“Courage is grace under pressure.” – Ernest Hemingway
We face many different types of pressure in the expectations of daily life. Pressure to perform, to fit in, to make deadlines, to do the right thing, to make the most of our time. The recovering alcoholic or addict faces additional pressures, including but not limited to, pressures from the disease concept to start using again, and pressures from the recovery concept to stay sober.
Unless excelling in all aspects of life just comes naturally to you, there will always be pressures to field and manage. However, just because something may be difficult, does not necessitate that it a negative. Some pressures, if managed properly, can be beneficial to your quality of living. For example, pressures in a work environment can lead to a self-motivation which will result in a successful professional life – definitely a good thing.
As addicts and alcoholics, we must also be wary that any of these pressures, positive or negative, become too internalized and morph into anxiety – we do have a tendency to spend a lot of time in our own heads, trying to do things our own way. It is near impossible to face the dual pressures of recovery (one that wills you to use, and one that wills you not to) alone. By consistently attending meetings and sharing our weighty struggles, we absolve ourselves of the power they hold over us.
The Zutons – Pressure Point
I once found that whenever I would feel unbearably overwhelmed by pressures of work, social stature, life, and so on, the fuse on my temper ran short and I was easily heated (compounded further when heavily using alcohol). I tend to become emotionally effected whenever I disappoint a superior via my own poor decision-making or performance, so I take pressures on the job very seriously. In the past, I had a very difficult time managing all of these external and internal influences.
An astronomical amount of internal and external pressures is also required for things like the creation of the entire universe as we know it.
Through meditation and reflection, I have begun to minimize the personal nature of such emotions and pressures. I must remain calm and collected – to let anger over situations out of my control take the wheel would mean I’m that much closer to a drink. Nothing is worth picking up a drink for. This is why I aim to maintain balance in my day-to-day emotional state – hitting the extremes on my emotional spectrum places me at a higher risk of succumbing to the impending will of my disease.