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Managing Feelings

August 8, 2014 160 comments

Sometimes Sober Treats don’t cut it and we need some deeper techniques to get us through. What do you do in times of extreme emotional pain or stress?

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160 comments

  1. I thought I would share this with you, taken from some motivational material I have on my face book.
    Here are 20 ways that will hopefully rekindle that passion of yours and help make today ridiculously amazing.
    1. Engage in consistent action.
    2. Constantly picture yourself beyond your current circumstances. Dream enormously big and hold that dream deep within your mind, body and spirit.
    3. Spend time in solitude to just think and visualize.
    4. Write your most important goal on a note card and look at it five times a day. Say it out loud and believe with a deep conviction that it will become a reality.
    5. Drink tons of water. It’s impossible to operate to the best of your ability and tap into your full potential if you are dehydrated. Our minds and bodies need water in order to perform at an extremely high-level.
    Related: 5 Morning Rituals to Keep You Productive All Day Long
    6. Eat to win. If you don’t want junk results stay away from junk food. The bottom line is that we are what we eat.
    7. Get your sweat on. One of the best productivity tools that you can utilize is to get a workout in at some point throughout your day. Whether you go to the gym or at home, make the time.
    8. Pick up a book for 15-20 minutes and get lost in it. Just as our bodies need physical exercise, our minds need to stay mentally fit.
    9. Spend your time around those who lift you up and encourage your vision, not belittle it. We are the average of the five people we hang out with the most. Pick your company wisely.
    10. Make time to grow. Carve out 30 min to an hour and find ways to personally and professionally grow.
    11. Turn off the music in your car and listen to an audiobook. Most of us spend hours in a car daily, utilize that time to better yourself and learn.
    12. Keep a journal. Record your thoughts, ideas and strategies. We have roughly 20,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Don’t let an idea or strategy go to waste. Never rely solely on your memory.
    Related: 3 Life-Changing Habits of High Performers
    13. Think of five things you are grateful for right this second. It can be something as simple as how beautiful is mother nature or how wonderful your family is. Be grateful for what you have and you will eventually end up having more.
    14. Snack on almonds. Great source of protein and other minerals and vitamins that will increase your energy levels and keep performance in peak state.
    15. Say “I love you” more often. Don’t let a day go by where you don’t tell those you love how much they truly mean to you. Life is short and by simply saying the words “I love you” will bring you an immense sense of satisfaction.
    16. Treat others how you want to be treated. In business and in the game of life, people matter. If you want to truly win in both, make every person you come in contact with feel important.
    17. Have a green smoothie. Instead of turning to caffeine turn to the power of mother nature and blend yourself up a delicious, energizing and healthy green smoothie. One of my favorites is two handfuls of organic spinach, one apple, juice of one lemon, three stalks of celery, and ginger root. There are plenty of recipes available to you online.
    18. Take a post-it-note or note-card and write down some quotes that move, inspire and empower you. There will be times throughout the day that might upset you or discourage you. Constantly feeding your mind with words that inspire and empower you will instantly get you back on your feet ready to hit the ground running.
    19. Cut off all distractions. When it’s time to work, work. When it’s time to relax, relax. Discipline yourself to stay off Facebook and other social media sites when you are working on a computer. If you are in an office, hang up a “Do Not Disturb” sign if possible. Focus completely on the task at hand.
    20. Take full and complete responsibility for your life. Own up to your mistakes and never fall into the trap of playing the ever-so-popular blame game.
    Adopting winning habits is one of the surest ways to get to where you want to go. What we do on a daily basis determines the results that we end up with. If you don’t like what you have been producing up to this point, then change what you do daily. It’s my hope that this list of 20 ideas is of extreme value to help make today utterly amazing for you
    xxx

    47
    1. Wow this is AWESOME! Thanks!!! I need to go back to the consistent action. I was so busy in the first few months, now I’ve taken more to relaxing, which allows for things to pile up at home. Check off things from the list, even if it’s a small list. And drink water!!’

