I'm Karen F. and I'm powerless over my emotions.
I had a sponsor at one point who referred to the process of recovery as an upward spiral. On our journey upwards we revisited the same issue, but on a higher level each time. But as we come to the curves, we also risk a relapse--the same point that offers an opportunity for growth can become a reason to slide backwards.
I have found her wisdom to be true. Some person, place, or thing can be an obstacle for me or an opportunity.
How I feel going through this may be the same. I can experience fear and anxiety, and refuse to move forwards. Or I can experience the same emotions, but choose to move forward and feel the feelings while asking for help from my Higher Power and others in recovery--my choice.
If I focus on not feeling my emotions, I'll stagnate. And since I've been taught that there is no standing still in recovery, I will slide backwards.
I am discovering how much I don't like being uncomfortable. Since all growth requires going through an uncomfortable space, I have to be willing to be out of my comfort zone in order to recover.
To which I immediately was moved to reply:
Oh my gosh, Karen, this put my relapse last November into perspective.
The curve I hit last November was the final spin up to the top.
I had just asked my psychiatrist if he would write an article with me about my successful recovery. He said no, I was not a scientist and I should write something literary. I tried to put a positive spin on his feedback and look for the good. But there was still residual shame in my gas tank and I had come too close to empty I guess. That disappointment and shame response coupled with a significant family anniversary coming up.... the death of my closest cousin. She died on Thanksgiving of 2001, and for our family this was so closely tied to 9/11... My cousin was an angel.. and she had come back to New York state to share her new family with her parents. And she had been taken away, in her sleep.
I also had a dear friend with suicidal depression who was coming to visit us Thanksgiving weekend, and felt the pressure to be a solid ground for her to stand on.
Even my therapist thought I was normal by this point. But I simply lost my footing.
Because of the way I handled these coincidences, and tried too hard to be a rock and not bend, I hit one of those emotional sinkholes. I don't blame myself. As I was trying to move into complete remission, life had its other "plans" for me.
It is, as another program friend says, "Tuition in the school of life."
Now we--psychiatrist, therapist and I-- know that I have this wonderful, rare sensitivity. One night of no sleep at a trigger point, and I lose my usual reference points and can't "make" the curve. Yet, once I am back on track, I can again, make the curves of my life relying on my good cognition (which is only compromised when I am unable to sleep.)
So, thank you for this share. You gave me good insight for the next time I come round the bend. Talking with others like myself, I see that I have many choices. This year I can be more aware and not fight so hard when I am coming up to a meaningful anniversary. That bend in a staircase I have traveled before. But I can sit down and drive more consciously, and less in the thrall of the fear that bites me.
I don't have to prove I am stonger than I am. And giving up the need to prove means I am more likely to take the curve slow and easy...