Through the course of recovery from alcoholism we learn mindfulness and healthy expression because we understand that everything is connected. In sobriety, proper self-care results from managing our responsibilities and practicing the steps of the program. My first sponsor used to say “We can go back to step one at any time. No matter how well you’re doing, things will happen that rock your world and you’ll be completely powerless over them.” I’ve come to have a strong appreciation for how right she was. The things that tend to impact me the hardest are the things I couldn’t possibly have anticipated, much less controlled. The most difficult of these has been the unexpected death of a loved one.
These are the times when it seems the world should simply stop turning. In the midst of our shock and loss we temporarily regress. Our functioning is diminished. In very short order, however, we must resume vigilance because as we well know; what we refuse to deal with will deal with us.
We have a long history of avoiding feelings in our past and cannot afford to resume our old ways. Avoidance and repression of emotion are fodder not only for our disease; they are also the fuel that feeds our depression and anxiety. Left unattended, they are major contributors to relapse. Today, I can spot and admit to another alcoholic anything that is troubling ne, especially grief and loss. With the 12 steps, an amazing Higher Power and the support of the fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous, I feel my sadness and walk through it. It is not fun to walk through what feels like hell. I have learned not to stop and pitch a tent in, just keep going forward, one step at a time.