It is not a question of being happy or satisfied but to feel the fire inside. -Anais Nin
Recovery means learning to experience the full landscape of feelings and emotions that life so magnificently provides us. Our addictions, however, represent a misguided and often desperate attempt to curtail our lives into predictable and desirable bits that fit within the range of emotional experiences that are acceptable to us. Once we break the specific bond to the form that our addictions have taken, we must find a way to learn to feel fully, again. This requires a learning process, one through which we learn to identify the feelings that we were protecting ourselves from through the mechanics of our addictions. Once we identify that which we had accidentally attempted to protect ourselves from, we can start learning to open ourselves up to experiencing these feelings, and in so doing, reintroduce ourselves to this fuller spectrum of emotions. This describes the process of vulnerability, the idea at the heart of addiction recovery and emotional health, in general. When we become more vulnerable, not only will we no longer need the protection that our addictions dubiously promised, but we open ourselves up to the “fire inside,” the full spectrum of emotions that make life so precious and full.