While most of my girlfriends spend their Saturdays at the nail salon or mall, I am posted up in front of my television watching as many college football games as possible. An epiphany struck yesterday as I was watching Alabama’s running back, Trent Richardson, stiff arm one of the Tennessee defenders: not only did I attempt to stiff arm life through the use of drugs, but the impulse exists still today.
This week I attended a funeral for a dear friend who died from a fatal relapse. Sitting in the sanctuary listening to the homily, tears streaming down my cheeks, I wanted to somehow manage the pain. Instead, I was fully present. I felt a profound ache deep in my heart. I was completely taken aback by the sorrow and sadness.
I have lived my life avoiding… stuffing… pushing away emotions. I have learned, albeit slowly, in sobriety that I can walk through even the most horrendous situations intact as long as I stay connected to God.
It is common for people in early sobriety to be unfamiliar with emotional swings or emotions of any kind. We are used to going through life in a haze, indifferent to the world around us. “Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol.” Part of this effect is the effect of numbness. Without our emotional safety net of drugs and alcohol, we feel raw, exposed. Through a power greater than ourselves, we can navigate this emotional puberty.
Complete vulnerability is fairly uncharted territory for me. Sobriety has taught me how to feel appropriate emotions at appropriate times. I was completely devastated by my friend’s death. However, I was able to reflect upon his life, my life, and our journeys. I will continue on my path of spirituality and to do God’s will even amidst tragedy and overwhelming internal emotions.
The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain. -Lord Byron