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Rollercoaster of Recovery – This is the second part of a three-part series about how to manage your emotions in recovery.
Previously, we talked about how managing emotions is THE most difficult thing in recovery. We also mentioned that if you accept that your feelings will have you on an emotional rollercoaster ride, you can gain some acceptance about the situation. This makes emotional regulation easier. Let’s talk more about feelings.
Another one of the ways to deal with the painful reality of raw emotions is to remember that feelings aren’t facts. Just because you feel a certain way doesn’t make it so. They are just feelings. They are temporary states of being and they pass – usually rather quickly.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of every day situations that demonstrate the idea that feelings aren’t facts.
You are driving down the road. Someone cuts you off and forces you to slam on your brakes. You immediately feel enraged and want to get revenge. You feel that the guy who cut you off is a totally inconsiderate jerk and you are angry.
What you may not know is that his wife is in the car and she is about to have a baby. This is his first child and he is a nervous wreck. All the poor guy can think about is getting his wife to the hospital so she can deliver her child in the safety and comfort of a medical facility. If you had this information, your anger would immediately turn into empathy. You would give the guy a pass and wish him well. See how quickly your feelings changed? Why? Because they weren’t facts.
Here’s another example.
You’ve heard that there are going to be some lay-offs in the company where you work. Management has told you there are also going to be some changes in personnel. You start to notice that people in the upper echelons of the company are looking at you a lot and they seem to be whispering when you walk by. You immediately feel anxious and start to worry about your job. You convince yourself you are about to be laid off.
At the end of the day, your boss calls you into his office. As you begin to walk down the hall, you feel so nervous, you’re convinced you might pass out at any moment. You begin to think about all the bills you have to pay – your rent, your car note, and you wonder how you are going to put food on the table. You become nauseous and start sweating. When you sit down, your anxiety is through the roof.
Surprise! Your boss tells you are getting a promotion and a twenty percent increase in salary. Immediately, you feel a sense of calm wash over you. Imagine that! What started out as extreme panic immediately turns into relief…. and then – instantly – an overwhelming sense of joy!
Feelings. They’re not facts. The Emotional Rollercoaster of Recovery.
Be sure to check out Feelings Aren’t Facts – How To Ride The Emotional Rollercoaster of Recovery: Part 3
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