As A Recovering Alcoholic I Can’t Ignore My Emotions

This morning I got up and went to my 12 Step Program meeting. This hasn’t been happening enough lately, as a recovering alcoholic believe me when I say that my thinking can quickly go to the negative if I don’t keep in touch with my emotions and use the “tools” I’ve learned.

So there I was sitting in a meeting I didn’t really want to go to, it is Father’s Day after all and I had things to do! Well as usual it didn’t take God long to guide the meeting exactly where it would hurt me most. Right to the place I’d been ignoring for too long. Through the sharing of others in the room I realized that I’d been ignoring my emotions and running in auto-pilot for a while.

Ignoring Emotions Doesn’t Work

As a person recovering from alcoholism I can’t afford to allow myself to meander through life ignoring my emotions. This become complacency and could easily allow my confidence to build to the point of “just one drink”. It’s a fast, slippery slope which many folks have told me about and I just don’t need to take that path.

Today I was reminded that my thoughts control my emotions, that I must be in touch with my inner dialogue to ensure I am experiencing life the way God wants me to.

Having an expectation of joy, training your thoughts to be of gratitude somehow allows us to see the beauty around us amidst the chaos. Life isn’t what I’d like it to be, left to me I’d be living in a glorious home where nothing goes wrong, my friends are all within 500 feet and my gardens would grow magically.

Thankfully this fallible human is not the master archietect and the world simply isn’t this way. Imagine having the “perfect” world….there is no such thing. Reality is what is is. There is sadness, depression, pain, let-downs and we unfortunately have to exist within it all.

We can choose to alter our perspective.

We can choose to see the positive in our lives, of course I’m not belittling the challenges we all face in our lifetimes. How could I? When a person is losing their home due to financial troubles, when a person is grieving the loss of a loved one, when life just simply isn’t going well at all how can I suggest that “Looking on the bright side” would help?

In case this is your first time on my blog, I’m no stranger to fear or anxiety; I live each day battling the negative train of thought which is ingrained upon my character. I have some kind of natural reaction to difficult situations, to put it bluntly I don’t want to face any challenges and dammit I think I’ve earned that right.

Except I haven’t earned anything.

None of us have. Each of us fall victim to death, disease, disapointment, loss……we all have felt the sting of these in our lives, some more than others. I’ve learned to alter my thoughts, to ignore my instant reaction and focus on the positive in front of me to distract myself from slipping in to fear, worry and live with an attitude of gratefulness.

As a child I read a lot, I devoured any book you put in front of me. Somehow I ended up with a book in my hands which I can’t actually imagine myself having chosen. I must have been about 13 years old, already very involved in Track & Field and just beginning to hit that difficult “who am I” spot.

The book was a biography of Jesse Owens life. Jesse Owens is primarily known as the man who paved the way for African American athletes by winning 4 Gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. That’s not who Jesse Owens is for me. To me he’s the boy raised as a share croppers son and the grandson of slaves. He is the boy who lived in squalor, a boy whose childhood was littered with illnesses, the lad who had a tumour cut from his body by his mother because they were too poor to go go hospital….Jesse Owens was a boy who never gave up hope.

“The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself—the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us—that’s where it’s at.” – Jesse Owens

There in my childhood with this book in my little hands I learned a lesson, one that I return to often. I learned that there is always hope, even when i can’t feel it. At times in my life I’ve managed to forget this; well to ignore this would be more accurate.

In the dark times I’ve become wrapped up in the happenings rather than the possibilities.



Today I am not sure why I’m penning this except that I’m hoping to reach someone who is in need. I hope that you who needs this will see it. If all you can be thankful for today is that you have a pair of shoes on your feet that fit, please know I’ve been there and have passed through that valley to a place of hope by focusing upon that attitude of gratitude.

That is all.


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5 Responses

  1. Hi Julie!

    Thanks for this today. In an answer to your question, I DID need this today. I just haven’t been feeling Joy and gratitude lately, not for any other reason than maybe the auto-pilot you spoke of. Keep on bloggin old friend! We are reading! xo

  2. Thanks Julie. It’s so easy just to continue plodding along, still carrying the baggage that we attempted to drown with alcohol. It hurts to feel emotions that you’ve supressed for a long time but none of us will move forward if we don’t.

  3. Thank you Julie for this post, my Dad is a 35 year recovering alcoholic. I remember his drinking days like they were yesterday. I don’t hold anything against him because I know it’s a disease and I am so proud of him. He still attends meetings once a week minimum and has been a sponser also. Jesse Owen was most certainly an inspiration to us all.

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