Feeling despondent is foreign to me. So, when I was contemplating writing about it, I had no idea what direction it would take. I’m not even sure that is what I am feeling, but despondent is close enough today.
I am, by nature, a relatively positive person. I am sure there are some who may view that as me having a Pollyanna disposition, and that’s okay. I’ve probably been called worse in my lifetime. But that really does not apply. I am not naïve. Beneath the smile and what may appear to be an irresponsible attitude, an underlying current of foreboding swells and flows in my invisible ocean of fear. Does that require me to adopt negativity as my companion? No. Nor does it obligate me to don a menacing mask that drags others down. Misery loves company need not apply.
So, I am aware of concerns and consequences. And today I am weighed down with the reality of the pandemic to which the entire world has been subjected. To date, only one family member has contracted COVID-19, and he is on the road to recovery. Maybe this tug on my normal resilience is embedded in that “Who’s next?” And when is the other shoe going to drop syndrome?
If you’re wondering why this nagging pondering was deemed fitting for a recovery blog, it’s because it is. Addiction, whether to drugs or alcohol, tends to exacerbate all of our fears, our inadequacies, (imagined or not} and a host of other negative emotions. So how do we overcome these damaging anxieties?
In our twelve- step programs we learn that acceptance is the key to all of our problems. That doesn’t mean we have to like the situation, but before we can deal with it, we must at least acknowledge it. And today I’m doing that by putting down the word despondent on this stark white sheet of paper where it can no longer be denied. I might even go to rhyme zone, look up the synonyms and see how many apply and which ones do not.
By parsing it, I am likely to get in touch with how I really feel. This is part of my acceptance process. I get to decide that yes, perhaps I am sad, glum, and weary. But I am not hopeless, heartsick, or disconsolate. So many descriptions; each word carrying so much weight. If they all applied, I would be overburdened to the point of true despair.
The good news is that already I am beginning to feel better. This one little exercise has helped to lift me out of my predicament. And even if it is only temporary fix, it gives me an opportunity to apply the other tools available to me; remembering to stay in the moment, picking up the phone and sharing my feelings with another alcoholic, or going to a meeting. My toolbox is brimming, full of instruments at my disposal. All I have to do is unlock it.