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Session 19: What About These Feelings?

We all need to pay careful attention to our feelings. Listening to what your feelings tell you provides you with crucial information about (a) what is going on in the world immediately around you, and (b) what is going on within you. If you try to "tune out" your feelings all the time, you miss an enormous amount of valuable information to guide you through your day.

However, negative feelings can be difficult to cope with and can trigger relapses. That's because we often try to DO things to push away uncomfortable feelings. Using crystal can take away the painful sting of some emotions for a brief while. Similarly, intense sexual scenes, which

can be high­risk, can also shut out

only temporarily

istressing feelings.

However, once the temporary relief is gone, the emotions re­emerge, sometimes stronger than ever, sometimes made worse by feelings of guilt or shame.

Sometimes people don't let themselves feel certain emotions because they have learned specific beliefs about emotions, such as feeling hurt is not

okay, or feeling sad or lonely

t manly This not only leads to denial of

any feelings, but to mislabeling emotions, such as saying "I am angry" when what you're actually feeling is sad or hurt. If you are unaware of your feelings, you cannot possibly begin to deal with them, and you can misread many situations.

Avoiding strong feelings can become such an ingrained pattern that yo

e

not

even

aware

of

it.

Many

times,

people

feel

cravings

without

ever

first

allowing

themselves

to

feel

the

uncomfortable

feelings

that

would

lead

them to wish to "escape" through drugs or dealing with this is to stop yourself from acting

sex. A and ask

good technique for yourself, "What am I

feeling?" every time you feel a craving. are feeling, (b) identify what might be something to address the source of the away.

If you can (a) recognize what you causing that feeling, and (c) do feeling, your craving is likely to go

Session 19: What About These Feelings?

85

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