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    2. Thank you for this I really needed some motivation today as exhausted after Christmas!
      There is so much in here to relate to and identify with.
      Am off to drink some water too uch caffeine and diet drinks over the festive period makes me feel sluggish.
      Am off for a walk in the frost with my dog. It’s a fab day!

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  2. I just found the 13 affirmations I wrote a couple of days after getting sober two and a half years ago, I had totally forgotten about them but at the time they were like a lifeline ( It feels like a lifetime ago). For all of you starting your journey I would read the affirmations first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Here are mine, what are yours?
    1. I have a life threatening problem that once had me.
    2. Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
    3. Happiness is a habit I will develop.
    4. Problems bother me only to the degree I permit them to.
    5. I am what I think.
    6. Life can be ordinary or it can be great.
    7. Love can change the course of my world.
    8. The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.
    9. The past is gone forever.
    10. All love given returns.
    11. Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
    12. I am a competent woman and I have much to give life.
    13. I am responsible for myself and my actions.

    32
    1. Thanks. The power of positive affirmations. I do want to try another way of living sober. Day 1 is nice. I remember how well I felt without wine as a child. I hope and pray it is not too late to start anew. Looking forward to the day that I do not reach for a bottle of wine at the grocery store.
      Going to a ladies AA meeting. That helps a lot.

      2
  3. The greatest way I manage my feelings is by reminding myself of the amazing rewards of sobriety. I am 42 years old and have been a highly functioning alcoholic for probably close to half of my life. A couple of days away from 4 months sober and went to see my doctor this week. For the 1st time in the twelve years that he has been taking my blood pressure, it actually measured as normal after being as high as someone 20 years older than me. For years he also kept telling me my liver functioning was deteriorating. Today I got my liver results back and it was completely NORMAL. Thank god there was no irreversible damage. Instead of coming home and drinking, I go swimming three times a week and every day is like a gift that I never knew about. In four months of sobriety I had no idea how enjoyable life can be without booze. The temptation will always be there, but for the first time ever I feel I have choices about what I can do every day. I am rid of the fear of not having alcohol at the end of everyday, no more shame of hiding alcohol or finding bottles I can’t even remember stashing. I am now in charge. The mistakes I make will be my own and my self pity is evaporating. I feel brave, confident, strong and ALIVE. It is wonderful reading about all our experiences and the battles we will all overcome together. And best of all I sleep like a baby nowadays. Stay strong. We’re all in this together.

    20
    1. well done you.. I love my sleep now, life is great sober but I still get that voice telling me I’m not an alcoholic and one drink will be fine.. But now I’m changing my mind set to NO one drink will never be enough and 10 not too many. I used to panic if I only had 2 bottles of wine in the house or if my vodka levels had run low, now I’m feeling free but no that I need to keep that voice at bay, so am checking myself everyday, I do not want to go back. x

      11
    2. Hiding bottles … Or finding a bottle you had forgotten about and the fear of being found out . Yes , I too have had those horrible times .

      3
      1. I used to throw my empty vodka bottles up in the attic…..have moved house now…..still feel really bad that new owners would have found them……not good

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    3. I am feeling very similar to you! I am now 15 days Alcohol free and it’s liberating to feel I have choices, to wake up with no shame or panic. Thanks for sharing.

      3
    4. Well done! I know, the sleep thing! I think it’s because with any alcohol in your system you don’t get a natural sleep. I have slept like a log for the first time in about three decades!

      2
    5. Thank you. Like you, I have been a highly functioning alcoholic for over half my life, maybe even 2/3. Thank you for your honesty. I want what you have.

      2
    6. I can so relate to where you were. I am looking forward to the day I can say I’m 4 months sober. I’m at 4 days. But I will get there. Thanks for your inspiration!

      1
    7. That’s fabulous! I’m 2 days and have had blood pressure medication for 20 years , it’s only recently I realise dot could be due to alcohol and not just hereditary so here’s hoping I have a similar experience if I stay off it long enough !!

