Did anger ever used to sneak up and overtake you? Does it still sometimes? Learning to feel the full range of emotions means also learning what to do with them once felt… Fear, rage, and shame. These were the dominant emotions in my home growing up. Healthy modeling of how to express anger I do not recall. Anger was at times downplayed or denied; other times fire-breathing and frightening. So I am still fine tuning my anger-expressing skills. Actually even identifying and feeling anger. For me the learning experience is (a) how not to repress it– and (b) then what?
The goal of recovery isn’t simply “clean and sober” living—although that’s a very important component—but also creating a stable, strong foundation on which to rebuild your life. It takes most people between two and six months—66 days is average—to form a new habit. Fortunately most experts agree that creating new, healthy habits isn’t an “all or nothing” proposition. If you’re in recovery and seeking to adopt and incorporate healthy habits to help you maintain your sobriety, we’ve got some great ideas for you.
I am reveling in the month that marks my eighth year of Recovery. All the clichés people state when they take a chip or cake, like “I can’t believe it. I couldn’t have gone eight hours back in the day…” All true for me. However trite it sounds, it’s in the simplicity of the words we say, backed by the depth of the principles we “practice practicing” in all our affairs that make the difference from being a victim of our challenges to living victoriously, authentically, and happily – ever after!
Our guest post this week is curated from the blog at Nerdy Sober Hipsters. Author David begins, “The world is full of sober people, doing amazing things! Today our spotlight is on Phil Cho, a Korean-American urban and landscape photographer based in LA/Orange County. His work focuses on capturing the stark grandeur of skyscrapers, man-made backdrops, and ocean views. In our interview, we get to chat with Phil about life, art, sobriety, and the feeling he gets from climbing to the top of a skyscraper.”
Anonymity. Quite the topic… I honor other people’s anonymity and guard it with my heart. I have made the conscious choice not be anonymous much of the time. I don’t consider my anonymity as sacred. My sobriety however, is. Recovery is my sacred focus. If someone doesn’t like the label of “alcoholic” and thinks less of me for being it, or for claiming it, it’s pretty much on them in my opinion. That is a bold statement from a reforming people pleaser like me.
People who carve out time in their day to honor themselves will experience many benefits. Some individuals will feel a lowered level of anxiety. Honoring oneself can help to boost your self-esteem and self-confidence. It can help you be a better friend, in that it will increase your level of compassion and empathy. It can even help raise your immune system… If you honor yourself, and love yourself first, all of these fantastic benefits can follow.
My alcoholism took root in the 70s, even though I thought I was having the time of my life. My memory is spotty, though it’s returning more and more as I develop the capacity to view it from a distance––all part of the mosaic portrait I am learning to accept with compassion and even love. Something I do remember from the 70s is the iconic songbook of Paul Williams. Songs people of my generation can probably sing word for word, even if we haven’t sung them in years. Rainy Days & Mondays; Just An Old Fashioned Love Song; We’ve Only Just Begun… and the list goes on and on.
Never having been taught does not relieve our responsibility to learn effective communication skills. Good relationships are built on equality, and that’s built on clear, complete communication. There are no mind readers in healthy systems, whether family, with friends, in the rooms of recovery, or in business. Just as we need to know what is expected of us in order to fulfill others’ expectations (or not), they need to understand ours clearly and completely.