Therapeutic Sharing


I saw my therapist today. It’s something I do every week, unless it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving, or his three week summer vacation. I mentioned before that my decision to see a therapist regularly is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my entire life. I’m grateful for the safe space therapy provides, so that I may explore my life in a non-judgmental way, to be curious, to laugh about my neuroses, to hear feedback from someone who has been doing this for decades. I really look forward to therapy; it’s time to be myself, to not have to take care of anyone else. It’s a breathing space. It’s a time to rest. Even if I’m feeling emotionally charged and I begin to cry, there is still something so restful about just sitting there, sharing what’s on my mind, and being heard.

Today I brought up my blog and the direction I decided to take with the Twelve Steps. I heard myself saying, “I won’t have a sponsor, and I won’t attend group meetings, but I’ll work through these steps.” And then I thought, Well, why shouldn’t I attend meetings? Why shouldn’t I have a sponsor? 

Am I afraid of going through with it all the way? I have been telling myself that my Twelve Step work isn’t the same as the person who is recovering from alcohol addiction, or the one who is trying to stop sticking themselves with needles. My work isn’t the same as someone who is addicted to sex or binge eating or…is that true?

My therapist said, We all have our addictions.

I found out recently that people do in fact attend Twelve Step meetings for dealing with anger, which kind of blew me away, because I always thought the Twelve Steps mainly revolved around people recovering from substance abuse, and then perhaps sexual addictions, and addictions to food.  But anger?   My therapist related to me an anecdote of a guy who described his fits of rage as mood altering, like any drug–and I was struck by the truth of it. When I get to the point where I’m feeling put upon over and over and over again, and that feeling accumulates and then resentment consumes me and I explode… just after that explosion, I’m not feeling put upon any more. I’m feeling really charged up, really on fire, full of energy, but I’m not feeling put upon. After I explode, my mood has been altered, like it would be altered on alcohol or pot or a whole bar of chocolate. Okay, maybe not in the exact same way as alcohol or pot or chocolate, but it has been changed in some way.

So today I’m thinking I might try to find a Twelve Step group near me. I don’t know if I will find one that deals specifically with anger, but maybe I’ll find a welcoming space where people are working through their own addictions and I’ll be able join with my energy and intentions. I’m starting to see that being a part of a group is a big deal in this whole Twelve Step process. I thought that I would sort of just tra-la-la through a year of the Twelve Steps in my own mind, on this blog, with anyone in cyber space who wanted to comment–but having real person to person contact, hearing other people’s stories, and experiencing the collective energy of people who are doing this tried and true work together–I suspect that I might experience greater transformation this way.

I haven’t addressed my readers before, because I thought this was going to be a project just for myself (and I kind of assumed that no one would be reading anyway)…but as time goes on, I get surprised by people liking, commenting, and even following this blog. Which means I have a few readers out there, which means a whole lot to me. So I guess I’m going to address you now. Have any of you been to Twelve Step groups before? Have any of you worked through all of the Twelve Steps? What is the greatest benefit of attending regular group meetings?

My therapist said that my idea to work through the Twelve Steps made a lot of sense. It came out of left field one day, which makes me think that something greater than my every day behaviors was calling to me to give this a try. And I’m listening now. Now, who wants to share?


6 responses »

  1. For me, my best ideas come out of left field. There’s just something about them that feel right, and I know what my next step is. It sounds like you have just found your next step…or 12.

    • Thank you Tamina, I appreciate your words. Yes, it’s comforting to know that I don’t have to figure it all out right now, that I can take one step at a time. I’m going to try to give myself over to the inner promptings more, and see where they lead me.

  2. I am a long-time 12-stepper via Al-Anon. I started as a 19-yr old just after my Mom got sober. I left for a few years as there was no active addiction in my life. I went back a few years ago when my 14 yr-old son became suicidally depressed and was using. Now my daughter is clinically depressed (oh yeah, it runs deep in the family on all sides).

    What I have come to believe is that if I want to be in relationship to any human on the planet – regardless of addiction – I need a 12 step program as it helps me keep the focus on myself, set healthy boundaries, give others the dignity to make their own decisions (even choosing to suffer), and working the steps and principles (along with meditation) keeps me peaceful. No matter what. I hope to never take a break from the program again. It works if you work it!

    • Hello Nic, thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences. It sounds like being a part of a 12 step program has helped you to maintain a sense of normalcy in all sorts of trying circumstances. I see you as a very strong and wise person! Just the fact that you know that it’s a good idea to focus on yourself, set healthy boundaries, and give others the dignity to make their own decisions–wow. I applaud you for having the courage to do this work and to continue to do this work. What kind of 12 step program would you recommend for me, working on my anger? Have you had any experiences with 12 step programs revolving around emotional awareness?

  3. was just catching up some on what I’ve missed, you could try EA Emotions Anonymous
    an addiction is an addiction in whatever form it chooses to manifest itself, I’ve recently joined OLGA online gamers anonymous, yea I know, something like games, how can that be an addiction?
    Fact is with addiction it’s an internal illness and substance abuse is just a symptom.
    As for going to meetings, I find they give me a support system, motivation to work my program and inspiration, I go to the meetings for me and always leave having gotten something from them.
    Personally I do recommend a sponsor, my sponsor takes me through the steps, listens to me moan, listens to my fears, joy, anger, hurt, you name it, she listens, she’s someone I know I can rely on.
    I myself am a member of AA, CA, OLGA, NA, OA currently but no doubt this may increase as time goes on as I know I also have other addictions however they aren’t as much of a pressing matter for me to be concerned with as of now however a list of groups can be found here
    GA seems to be one which accepts many addictions and helps other groups grow, but I recommend you find a group you can be honest with about what your personal addiction is and that will accept that, NA step work I know works with ALL addictions and not that of just narcotics, I did have a temporary sponsor in NA who I clearly remember saying to me anger is an addiction. but I would recommend you first try EA.
    Hope this helps

    • Hi Emily, thank you for your recommendation. I google searched EA and found a group the meets not too far from me. I wrote about this in a post…that I want to go to the group but I work both days that it meets, and I’m wondering if I shouldn’t cut back on work to make a connection with others who are working through their emotional challenges. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. Many blessings to you.

Please share your thoughts. Your presence here is greatly appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.