Getting sober is one thing.  Staying sober is another.  In order for the latter to occur, I need to be constantly and consistently checking in with my emotional sobriety.  Wouldn’t it be great if ticker-tape came out of our ears so we could get a read on our feelings? Actually, it would only need to come out of one ear, and we’d get to choose which one.

Step Twelve: having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. 

I’m not talking about a constant feed, where coworkers and passersby could gawk and stare and parents are pulling their children off the street.  I’m talking about feeling unsure about what’s got me rattled, going into the storage closet and, by simply tugging on my earlobe, receiving a primal readout that shows me with perfect clarity which of my monsters are loose.

While waiting for science to catch up, I do my best to isolate and pinpoint what’s got me off-kilter.  And I sometimes worry whether or not I’m providing myself with a correct diagnosis of the current emotional situation I find myself in.  Am I providing false information, just to stoke the fire?  Because sad can always feel sadder, and bad can always feel badder, and I damn well know for sure that angry can always feel angrier.

But it needn’t stay that way.  I’ve been the chief investigating officer on a number of these emotional bloodbaths now, where everything’s been burnt to the ground.  Thanks to this program, I now know enough to understand that I don’t need Quincy to sift through the scene: I’m still holding the Zippo.

Again, most times it boils down to fear. How I choose to twist and shape it into a more palpable manifestation depends on whatever it is I’m feeling threatened by.  Usually, I’m angry that I’m scared.

Today: don’t dwell. Name it, claim it, and let it go.

As an experiment: instead of expressing anger, try expressing fear. I just might find out what’s truly worth mentioning.

By the way:  patent-pending on that whole ticker-tape thing.

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