As we were growing up, we were not issued a manual on how to navigate this life. Many feelings arose for us on a daily basis. Although some were positive, many were not. All those feelings of fear, anger, shame, jealousy, envy and pride hobbled our ability to function on a daily basis. We suffered greatly because of it. Then one day, we discovered alcohol, drugs or food. As soon as we ingested our drug of choice, all of the pain we suffered from lifted. At least for a short while we had a respite. The problem was that a short respite was not enough and we increased our usage. Before we knew it, we couldn’t even identify what a feeling was. We walked around in a coma like state; one day aimlessly following another.
At some point we were able to put down our substance. Within a short period of time, we began to truly feel alive once again. Shortly thereafter all of those old troubling feelings came flooding back as well. This time we didn’t run away from all of those feelings. With tools garnered from our 12 step program we were able to deal with life issues without turning to substances. We had learned the meaning of living life on life’s terms.
Personal Reflection: How do I deal with feelings today?
12 steppers often suffer from the “less than” syndrome. Years and sometimes decades were spent walking around and comparing ourselves to others. For those of us who suffered from grandiosity, it was everyone else who came up short in our eyes. Far more common was our making comparisons with others and finding ourselves wanting. We would observe someone and say, “They’re so smart”, or “rich”, or “handsome”, or “beautiful”, or “talented”, or “lucky” or “so together”. I’m sure each of us could add to this list. Most of the time we were mixing apples and oranges. The assessment of ourselves was based on deep feelings from within us. The assessment of everyone else was based on the external persona presented by people we met. Although we didn’t know what was really going on in a person’s life, we presumed to know and draw conclusions about them.
One of the gifts of the program is that we really get to know people through attending meetings. People share openly and honestly about their lives. We begin to discover that people’s outsides often don’t reflect what is truly going on within. That “together” person is probably facing the same challenges we are.
Personal Reflection: How can I avoid the “less than” syndrome?