THE BIG BOOK
FEELINGS FOLLOW ACTIONS NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!
|GOOD FEELINGS FOLLOW RIGHT ACTIONS MORE ACCURATELY PUT.
“On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all Gad gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. “ This quote is taken from pg. 86 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Today my mind may be telling me that my life is a disaster and that I am a mess! I refuse to believe this because today I am taking action for my recovery and my well-being. Today I will help others & do no harm. I will exercise, eat right, and go to a meeting.
Many times before I joined AA and learned how to live and take responsibility for my own actions I used to often say “I don’t feel like it!” I said this in response to being faced with many responsibilities. I said it when people asked me to go places, on social outings, to the beach, on a road trip, pretty much in response to anything that would take me out of my isolation and out of the state of sloth.
I used to think I had to wait until my feelings were right to do the task at hand. I would get to-it when I felt up to it. I feared somehow that it would hurt me to take an energetic action. Somehow I felt I had to nurture the deep emotional pain that was inside of me. Depression & isolation were my bedfellows. Not to mention I feared subconsciously the unknown and felt it was a risk to go to new places and do new things. However what I feared was an illusion.
I have since learned by working the steps and addressing core issues that feelings nine times out of ten, are a result of my actions and I can act my way into good feelings. Please understand that healthy emotions include a certain amount of grief, hurt, pain, and anger and so-on that should be neither ignored nor shrugged off. We should not put a mask over our feelings nor should we let them rule us.
Emotional balance in recovery and understanding when to ignore feelings and when they should be addressed & processed takes time and much work. In early recovery it’s beneficial to both explore our feelings with a therapist or empathic listener on a regular basis and to spend time doing recovery based activities, laughing and forgetting ourselves and all our self-consciousness. However we mustn’t swing from one extreme to the other. Labeling all feelings character defect based is very dangerous but also labeling all feelings a priority at all times is just as dangerous. Just because our feelings are always valid does not mean we let them paralyze us or always give-in to tears.
Good feelings do follow right and constructive actions. If I get up in the morning and feel like crap I do not have to make my day follow suit. I don’t have to create a crappy day. I must not allow my feelings to rule over me and oppress me. If my character defect is sloth then the spiritual remedy is to repeatedly take action contrary to sloth such as go for a run or go outside grab the hose and pour cold water over my body and take a walk. If I clean my house I will feel better about myself. (Opinion) Sloth is a spirit that attaches itself to humans and tells us immobilizing lies that we hear in our mind.
Sloth is the enemy of recovery as is wrath. If I am angry I should never, ever take it out on those around me. Again in early recovery we must learn outlets for anger. Denial and distraction works for a while but it is not a solution. The rage I feel inside is MINE I need to own it and then learn the solutions for it. I have written many articles on the solutions for anger. Anger is not the defect of character wrath is.
My message today…..feelings follow actions not the other way around. You are a beautiful child of a Creator. God don’t make junk! No one taught you how to deal with the intense feelings that drove you to drink and drug therefore you are innocent. You, if you are an alcoholic or addict are a sick person trying to get well not a bad person trying to get good. In this way its true AA is not a moral program. However if you continue working on the steps and stay in meetings, work with others and do the maintenance steps of 10, 11, and step 12 you will learn to follow your heart and this will bring you peace and morality both. All morality really is, is the act of following one’s own heart of which we also call the conscience.
We in early recovery must first learn what our true heart’s desire is so we may follow it to find peace. Many of us for survival sake learned to disconnect our hearts truths from both our intellect and our sense of reality through deep denial. He who learns to follow his own heart and resists perfectionism has found wisdom.