In the ebook, “Sitting in a Rowboat Throwing Marbles at a Battleship,” it talks about the Addiction Recovery Relationship:
A => B and B => C
- Debilitating negative emotions
- Sexually acting out
A leads to B and the B leads to C.
I started going to recovery meetings back in 2007 when I finally admitted to my wife and to myself that I had more than just a “little problem” with pornography and masturbation.
I went for about a year or maybe even two years and had some level of sobriety. I don’t know that I ever knew the difference between sobriety and recovery though.
I also don’t think I ever once heard or reflected on the A or the B in my addictive cycle. Sure, I said I was an addict to “pornography, masturbation, and lust” because, honestly, that’s what I’d heard others say and I agreed at a certain level. But I didn’t really know what it meant to be addicted to lust, nor did I ever really stop feeding that beast even though I said I was “sober.”
Even worse than the lust in the equation, I never, ever thought about the negative emotions or how those affected me.
So, let’s talk about the question:
How can I deal with negative emotions in a positive way?
What are some common negative emotions? I Googled “list of negative emotions” and found this:
Did I miss any?
For me, if I’m not even aware of the negative emotions I’m feeling – that’s a red flag. It has been helpful to have a spouse who is working her own recovery that can point out when she feels something’s off. If I react negatively to that feedback – another big red flag.
After recognizing the feeling is there, then what? Where can that negative emotion take me?
The book “What Can I Do About
Him Me?,” talks about the next step, the path between A and B in the addiction recovery relationship:
It is also important to understand addict behaviors and actions, and recovery behaviors and actions. What’s the difference? I would say that actions are a state of doing, whereas behaviors are a state of being…Addict behaviors include being dishonest, acting like a victim, being emotionally disconnected, hiding, being easily angered, minimizing, denying, blaming, and showing a lack of empathy. We don’t often attribute these behaviors to addiction, but when someone is in true recovery these behaviors disappear. So when these behaviors are still present, the addict is not in recovery.
The way I see it, it’s A (negative emotions) leads to A.1 (Addictive behaviors), which then leads to B. lust triggers and the rest is history most of the time. I’ve noticed that if I’m having a lot of negative emotions, the lust triggers seem to be much more prevalent. Satan is shooting fiery darts at me from all different angles.
What can we do, then, with these negative emotions?
Rhyll goes on to share about recovery behaviors & actions:
Recovery actions include attending 12-Step meetings, going to therapy, working the steps, and reading about recovery. Recovery behaviors include being honest, being respectful, showing kindness, and being accountable, patient and emotionally available. As we gain a better sense of addict behaviors and actions and recovery behaviors and actions, we are better able to see where we…are in our recovery journey.
When I feel the negative emotions, what’s my plan of attack, or do I even have one?
First step – SURRENDER!
What does “surrender” mean and how does it apply to dealing with negative emotions?
The first three steps in the 12-Step program are all about surrender:
- I’m powerless over my addiction and I have an unmanageable life – 100% surrender.
- A Power greater than me can restore me to sanity – relying on a higher power – surrender.
- Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to this higher power – the biggest surrender.
In S-Anon they break surrender down like this:
- On my knees
- On the phone
- In a box
On my knees is pretty straight forward: I pray to my higher power and ask Him to help me, to relieve me of the burdens of my negative emotions. Sometimes just admitting they are there to my Higher Power can be all I can do.
On the phone means I reach out to others, preferably those who know what I’m going through and have been there before: sponsor, support person, other friends in group.
In a box is all about writing. It’s about writing down my surrender on a piece of paper and putting it in a box or jar, then walking away from it. Often times, my journal is where I write out my feelings but this step of putting it on real paper may be something worth trying.
What are your thoughts on the topic?