We can all relate to the far too often roller coaster ride when it comes to relationships. Live long enough and you’ll experience some sort of pain and confusion stemming from a friendship or intimate relationship.
At one end of the spectrum, you’ve got the happy, exuberant feelings and the opposite end you’re feeling abandoned, pissed off, and hopeless. Throw in those in early recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction and it can be quite daunting to say the least.
Will your relationship get better?
For those of you trying to stay on the sober path, do you think that once you put that drink or drug down your relationship will get better? Or do you think it will become a drag and you won’t be able to put up with your partner?
What you think is going to matter. If you believe that your relationship will be boring without booze or the high, it very well could be. If you want any sense of peace and contentment in your life, you’re going to have to change that belief. Yes, you are in charge of your thoughts and ultimately, your level of happiness, so take charge and begin thinking of recovery as enhancing your life- relationship and all.
Busting out of negative thought patterns
Relationships can be challenging at times. If you’re like most people, you’ve brought some baggage to your current relationship, as well as some negative thought patterns. Take some time to gauge your thought life. Do you feel happy or sad more often? Angry or peaceful? If you’re feeling lousy, your thought patterns need some adjusting. If you’re angry at your partner, friends, family, boss, and even the dog, chances are you’re pretty angry at yourself too.
We tend to project our feelings onto others. Happens all the time. When I went through a period of time where I was really struggling with insecurity and low self-worth, that little green monster jealousy was very active in a relationship. I didn’t make the connection at the time, but now I can, so if I start to feel jealousy arise, I don’t just point my finger and accuse my partner, I stop and take a look inside. Am I feeling insecure? Is Little Dominica afraid of being abandoned?
Pointing fingers rarely does any good.
Take full responsibility for your emotions
In order to make progress on your journey, you’re going to have to start taking full responsibility for your thoughts and emotions. How do you do that?
We’ve got to do some soul searching when those negative feelings arise in us, so we can get to the root of them and begin the healing process.
Let’s say you find yourself angry a lot. You’re angry at work. You’re angry at home. You yell at your kids a lot and scowl at your spouse. When you find yourself dealing with certain emotions repeatedly, take these tips into consideration:
- Give your emotion a name: Anger
- Sit with that emotion. Feel it all over your body.
- Remain quiet and think back to the last time you felt this emotion. Then, keep thinking back. Can you think of a memory of feeling this emotion when you were a child? If so, what was happening?
- If you can remember, can you determine what you were thinking about yourself at that time or telling yourself? (I’m nothing but a screw up, Mom doesn’t like me, I’m a bad person, etc.)
- Say or write those assumptions down.
- Now, imagine your adult self sitting next to your child self. Give your child self a hug and speak to him/her. Tell him that he is lovable. He is amazing. Tell him whatever nice things come to your mind. Tell him that whatever happened is over and he doesn’t have to feel that negative emotion anymore.
- Then, take several deep breaths and speak kind and loving words to yourself out loud. Affirm your adult self just like you did the child.
See, by going through this process, you’re essentially re-living those negative emotions, integrating them, and allowing healing to occur. When you can remember to do this when you notice repetitive negative emotions popping up, you’ll spend less time projecting onto others and more time feeling happy and peaceful.
Recovery takes work
Whether you’re in recovery or not, old wounds may be beckoning you to deal with them. Putting down the booze or drugs is just your first step toward healing and freedom. Emotional healing and growth is your next step and it takes time and effort. If you find yourself struggling, reach out for help via a counselor, support group, energy therapist, etc.
Empowering yourself feels good. When you can hold your head high, take responsibility for your emotions and your own recovery, your relationship with you and others will certainly benefit.
Now, take some time to think about what emotions you are contending with on a regular basis and take it from there.