Feeling low in mood or energy - grab another cup of coffee. Frustrated with my work or sensing the stress of my coworkers - go outside for a smoke. Lonely, sad, generally lacking power - eat a muffin.
My addictions are reactions that mask how I feel so that I can push on with the matter at hand or steal a quick break from it. I imagine that they protect me from the world around me - from that thing or person who is messing with me. But with a little pause and thought, I recognize that my addictions are "protecting" me from me. They block, bypass, or stuff my emotions into a form that I can't perceive. My addictions keep my emotions neatly contained.
Oh, but I don't want to be a "neatly contained" person. Granted, I can't have my emotions running roughshod over my life either, but there's got to be a middle ground where I can feel what I feel and express it in a way that works with being an engaged human being interacting with other human beings and getting stuff done. And I don't think we get to pick and choose which emotions we lock away; they stick together.
I want to be an emotion-full, juicy person. Someone who perceives her feelings and can live in them. I want to recognize and understand other people's feelings and be able to empathize and support folks without taking their emotions on as my own. I want to cultivate my creativity and connections and all that rich, succulent life that emotions sustain.
I think I'm on the right path for this. I already have the Beloved Therapist and the Kind Naturopaths eager to help me take on these challenges. The diet diary has opened my eyes to the relationship between my food and my feelings. I plan to continue the log to include when I drink coffee and when I smoke. Initially, it will be a project of awareness - noticing the feelings that lead to each action. Then, I will grow into choosing healthier actions to respond to or even express the feelings.
All of this is part of my self care. Shedding my addictions fosters a healthier, happier me, which further equips me to tend a healthier, happier world through my family, my community, and the bigger issues I participate in.