” but I realize that it’s not for me to fix, only God can. And so I’m trusting Him with it. I’ve let Him know that if there’s anything I can do to help He only needs to let me know and I’ll be there. But for, now I get the impression that He wants me to continue to focus on the people already in my life. My wife. My children. My friends. My sponsees. You 🙂
What should this mean for you? I’ve thought about that a bit. Several things come to mind. It’s okay to feel deep, hard, difficult emotions. As you are beginning to find sobriety and recovery those emotions will probably cause triggers and you’ll need to contact a sponsor, friend, spouse, etc. But, as you work through them, as you turn them over to God, eventually, gradually, you will become able to handle them without a trigger event. I still spoke with my wife about it. I still went to God about it (multiple times), but not in a panic. Not because I wanted it “taken away” but because I had true compassion, I “felt” love and concern for my friends whom I love. It wasn’t about me. It was about them.
And that has made all of the difference 🙂 May God guide your way. May you continue to heal and find your path to recovery. May you learn to experience the deep, difficult emotions with peace and serenity. These gifts can be yours with help from our loving Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. This I know to be true because I have experienced it myself.
My name is Mike