We alcoholics/addicts drink/use for one reason and one reason only: an inability or lack of willingness to deal with our feelings. Behind every drink/drug we take there is some feeling that we are avoiding, driving us to look for some form of release or escape. That's way, when I sponsor people, I'm extremely reluctant to make any kind of mention of the word "disease." It gives the false impression of an outside malevolent force trying to work its way into our lives and thus often leads to exaggerated feelings of anxiety, paranoia, and helplessness, none of which of course are very beneficial to our recovery. The key, then, to developing a solid and lasting foundation for sobriety is making a steadfast commitment to deal with all of our feelings all day every day, regardless of how unpleasant or difficult those feelings may be. For most of us, this takes a tremendous amount of work, for most of us have grown up in homes where feelings were never discussed and where we were often shamed for having feelings. The more you practice learning how to identify and deal with feelings the easier it becomes to (a) identify them and (b) sit with them w/o self-destructing. Accomplish this most critical of all recovery skills and you've made a huge step forward towards "happy, joyous, and free."
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