I started giving up the drink in 2011 and made a firm commitment last July.
One of the things my spiritual counselor told me after I committed to living clean is that I would start facing myself as I really am. Kind of like Luke in that cave on Degobah. But, I digress.
No, actually, I’ll stick with the Star Wars metaphor. My internal Darth Vader has been creeping out over the past year. It’s not a burning desire to drink, do drugs, buy fast cars, or cheat on my wife. No, my dark side is all about having a short fuse and a long memory. Minor incidents at work or home set me off. And once I’ve been set off, it’s quick and easy for me to return to that place.
I think one of the main reasons I started drinking after college was to relax myself. I was wound pretty tight back then and I feel like I’m heading that way again.
So, why not drink moderately to chill out? Well, for one, I’m allergic. Another is that alcohol masks and exacerbates my anger, anxiety, and depression, but it doesn’t actually make me confront them.
I’ve taught students that anger is a secondary emotion, and that it stems from a source of fear or hurt. I’m pretty sure I learned that lesson a long, long time ago. Fear is the path to the dark side, after all.
So, what are the roots of my anger? I’m not quite sure. When I solve that puzzle, I might be able to confront it.
I accept that dads get angry. I just don’t want my sons growing up in a house where they need to walk on eggshells around me.
So, I’m going on a mission for my inner Yoda. Posted will I keep you.
Recognizing that Anger is secondary to fear is an excellent place to begin. My teacher says that the fear is usually based on a false belief that has been somehow internalized; for a simple example – someone calls me “fat”. Though, in fact, I am not really fat, I fear that I am fat anyway – so I agree with the fat. I become fearful that if I am fat, I am not lovable. Suddenly, my entire sense of self and security is shaken, because suddenly, I believe myself to be unlovable. Childhood abandonment issue rear their ugly head… I am now unlovable, worthless, and will die because no one will take care of me. Suddenly, I am a big victim, helpless in the world… then, another part of my personality (or computer virus – if you will) – comes forward to be the hero, and save me from that horrid person who just said I was fat….. and I become angry, outraged – how could that person SAY such a thing! Now, of course, none of this drama is considered or thought out – it happens in a nanosecond….
But my anger and fear all stem from a part of me that feels worthless, and unlovable, because part of me believes this is so (no matter that I am quite accomplished, and very well loved.). So, in the end, it is a false belief that has triggered all this internal drama. (Whereas, if someone calls me stupid, it has no such impact – I have NO belief system where I consider myself stupid.).
Check out Don Miguel Ruiz…. I think you’d really like him.