      1
  4. I have a little more than 10 months now. I’m an almost 50YO woman and recently my hormones are colluding with my disease and I felt myself wishing for that good old ease and comfort.. Incredibly irritable, depressed/flat, hopeless with a chattering monkey on a galloping horse in my head. I hadn’t felt quite this bad yet since I got sober last Nov. I read up on alcoholism and menopause/peri menopause and found that alcoholism rates for women skyrocket during these times. I made an appt with my doc to do blood work and discuss options, holistic options first. Meanwhile the things that (usually) keep my head in the right direction are:
    LOTS of meetings. (I am in AA). 4/week minimum plus 1/week with my sponsor.
    LOTS of podcasts. Anytime I am alone in the car, walking dogs. Try the Bubble Hour or Recovered.
    SHARING what hurts at group level in meetings. Shame and my disease want me to think I am “less than” but when I share that I am dying inside I give others the chance to support me which helps both them AND me.
    I try to stay VIGILANT. When I am miserable I try to ascertain if it’s because I am in fear or trying to control outcomes and from there I can try to use some tools to help me let go.
    CALL another sober person whom you respect. I did this for the first time recently, someone other than my sponsor for once, and she actually thanked me for calling her. I learned that there really are women who want to be there for me. What a concept for someone with poor self image.
    READING AA and spiritual literature. I am eating up Anne Lamott books presently.
    JOURNALING as often as I can. This is new for me. So far I notice it helps me finish thoughts all the way through whereas if I let them roll around in my mind they do just that: roll around., jabber jabber jabber. And that’s no good when half your thoughts are self destructive or crazy making. Getting them on paper forces me to examine them more closely.
    PRAYING did NOT come naturally to me at all. But, for me, ” coming to believe” that a higher power existed and could restore my sanity was pivotal because I have never had faith and had to try to control absolutely everything in my world,. When I pray I remind myself I don’t have to be in charge. It puts me in a mindset of surrender instead of fight. I can float along on the river rather than cling to a rock whilst being pounded by the current and debris.
    Some days are just going to suck. Just get to bed sober.

    15
    1. I too suffered some serious peri-menopause symptoms. I’m 50 and have been a heavy drinker for 30+ years. I didn’t know that alcohol messed with my hormones. I wasn’t honest with my doctor. I was a walking mess going in one direction. I finally was honest with my doctor, myself, my family and I’m 78 days sober. One day at a time. My blood pressure is back to normal. I’ve lost weight. I feel great. I’m so excited about what’s to come I’m like a little kid at Christmas. We can do this. We’re strong women. I’ve found great support online. Like you said “just get to bed sober”. I’m figuring the rest out or making it up as I go along.

      1
  5. I think this is important…
    Instead of asking ourselves, “How can I find security and happiness?” we could ask ourselves, “Can I touch the center of my pain? Can I sit with suffering, both yours and mine, without trying to make it go away? Can I stay present to the ache of loss or disgrace-disappointment in all its many forms-and let it open me?” This is the trick.
    ~ Pema Chodron

    8
    1. How to endure and feel suffering without any wine? I did so for 9 months, and it did get easier. I am starting over, one day today of sobriety. I will try to stay sober for another day. My cat has started smelling my breath in the mornings, and I pray to pass her test.

      1
  6. I have 73 days today. I crave alcohol frequently. I find the disease creeping into my thoughts, sometimes in small ways.

    When I find myself craving alcohol I remember the things I have done that I feel ashamed and guilty about. I call them “Silver Bullets”.

    Truth is the disease wants me to remember the good times I had when drinking. The friends, the laughs, the feeling. It does not want me to remember the hangover, how I embarrassed my wife, how I hurt my family.

    I actively write down the bad times. Listing all the bad times I can remember that impacted someone other than myself. I keep them fresh in my mind. I remember them any time I crave, am triggered, or want to drink. This helps me to remember why I am Living Sober!

