Right about now, you may be thinking; I’ve wrestled with really bad feelings my whole life, and I’ve learned that they do me no good. So now I just stay really busy, and I feel just fine! Wrong. You are simply addicted to staying “really busy” . . . but how are you tolerating the quiet times??
I was prompted to blog about the subject of being addicted to staying busy (another way of not feeling) while hiking with a friend last week. This person is struggling with a lot of old demons (and some new ones) producing fear and anxiety. Her solution is to get busier; to go more meetings, work out more, keep moving, etc. Although we need to stay active and of service in Alcoholics Anonymous, the point of finding a higher power is so that we can be with ourselves comfortably; something most addicts have not been able to do since childhood. As I have said before, feelings won’t kill you, but resisting them might. As addicts and alcoholics, we want to shove any bad thought or feeling down faster than it comes up.
Busy-bodies (people who compulsively run from their feelings) may switch from drugs and alcohol to other substances or activities as a way to avoid feeling. If we want to be happy, joyous and free, we must trust that the AA program as outlined in our literature, will guide us to a place of inner peace.
Ask yourself this; am I surviving–or am I thriving? The two can’t coexist, so if you haven’t gotten beyond survival, there’s some work to be done here. Self-sabotage is inherent among addicts. The core of this issue typically starts in childhood, and it’s associated with fear of anything that’s unfamiliar and intimidating. It’s natural to want to feel safe, especially if you frequently needed to find a foxhole to hide-out in, to escape chaos, drama or conflict at home!
A goal of ‘psychotherapy’ is to help you feel better. The goal of healing work is to help you feel everything–so you can become fully functional and whole. You cannot manage this on your own (even though you’ve probably grown up assuming you had to). Real recovery means learning to trust somebody with your well-being and growth, and acquiring a rock-solid sense of Self.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, I have found people who I can trust and feel safe with. In the 4th and 5th step, I found relief from the sense of separation and loneliness I have felt my entire life. Trustworthy and honest people are beacons, and by sharing their feelings with me, I can share mine with them. I don’t have to let my negative thoughts dictate my life, and I no longer confuse a negative thought with a feeling. When I feel bad or sad, I don’t have to run from it anymore. I can find comfort and peace in my heart, where my Higher Power lives.