Excerpt from Emotions Anonymous

on Thursday, 12 March 2015. Posted in The Steps

(A few words may have been changed to adapt this excerpt for the S2L community)

Some of us do not have clear-cut behavioral or psychological problems, but we are living in a way that does not produce much happiness. Some of us try to rationalize our feelings away. We also may try various ways to escape from our feelings. Some escapes are pills, alcohol, food, unhealthy sexual activity, gambling, shopping, or work. Even talking, silence, sleep, reading, exercise, travel, or going to school may become an escape when used to excess. We may be a television or movie addict who lets the rest of the world go by. Anything used to excess can [be a symptom of our need to “escape”,] interfere with having a balanced life and prevent us from facing and dealing with our pain.

When our particular escape does not work, we look elsewhere for the help we so desperately need. In turning to the Twelve Steps as a possible answer, we are admitting we have hit our bottom. This is different for each person. For some it simply means life is uncomfortable and we are looking for a way to be happy. Some of us reach the depths of despair and may need treatment by a mental health professional, medication, or hospitalization. But one thing we all have in common is that this bottom is where we decide we want to do something today to change our life. We are sick and tired of our old ways; we are tired of being the way we are. We realize our life will remain unmanageable if we do not change.

Admitting we cannot manage our lives is not easy. It is not easy to admit our self-centeredness, self-pity, and resentments. It is difficult to stop blaming others for the way we are and the way we behave. We say, "If our spouse were different," or "If it weren't for our children, our parents, our in-laws, our boss, our job, our neighbors, our house, our car, the climate - anything or anybody -  we wouldn't be like this."

Through Step One we begin to learn that we can make conscious choices in response to our thinking and emotions rather than just reacting and having our emotions and habits manage us. We begin to take responsibility for our lives, regardless of who or what may have influenced us in the past.

This first step is one of honesty and humility. Admitting our human limitations frees us from hiding our imperfections from ourselves and others, thus allowing us to face the reality of our situation. At first, Step One may seem a step of despair, but we learn there is hope. We find we are not alone; there is help. In Step Two we find the strength to restore our health as we begin to rely on spiritual guidance, and our hope grows.

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