Letter #4: False Confidence Based on Feelings Summary
Letter #4: False Confidence Based on Feelings Summary
In letter 4 Marcus talks about feelings, what they are, what they mean, and how to deal with them. We learn that feelings will not kill us, they don’t even really hurt us. If we look at them for what they are, our life will become much easier.
We also learn that as alcoholics we tend to be affected by our feelings much more then the normal person. We drink because it makes us feel better. Drinking becomes the solution to make us feel better when we are angry, stressed, sad, or lonely. Drinking gives us more self confidence or helps us cope with a fight with our significant other.
The media even tries to tell us that alcohol makes things better. They bombard us with commercials of people drinking and having a great time, or drinking and enjoying a tender, precious moment.
But what happens to the alcoholic is, we feel better temporarily but in reality, there are still issues we are dealing with under the surface. When we drink we just push off that underlying issue. When we wake up the next day, the issue is still there and on top of that we are hung over and feel like crap. Then we start to wallow in self-pity and decide to drink again because we know we will feel better.
Or maybe we get in an argument. We are angry and decide to drink to calm down. Then we start to feel like a tough guy and decide that we are going to win that argument weather we are right or wrong. We feel like we’ve won but actually we just drove the person away.
Or maybe you grew up like Marcus in an uncertain world. No one in your life you could depend on. No one in your life that showed you any love or acknowledgement. Maybe you grew up with violence and you had to learn how to survive it.
You had to learn how to adapt. You had to be on guard and ready to respond to anything at any time. Things coming at you from every direction. You were constantly overwhelmed. You felt ready to explode but just wanted some peace.
Your life might be in shambles. You may have issues with family, money, job. You may have legal issues, health issues. You have serious issues and on top of that you can’t stop drinking.
Marcus says here, “fuck all your issues”. It probably makes you mad, but it needs to be said. In fact, many of the issues were caused by you anyway. You are screwing up your own life. We know, we understand. We’ve been there, we’ve screwed up our own lives and didn’t see it. It was always someone else’s fault.
But what happened is no one taught us the rules for life. No one taught us how feelings and emotions work in our life. It doesn’t have to be this way. Marcus will show you the way out. A new way to live life.
So first we have to look at our emotions.
Marcus defines emotion as something meaning motion.
Emotion is an energy moving around inside your body making you feel certain things based on your beliefs and experience.
Marcus explains how some crazy cat lady can have all sorts of insane thoughts because of her emotions. She has a lot of fear of what other people think about her and her cats. She wants the fear to go away so she tries to think about what to do. She dwells on insane thoughts because of the fear of things that happened to her because of the cats and things that could happen again. Her fear is an emotion she just wants to run from.
The emotion of fear is not a bad thing unless we start to give it meaning and power.
Sometimes the fear can be an unjustified fear. Like a fear of going to church and being afraid everyone is judging you or just looking at you. Or a fear of people seeing you eat in a public place. But maybe these fears stem from something that happened in the past that was real and something to genuinely fear. It can be hard to deal with these feelings.
But we can look at it for what it is: an emotion, a feeling. It won’t kill us. So try to just accept yourself. It’s ok to have feelings, good and bad. These feelings and emotions were set up by you to protect yourself from harm. There is nothing wrong with feeling and thinking the way you do.
Marcus goes on to explain that now it’s time to let go and understand your feelings for what they are……. feelings.
Here’s the bottom line, feelings won’t kill you, but if you keep drinking, alcohol probably will kill you. So, if you drink to cover up your feelings with alcohol, you are covering something that won’t kill you with something that will. Crazy HUH?
Another thing about feelings is that you can’t out think them. Your feelings are going to happen. You have to learn how to live with them. You have to learn how to work with them in a productive way.
You can deal with your emotions without having a drink. When you realize this your life will become much better. You will have good days and bad days, but you don’t have to drink anymore.
You only need to have 2 or 3 really good ideas to beat this:
You can call someone like a sponsor or go to a support group
You can go to a 12 step meeting
You can meditate or just pause and sit quietly
You can tell your self you can drink tomorrow but today you will stay sober
Remember that life is not happening to you, you are part of life. You must be careful. Life can be going great even for a long time and then bam! You get this feeling that you didn’t even notice, and you pick up a drink. That’s the lizard brain waiting for you to let your guard down. For an alcoholic, it’s not the 20th drink that gets you drunk, it’s the first drink. Because once we have one, we will have many many more. It may not happen now or even weeks from now, but if an alcoholic has a drink they will go back to where they were or worse than they were before.
Marcus tells us it’s now time to make the pact again….. Don’t drink even if your ass falls off!!!!!!!!!!!