    7
  7. My beloved guru Tara Brach (sorry don’t know how else to describe her..!) has just posted the second part of her talk on happiness.. if you are low right now and struggling I am telling you this woman will make you feel better. She AlWAYS makes me feel better. They’re an hour long each so it’s a bit of a commitment time-wise but hell.. think of all the time we’ve all spent buzzed out on shit booze…!
    Part One: http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/a/1/3/a1332a5870c6d8da/2014-10-15-Pt1-Happiness-TaraBrach.mp3?c_id=7755343&expiration=1414221573&hwt=69f3fbc82420253e8331b5b25a908299
    Part Two: http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/c/7/4/c7448d99c319cc96/2014-10-22-Pt2-Happiness-TaraBrach.mp3?c_id=7777957&expiration=1414220822&hwt=c993e440a97e363d7f65987fd6a94c3d
    xxxx

    7
    1. So I listened to the first session. When she talks about attachments I automatically think alcohol is preventing me from being happy. But then it doesn’t make sense to do as she suggests and “own it” to accept it in my life. Do you see alcohol as your attachment? Just trying to wrap my head around what she is meaning.

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  8. Things Mentally Strong People Do

    • They move on. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves.

    • They keep control. They don’t give away their power.

    • They embrace change. They welcome challenges.

    • They stay happy. They don’t complain. They don’t waste energy on things they can’t control.

    • They are kind, fair, and unafraid to speak up. They don’t worry about pleasing other people.

    • They are willing to take calculated risks. They weigh the risks and benefits before taking action.

    • They invest their energy in the present. They don’t dwell on the past.

    • They accept full responsibility for their past behaviour. They don’t make the same mistake over and over.

    • They celebrate other people’s success. They don’t resent that success.

    • They are willing to fail. They don’t give up failing. They see every failure as a chance to improve.

    • They enjoy their time alone. They don’t fear being alone.

    • They are prepared to work and succeed on their own merits. They don’t feel the world owes them anything.

    • They have staying power. They don’t expect immediate results.

    • They evaluate their core beliefs – and modify as needed.

    • They expend their mental energy wisely. They don’t spend time on unproductive thoughts.

    • They think productively. They replace negative thoughts with productive thoughts.

    • They tolerate discomfort. They accept their feelings without being controlled by them.

    • They reflect on their progress every day. They take time to consider what they’ve achieved and where they are going.

    7
  9. I do pranayama breathing. Breathe in for four counts through the nose and then out for four counts. Make your breath be the sound of the ocean coming in and out of your body. Imagine the stress leaving and love and light and energy coming back in. It’s wonderfully relaxing. I do this going the bed at night and in the morning.
    I also do yoga when feelings overwhelm me and breathe into the sadness/pain that is there. It helps me feel grounded.

    4
  10. Managing feelings??……..
    I love not feeling ashamed of myself. I love waking up clear headed, remembering everything I said and did last night. I love not having anxiety anymore. I love not having to sneak hidden empties out of the house before anyone finds them. I love not cringing at the thought of how I behaved at a party. I love not having to go through facebook and delete inappropriate statuses or comments on friends pages. I love not having to check my cellephone the next day to see if I texted anyone I can’t remember texting. I love not having wine-breath. I love being a great role model to my kids and an authentic person – 24/7.

    These are my sober treats.
    xxx

    3
    1. All of the above. Blackouts — what the Hell happened?! Anxiety. Waking up at 3 am after passing out. Going to a party and seeing there is 1 bottle of wine. Who does that? Watching the clock until an “acceptable” time. Feeling I can’t live without wine — or something. In a pinch, anything will do. Feeling shame, guilt, fat, bloated, dumb. For a while after I gave up drinking I self medicated with pot. One joint a day, but I finally realized (slow learner) that it was making me stupid! Couldn’t follow the plot of complicated shows, lost at word games, couldn’t read at night…blah blah blah. It was much easier to give that up, but then I had to deal with the sleep thing again. Getting better after a couple of months. I used to say “Sleep is the new sex” but now I’m thinking 8 hours of sleep might be overrated. I can drive at night. I can drive drunk people home. I remember shit. But I do still miss that lovely feeling of oblivion. Don’t know why.

