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wp-1484928101125.jpgSo now that you’re not burying your feelings under drugs and/or alcohol, what next?  I’ll tell you:  a shitstorm of emotions seemingly coming at you at the sound of speed!

This is something I have found out in my nearly 8 months of sobriety:  alcohol is not my problem, regulating my emotions is.  In addition to the fact that I have Bipolar I Disorder, I have the pleasure of having to deal with emotions that are sometimes on steroids.

emotion2

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What to do?  Well, I have learned some really helpful skills in emotion regulation; those little darlings of life that can bring you to the depths of despair, or make you soar so high you’d think you could lasso the sun.

Here is a quick synopsis of how I have been able to move from emotional chaos/alcohol abuse, to a somewhat symbiotic existence on the plane.

Emotional Management:

  1.  Check the facts.  Does this emotion fit the facts of the situation?
    1. If yes–>Is acting on this emotion effective?
      1. If yes–>Be mindful of those emotions and keep them in perspective.
      2. If No–>Do not act on the emotion or consider Opposite Action (like walking away from a situation when we are angry, or distracting ourselves with something nice)
  2. Check the facts.  Does this emotion fit the facts of the situation?
    1. If No–>Is acting on this emotion effective?
      1. If No–>Do not act on the emotion, consider changing your thoughts or using opposite emotions.
      2. If yes–>Be mindful of those emotions and keep them in perspective.
emotion1

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Example:  You are about to go into your first AA meeting and you are full of apprehension and fear.  Why?  Perhaps you are afraid of rejection.  Afraid of what people will think.

Does the emotion fit the facts of the situation?

NO–>There is no basis for you to decide how the people will react to you.

Is acting on this emotion effective?

No–>Be mindful!  Use Opposite Action:  Go in with an overabundance of confidence.  Result:  You attend the meeting with confidence and chances are excellent that you will be accepted.

emotion4

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SO, now that you don’t have alcohol and/or drugs to act as the garbage man for your emotions, it’s time to stop-drop-and roll with your emotions!  Slow down, take a moment to check the facts, then proceed with an appropriate measure of the appropriate emotion.

And by the way, don’t be fooled by that wonderful feeling ANGER:  many times it is a cover up of some other emotions we are feeling:  hurt, fearful, guilty, shameful.

Anger is the addicts’ ultimate weapon of mass destruction:  it keeps all the other emotions and/or people/situations causing unwelcome emotions at bay.  But that’s another post entirely.

I promise you, the more you practice emotional regulation, the more adept you will be at handling situations!  It’s working for me–well, mostly lol.

thoughts vs emotions