© by Robin M. Gilliam
Once upon a time I used drugs, alcohol, and food to process life. Any and all life.
I don’t like to deal with feelings, so shoving them down with outside substances worked for a while – but only for a short while. Then I had to use again.
When I stopped using on 2/6/91 I had to learn to deal with years of emotions that were shoved so far down that they seamed rooted in a cesspool of anger. I had to deal with a lost baby, almost dying from crack cocaine, and being mentally abused and raped by my first husband.
Picture by creative applications.net
Anger was the only emotion I understood and it gave me an outlet. I was a screamer. I learned at an early age that I had to scream to be heard. But I also realized that no one was really listening to me. So the frustration built and the rage boiled over like hot lava from a dormant volcano. As I got louder I got less understandable. I even turned to self-harming by slamming my fists against my body to make the internal pain stop. Needless to say, I ended up with self-inflicted bruises and mental anguish that still screamed inside my head.
Today, 25 years into recovery, I process life a lot differently. A couple of my favorite tools are the serenity prayer and a blank canvas or journal page. I use the serenity prayer throughout my day to quiet my mind and keep me calm, especially during a difficult situation.
When I feel emotions bubbling up, I reach for a blank canvas or journal page to process and express them. To keep my recovery strong, I need to get this stuff out so it doesn’t fester its way into a trigger to use. I pick colors that talk to me depending on my mood. A big blob of red paint goes along way for expressing and releasing anger.
I just squirt a big giant blob onto a canvas, take an old credit card and start to spread it out. I add different colors depending on my mood. Then I layer with pictures, images from magazines and old books, stencils, stamps and more paint – releasing the layers of emotions that need to escape. I usually end up adding some bling-bling to remind me that this too shall pass!
Today I use prayer and creative expression to process life and keep me serene. Serenity is the ultimate tool against addiction because addiction can not entertain a quiet mind.