      3
    2. OMG, exactly what you said!!! All of the above…. so glad i am not the only one who has been there and done all of these things. Hope to never have to do them again!!!

      2
    3. Me too. You are an inspiration. I am only 55 days sober, but I already am loving the feelings I am finally feeling instead of covering up with a drink. The rawness of it all is scary, and I try not to think about the day after tomorrow because a life without alcohol ever unfortunately still is making me feel sad and anxious.

      1
    4. I love waking up EVERY morning feeling clear headed…great motivator for me. I am at 2 weeks & 3 days.
      Taking it one day at a time & working on my thoughts & feelings along with living fully present in each moment. Liking this new life…

      1
    5. So true. I love it too! I did all of those things plus apologetic phone calls etc trying to explain my behaviour from the night before. The feeling of freedom in waking up in the morning knowing that there’s nothing to explain from the night before because I DIDN’T drink is amazing.

      0
  11. Today is day 1 for me. I stopped drinking a few years ago but I let that voice in my head tell me that I was ok and could just drink socially or have just the 1… I did manage it for a while and still some times do, but I know that it just doesn’t suit me anymore. I’m also signing up for the dryathalon for September to help me start. I’m actually really looking forward to being a better and more happy person… This website is a godsend

    3
  12. Good happy sober morning to you all. I spent a fair bit of last night reflecting on where I am at in this process of recovery, a reminder is to myself that it is not just about taking the booze away, it’s also about dealing with the rawness of life, that I am now facing the rawness of my emotions. I have however learnt through life coaching , to observe my emotions, and as one lady said on the “Bubble hour”,learn to observe your emotions, pretend you are sitting in the back seat of a car and they are in front of you. I also have to remember that emotions are like rain storms- they come and go.
    I am going to share with you my success reminders from my life coaching- some people might find this a bit wishy washy, but it has certainly helped me and is definitely a work in progress.
    I will commit to my goals and make them achievable, including career, health, family, spiritually and finance.
    I will be true to myself.
    I will expand my life with new experiences.
    I understand others may not see life as i do and that’s fine.
    Respect others opinions , but I don”t have to own it.
    Surround myself with people who inspire me and are interested in me.
    Have a Mentor.
    Do not judge another, be open.
    Small hurtful words can have huge long term impacts.
    I choose to have empathy with wisdom.
    I will speak well of myself and others
    I choose to hold myself with the greatest love and respect, and in doing so, I do forgive others and especially forgive myself.
    I resign and release my past with the deepest respect and gratitude.
    I choose to live my life in complete awareness and authenticity.
    I choose to respect protect and nurture my body, mind , soul and emotion.
    I will do my best to be present in my life, and to live by my values and beliefs.
    I will listen to my inner voice and trust it’s guidance.
    I will do my best to think only the best for myself and others, to be conscious of a higher choice.
    Thank you for listening It feels good writing that down and reminding myself. Have a great day everyone, stay safe and sober out there. xx

    2
  13. Getting outside really helps me manage my feelings. For me its a mountain bike or a run – and if I can get off road and high in the hills, even better. For those who don’t like such vigorous exercise a good solid walk can do it – but I really recommend trying to get up on those trails where the view takes your breath away. It really really helps.

    2
    1. I agree with you Colourful1 . I find time for getting out on the bike and it is the one of the things in the toolkit to help in the really tough moments.

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  14. On day 12 of recovery, drinking Green Tea, Coffee, Seltzer wBitters & Lime. At 7pm I’m so sleepy I can’t keep my eyes open it was the same drinking wine! Will the exhausting ever go away?

    1
  15. Bundle my 2 golden retrievers in the car and drive to the Resevoir so they can have some fun and exercise and me fresh air and grateful for the lovely nature that surrounds me…..something I used to take for granted before I was banned from driving for 4 years …..this simple act keeps me focused on the here and now…..not the past which is so destructive……

    1
  16. I take my two dogs for a long walk every morning and evening and try to practice mindfulness and gratitude the whole time. It is not easy as my mind takes flight if I stop working to stay in the moment every second. My need for socializing is helped as well when I walk or talk with another fellow dog owner. I just need to watch out for those friends in the evening who talk about how they can’t wait for their wine when they get home. Then I have to work on gratitude that I am not going to do that. And if I’m at all shaky, I do not go to the store!

