The Big Red Book says that the return of feelings ushers in the second stage of recovery. This is an important milestone. When I entered recovery, I knew three words for feelings: happy, mad, and sad. I lacked the ability to experience or express the feelings that underlie much of my laundry list traits: abandonment, loneliness, fear and grief. I also lacked access to the feelings that underlie the Promises, such as joy, excitement and the beautiful feeling of connection.
Working through the Yellow Step Workbook, I realized why I didn’t know about feelings. I had shut down the feeling sensor in me because I feared being vulnerable. Today, I treasure fellow travellers who ask me “how does that make you feel?” I pause, take a breathe, ask my inner children how they feel, and then respond honestly.
In my home group, we ask each week, “Does anyone have a success to report?” It is heartwarming to see others in recovery learn to reclaim their feelings and feel safe enough to share them. That is truly a success in recovery.