Friday, March 25, 2011

Crashing an Emotional Roadblock

For the better part of the last month I have been in a perpetual state of emotional torment. My emotions seemed to be in a constant state of conflict with my mind. I was wrestling with working my way through my first step in the program.

My mind had intellectually worked through the first step, but my emotions were still stuck in the mud. Despite my constant consumption of the literature and slogans I could not get my emotions to admit that my life was unmanageable.

For weeks I went through the gamut of emotions, from anxiety to fear to denial. I was anxious because I was asking myself to let go of my self-reliance. I was fearful because admitting that my life was unmanageable would indicate that I am weak. I was jealous of those that have come before me and successfully completed this step. I feared the loss of control that accepting that my life was unmanageable would entail. I got angry with myself for not being strong enough to admit my own weakness.  I was angry with the step itself for asking me to acknowledge my weakness. Well you get the idea. My soul seemed to be in some sort of chaotic overdrive.

I knew that I needed to find help. I needed to find someone that I could talk with to help ease me through the roadblocks that my emotional unease seemed to be placing on my road to recovery. For more than a week I would look at my cell phone, then I would look at the list of phone numbers that some of the members of my local Al-Anon group provided when I attended my first meeting. I knew what I needed to do. I knew that I had to call one of the members to ask for advice. I knew that I needed to seek out the assistance of someone that has been in the same position in which I had found myself. And despite this knowledge I could not do it. I literally could not pick up my phone and dial one of the numbers on my list. I was ashamed that I was not strong enough to do something as simple as pick up the phone to make a phone call.

Yesterday afternoon I wrote about roadblocks on my road to recovery. After writing that post I felt so much better. I could almost feel the courage flow into me as I wrote the words out. Immediately after publishing that piece I was able to summon up the courage to make the phone call that I needed to make. I spoke with this member for almost an hour. He helped me put into perspective that even though I felt that I had been struggling with the first step, that I had been making progress. We talked at length about a wide range of issues that may possibly have been holding me back, but he made one comment that floored me. He told me that just picking up that phone and calling him was admitting that my life had become unmanageable. The fact that I was able to overcome the emotions that were acting as a roadblock had caused me to emotionally acknowledge what I have known intellectually. I am grateful for the time that I spent on the phone yesterday afternoon with him. And I can promise that it will not be the last time I do so.

I am powerless over alcohol – my life has become unmanageable. 

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