    1
    1. I love your post….I to take my 2 golden retrievers out every morning over to the Resevoir for swim and walk. It sets me up for a positive day and in keeping in touch with nature and how lucky I am to be able to enjoy this positive aspect of my life. I lost my driving licence for 4 years and I was unable to take them to nice places so now I soooo appreciate the lovely walks with them.

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  17. I’ve been listening to guided meditations. You can find free ones on YouTube and I like anything by Deepak Chopra is worth giving a go.

    1
    1. I have read his book Mindsight. Some real interesting stuff. Just joined this site today but thought your idea of a blog was fantastic. I started living sober twenty years ago in my late twenties. I went to AA but although they were very kind they were all older men of over sixty so it was hard to relate. Would have loved to been able to connect with others via a blog with women living sober.

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  18. I’ve started volunteer work as a peer recovery coach. No matter how I feel before I see my “recoveree”, I walk away from our time together with a feeling of gratitude and peace.

    1
    1. Brilliant.You are able to understand and Empathize,than one who has only read of it and attempting to listen.Its acting.Cant internalize.pleasant day.

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  19. I’ve been trying to stay focused on the here and now. Breathing deeply and really noticing what is around me. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the feel of the wind, sun or rain. Noticing the little things, the smell of the coffee, the colors of the birds, the sound of the trees. I have read a bit of Tara Brach in the past and found her to be wonderful – looking forward to checking out the links.

    1
  20. Agree with MsLSober. Breathe. And know that it will change. Accept that the emotions feel bad, and that they cannot hurt you. You can feel bad and still survive.

    And if that doesn’t work, sudoku! Distraction, distraction…

    1
    1. What sodapop said really resonates. . Building up the mental strength to face the negative emotions and let them in and eventually out is my hardest challenge. The crutch of alcohol has made me an emotional cream puff and I run immediately for the booze when anything gets emotionally challenging. I really just wish that I had never touched the stuff so that I could have developed the coping mechanisms that I am lacking now. Sometimes I just don’t feel up to the challenge. I am stuck in the reality that I can’t keep drinking but I can’t imagine not drinking. Quite the existence.

      1
  21. When the going gets tough I like to try meditation and mindfulness techniques. I just found this great metaphor for meditation which I think equally applies to giving up drinking.

    “Meditation is like going into an old attic room and turning on the light. In that light we see everything—the beautiful treasures we’re grateful to have unearthed; the dusty, neglected corners that inspire us to say, “I’d better clean that up”; the unfortunate relics of the past that we thought we had gotten rid of years ago. We acknowledge them all, with an open, spacious, and loving awareness.

    It’s never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn’t depend on how long it’s been running; a shift in perspective doesn’t depend on how long you’ve held the old view. When you flip the switch in that attic, it doesn’t matter whether it’s been dark for 10 minutes, 10 years, or 10 decades. The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see things you couldn’t see before. It’s never too late to take a moment to look.”

    1
  22. It’s very hard to manage your feelings when you have so many feelings going on and your mind and what tends to wander and you were very anxious and depressed at the same time

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  23. I’d also recommend the Three-Minute Meditation routine for sudden crises or stressful moments at work. A number of authors have written about this and it is essentially a grounding technique for when we feel panicky or confused or despondent.

    Sit down if you can in a quiet corner or at your desk, or go into a cloakroom for privacy. Put your feet slightly apart and imagine they are rooted into the ground.

    Most of us don’t breathe deeply enough when we’re distressed. Inhale to the count of five and out to a slower count of five. Sit there until you’ve done this for three minutes (a count of 120 all in all). Then relax your hands and place them facing upwards on your knees, or just relax them loosely if you’re not alone. Relax your neck and shoulders. Take a few more deep breaths and then resume work or the phone call.

    It makes a difference.

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