Why Feelings Aren’t Always Facts
But aren’t they? I always thought that feelings were facts, because they felt real. I mean isn’t love a fact? Or anger? Or happiness or joy? I think so! But then I discovered that I had many feelings that were really negative and I believed them all to be true.
I have learned that although feelings feel real, most feelings are based on fear, fear based on our old ideas, fear based on things we believed for years and carried them in from previous experiences. I believed that I was a lousy human being because I was often told so as a child. Because I believed this, I felt like a lousy human being. This feeling was very real but it was not a fact at all! The fact was that the person saying this to me was trying to hurt me and the fact was that I was not a lousy human being. I gave the feelings power because I didn’t know any better. Then I carried them into my adulthood until I got sober and realized that my belief was not based on facts.
But how do you get rid of these feelings when you have created them yourself? My destructive drinking not only made my life unmanageable but it skewed my own perception of me. My alcoholism caused behavior, made me I feel like I was a bad daughter, a bad friend, a bad employee. I felt like I was a bad person because I could not control my drinking. I felt so much guilt and shame for things that I did while drinking that once again I believed that I was a lousy human being!
Recently, I have been going thru a rough patch and it just dawned on me that I have been placing those feelings on myself again! Then I remembered what I learned a while back:
Thoughts are not feelings and feelings are not facts; they only have the power we give them.
I gave my feelings and thoughts the power! The truth is that I am not a lousy human being,I have a disease called Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) , and it’s not based on lack of morals or poor upbringing, and it most definitely was not something I chose. I did not to have this disease when I grew up! NO, that was not my dream EVER! And the pain that I have inflicted on me and others was driven by my addiction – addiction which consumed me and progressively got worse and even more damaging. That was not who I really was or who I wanted to be! And this is not who I am today.
My dream was to be happy and live a good life. My dream was to be a good human being and sobriety gave me that! Sobriety allowed me not live based on negative feelings about me or negative feelings placed on me by others. Living a good, honest and clean life allows me to be confident, kind and thoughtful. And when I, sometimes still place negative feelings on myself I have to stop and ask:
Are these feelings facts?
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)*, please check out the Sober Courage menu at the top of this page for an extensive list of support groups and recovery related articles.
*Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using (Ref: NIAAA).