Emotions

I don’t know about anyone else but I always subscribed to the view that alcohol reduced inhibitions and “allowed” me to express emotions / feelings that I otherwise kept suppressed. As I am a bit of a master at suppressing emotions and avoiding conflict, it’s perhaps not surprising that after a few drinks a torrent of rage and frustration would, at times, burst out of me.

There have been many, many such occasions over the years. Many evenings that ended in tearful recriminations, many stand up arguments, many outbursts triggered by innocuous comments that spiralled into full-blown raging conniptions. Afterwards, the next morning, I would piece together who said what, what I remembered, and cringe a bit. Underneath though, I always believed that I had some justification for screaming and yelling – letting my feelings out – MAKING someone understand how I felt. Whilst I understood and accepted that alcohol had a part to play in the genesis of these episodes, I always firmly believed that the alcohol didn’t manufacture the feelings – these were there already – alcohol just lowered my inhibitions and allowed me to say what I thought. And thats a good thing, right ?

Wrong.

I’m still early on in this journey, and this is part of a half formed thought process, so I’m not 100% sure about this, but despite my ongoing (though less frequent) mood swings, there seems to be less RAGE in my soul.

There are several things in my personal life that make me very unhappy. They did result in pretty regular outbursts whilst under the influence. Mr Lily has taken quite a few verbal batterings over the years. Did anything change ? No. Did I feel better having let it all out? . Not really. Did I learn ? No. The next time, or the time after that, the same argument would ensue, again with no resolution. All that has been left by that enormours emotional carnage are scars and fear and damaged trust.

What role alcohol? Its certainly true that sobriety has not erased the problems. It hasnt changed the things I think or the position I take. It hasnt made the hurt of certain circunstances less intense, or provided me with an acceptance of things I really struggle to accept. I’ve not morphed into some complient doormat who has no problems. BUT, it seems to me now that just maybe, being sober has firmed me up a bit, in a non confrontational, calm, solid kind of way.

To explain. I spent a LONG time ANGRY about certain things, really deep down angry and hurt, but I felt unable to express those feelings when sober. So they all burst out, exploded out when I was drunk, Nothing changed. Now, sober, I dont feel any happier about those things but I am beginning to accept that I CANNOT CHANGE THEM. And in that acceptance, comes the next thought that what I CAN do is either;

  • state what I want, calmly and clearly, why I believe its right; Ask for others to change, and make a plan for what I will do if things remain the same
  • accept that life isn’t perfect and that I have no more right to what I want than anyone else.

That saying – known in AA as the serenity prayer, feels very apt.

grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

It looks so simple. But it isnt.

I am less sure about how aspects of my life will pan out now, but what I do believe, is that I will be taking responsibility for my own emotional wellbeing. That I am, or will be, strong enough to do that – and that after years of being too befuddled to accept that personal responsibility, I can now see it in front of me. I’m not there yet, but I’m closer.

 

 


7 comments

  1. Hi Lily!
    I am way less angry now that I am sober.
    I am also learning how to state what I need calmly.
    I am less resentful.
    When I drank, the arguments with Mr. UT, were lashing out, unfair, and not always true.
    If it was a real issue, I wasn’t addressing it as an adult.
    It’s really fun to be calmer!!
    xoxo
    Wendy

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  2. I used to think the same thing. I no longer have anger and rage inside of me. Looking back, I realize alcohol didn’t allow me to express my feelings better, it just forced me to live in my hurtful past. It kept me from being brave and moving forward. Because, for me, living in the pain was safer than trusting happiness. Nothing can hurt you when you’re already in pain….

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  3. It’s easier in a way to deal with the emotions without alcohol in the equation. Not saying it’s less painful-but it’s easier to make actual, rational progress. It can be scary-but so much better than being in the wheel of alcohol induced rage, then remembrance then apologies, then repeat. I’m also much less angry and resentful now. And Thank God! I don’t have to wake up in the morning trying to piece together what may or may not have happened the night before!

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  4. I think alcohol does manufacture emotions to an extent. That was thought provoking to read. I always thought I was letting out my true emotions, albeit inappropriately, after drinking too much. Then I told myself I really felt that way. At over 14 weeks, I can now say I’m not sure I really always felt what alcohol made me express. I thought I was so dissatisfied but I think it was the alcohol.

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  5. I found a really helpful perspective from both Viktor Frankl and buddhism, that when we have no power to change the things outside us we always have the power to change how we respond to them. It’s not always immediately obvious how or easy to do but I find it often helps me to think back to this. I hope you’re having a lovely calm time at the moment. Take care, be well x

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