“Emotions are an important part of my life today. They help me to understand myself and my relationship to the world.”
Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 212
One of the most toxic factors feeding my addiction was my avoidance of emotions, especially unpleasant emotions. I avoided painful emotions because I feared they would never go away, but I also shunned positive emotions because I was afraid they wouldn’t last. I told myself that it is better to be cynical so I won’t be disappointed, and I numbed everything by acting out. Now, noting what emotions I have felt throughout the day helps me understand my deeper emotional life.
In recovery I have learned to accept all my emotions, knowing they will all pass. I have also learned that feelings are not facts, but they can show me how I perceive the world. The critical tool for me is to acknowledge them to myself and to someone else—someone who might understand or at least accept me as I am.
I can share my feelings in meetings, finding others who understand and have also faced such feelings. I can call my sponsor and find support, encouragement, and insight by facing and sharing my emotions. I can call other program members who will also have hope and strength to share. When I do this, I practice emotional sobriety, and I become more connected to the person I lost in my addiction—me.
I accept all my feelings, trusting that I can face the painful ones and enjoy the pleasant ones.