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Dealing with feelings


 
A friend in Program says:

Those of us who are committed to working the last three Steps on a continuous basis are used to hearing that "our troubles ... are basically of our own making." So why -- even if we are working those Steps to the best of our ability -- do we still seem to have problems?

It's helpful to distinguish between problems on the one hand and feelings on the other. Suppose I feel resentful at Maria. Well, I can't deny the feeling -- it's there. I don't like the feeling, and being an addict of course I want to get rid of it. And the way I try to get rid of it is this: I attempt to determine why I feel resentful, and conclude that it's because Maria was rude to me at the store.

Now I have not only a feeling, but a problem. And notice that I have created the problem all on my own. I felt the feeling; I didn't like the feeling; I looked at what the feeling was pointing at; and -- lo and behold! -- I created the problem.

If I am a typical member of Program, I'll now find a meeting and tell everyone all the circumstances in the hope of finding an "answer" -- an answer to a non-existent problem.

Step 10 in the AA Big Book says, Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Notice that the emphasis is on sharing the feeling, not the supposed problem. In fact, there is no talk at all of any "problem" in this Step -- unless I've been foolish enough to have it out with Maria, in which case a quick amends is recommended.

In brief: Feelings are feelings. Feelings are not problems. Steps 10 and 11 tell me what I can do about feelings. They tell me nothing about what I can do with problems, because -- you guessed it! -- there are none.

"The spiritual life is never one of achievement:
it is always one of letting go."

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