Being a newcommer to the twelve steps can be hard in the first few weeks and months. You’ve had to contend with finally coming to terms that you have a problem, admitting that your life needs serious change before the consequences become even worse than they currently are.
For the first few months I was also contending with mood swings, partly from alcohol withdrawal and partly from not having drink or drugs to distract me from the way I was feeling. After years and years of constantly pushing away my feelings through drunk and dugs, my emotions were coming back and I had to sit with them for the first time. I’ll be writing another piece about this in more detail, about how our emotions can cause us pain and discomfort which we learn to face and overcome with help from our programme, however today I’d like to talk about something else.
Sometimes simple emotions and feelings can be cause us to think and act negatively, including being hungry, angry, lonely or tired. When we’re feeling like things are spinning out of control, our minds are racing or we feel like we need to drink or use it helps to HALT for a moment and ask ourselves what’s driving these emotions or feelings.
I remember very vividly speaking to my sponsor in my early days of sobriety complaining that I was having a terrible day, only to text him back thirty minutes later after eating to say It must have been hanger. I felt stupid at the time, but these seemingly basic feelings or emotions can really have a bigger impact on us than you might think.
So for the newcomer, please remember to be kind to yourself, it’s a tough time. You’re going through a lot and are making a brave decision to turn your life around. If you’re feeling down, take a moment to HALT and see if you can practice some self care. Eat something, get some rest, catchup with a friend or fellow and if you’re still overwhelmed then head to your nearest meeting.