When people are in rehab they are expected to attend group meetings. I recently heard an addiction specialist tell an agitated patient “Stating only the facts during group isn’t the goal. The group is about evoking emotions.” For some reason this really lit up and made sense to me. Stirring up the emotions of an addict is one way to teach them how to cope.
When emotions become too much to handle for an addict all they have to do is go and drink, do drugs or engage in some other addictive behavior. Part of the goal of having them attend group is to evoke feelings of anger, fear and frustration and then be forced to deal with them without being able to run and hide in a bottle or syringe. This takes a little bit of the sting out of the uneasy feelings because once you are forced to ride it out without using; you slowly start to realize the emotions are only temporary.
One of the big lies that is swallowed is that whatever drama is going on is going to last forever. I remember thinking I would always be on drugs. There was absolutely no way I would ever live without them. I had no concept of being free of drugs I just assumed I would live addicted until I died which I hoped would come sooner rather than later. On the other hand if we can be shown with God all things are possible we just may be open to a miracle.
I for one never went to rehab or group meetings but I did talk with a counselor once a month. Talking with her did help me to face a few things I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. Rather than attend group or a twelve step program I started going to church. I’m not saying my way is better than another’s I’m simply telling how it happened for me. Whether one goes to a twelve step program or not the truth is learning how to handle emotions is a huge step in the recovery. Ultimately it is only upon receiving Jesus Christ that one will be set free, but there is that little issue of renewing your mind that has to happen. Coming out of addiction requires a new way of seeing everything.
Even though I never attended those types of meetings it still interest me even today. Once the psychology of the group meeting became clear it dawned on me that all of life is like that. Life is like being in group. There is no end to how many people and things there are to irritate us on a daily basis. Life situations will always present an opportunity to get angry, fearful, jealous, etc. Even though it’s tempting to fight, run away or avoid them in the end they must be faced. When the normal agitations of life get stirred up we simply learn to recognize these are only emotions and they are not in charge! Walking after the Spirit is about seeing through the appearances and emotions of things to the truth behind them and seeing God in it. Seeing God in each and every situation brings confidence, purpose and good into it.
I’ll leave you with one personal example of this. When Tracey and I were married the first time, when I was on drugs, we seldom talked about our problems. I tended to isolate myself and avoid any problem solving all together. This of course never satisfied Tracey because she, oddly enough, wanted me to communicate with her. After I was born again, and I began to open up about what was going on inside me, it became very liberating.
I remember after Tracey and I became a couple again I said to her, “Are you sure you want to know what I’m thinking?” She said, “Yes.” I warned her I wasn’t going to hold back how I felt and asked her again “Do you think you can handle raw, brutal honesty” and she said, “Yes.” We made an agreement to deal with one another in this fashion with the understanding that we would be able to deal with problems better if we weren’t hampered by emotional blockades. This doesn’t mean we say everything that comes to mind. Of course that would only create more problems wouldn’t it? Part of being led by the Spirit is having self-control so we agreed to let the Bible be our final say rather than feelings that were only going to last a little while anyway. Since then we always look to see what the scriptures say when making decisions and sometimes it isn’t easy to do, but we know it’s the only way.
Written by Louie