Freeing Ourselves From Not Accepting Feelings
In recovery, we are taught how to free ourselves from our past limitations and from the past wrongs we have done. We make a full inventory of our conduct and identify our character defects. We make a list of the people we have harmed in order to make amends to them. This is all about dealing with our past behaviours and becoming aware of. Working on the more negative aspects of our character on an ongoing basis. Sometimes though, we are lucky enough to identify deep rooted aspects of our upbringing which are limiting our ability to live a full and happy life and which we also might be passing on to our children.
I Was Now Prepared to Show My Feelings
When I was in treatment I had a revelation of this nature and it was about being prepared to show my feelings. I had a very happy childhood. My parents both loved me and I believe they loved each other though they were never at all demonstrative with each other. I can also honestly say I never saw either of my parents cry or shed any tears of emotion. Nor can I remember being cuddled as a child or being told by my parents ‘I love you’. There is no doubt my parents were strong people and I loved and respected them and I have no doubt at all that they loved me very much. However, either wittingly or unwittingly, I absorbed the fact that to show emotion was a sign of weakness.
I Used to Hold Back
So, before I had the revelation that this was not so, I would watch the most tear jerking films with my children and hold back my feelings. Keep a straight face and say ‘that was sad, wasn’t it?’. They too would try hard not to cry and would apologise if they did. I would kiss my children goodnight or goodbye but rarely would I tell them that I loved them. Even though I so obviously did. I was repeating the behaviours I had learned from my own parents but in treatment I realised that I did not want my children to grow up with ‘buttoned up emotions’ like me. As I learned to feel and show my feelings. A much healthier way to live rather than to suppress them with alcohol. I wanted to allow them to feel that it was all right to do this too.
Things Have Changed
So things have changed in my family home. I tell my children every day several times that I love them. Most telephone calls with my children include those three words and they are also said frequently. I receive the same as I give. There is a lot of overt love in my house and it is wonderful. I also now tell my mother quite often that I love her (although I have to make a conscious effort to do so as it still feels a little ‘awkward’. Even though I am very close to her. Love her enormously and do not know what I will do when she is no longer there to talk to).
Talk to her now every day whereas before coming in to recovery it was once a week. I am not afraid to show my feelings and encourage my children to do the same. Telling them it is all right to cry, for example.
For me, this is a much healthier and happier way to live and is one of the many benefits I have gained in recovery.
The Haynes Clinic is an alcohol and drug rehab clinic which offers detox and counselling for people with addictions. Call 01462 851414 for free and confidential advice.