I spent a great deal of time NOT feeling feelings. I was afraid to feel my feelings because the fear of what might happen had great power over me. I might ex-plode with anger! I could sink down the rabbit hole of despair and never get out! Being too happy might make me sink back down into unending sad-ness. Or having too much joy wouldn't be right, with so much suffering around me. There were many ways to hide from my feelings, escape them, shove them back down with smoke, disengage from the reality of what was really going on in my life...that I was killing myself.
As I found the rooms of Nicotine Anony-mous, I heard about doing the next right thing. Here were happy people, joking and laughing, and not smoking at their feelings. Some had tragedy, others elation, there were all kinds of issues happening in their lives and they were feeling feelings and not exploding or sinking down rabbit holes. They shared about doing the next right thing like it was a guide for getting through the cravings, emotionality and turmoil. I decided to try it.
After allowing myself to feel an eensy weensy tiny bit of happiness, like really feel it in my heart, I found that I didn't explode, and I could even share that happiness with others, which made the feeling grow even more. And I didn't have to be afraid or even smoke over it! The feeling passed, and I didn't sink down into the black hole of despair. I experimented with more feelings, even sadness and anger. Each time, I allowed the feelings to just be what they were...feelings, not facts.
As I worked the Twelve Steps with my sponsor, I learned about having the courage to stand up and face the feel-ings rather than reacting with fear. Do-ing the next right thing meant asking my HP and others for help in facing the big monster feelings which I hadn't dealt with yet, instead of shrinking back and stuffing the feelings back down. The feelings began to lose their power as I worked the Steps and worked through the feelings one by one, felt them and let them go.
Today, the feelings come and go. I ob-serve them with great interest, choose which ones I really want to feel, and allow them to flow on down the river. Doing the next right thing means going to any length to not light up. It means asking my HP for help, being assured that I’m not alone and that all is well.
Aimee C Little Rock, Arkansas