We Have More Influence over Painful Emotions than You Think

Nobody’s happy all the time — fluctuating moods are a universal part of the human experience

Jim Farina


Photo by Sam Moghadam Khamseh on Unsplash

I had a regretful experience recently. I was prescribed medication for social anxiety, where it’s stated in no uncertain terms not to mix the meds with alcohol. I thought I could handle it. I went horribly overboard.

I was beyond sloppy. I did and said some regrettable things, and It seems I irreparably destroyed some close relationships. I lost my way that long night. I was a train wreck.

One thing about shame is that it makes us change if we wield it properly. In my case, it was the one-two punch of guilt and a kick in the gut from a lost friendship due to my poor choice.

Something of an intervention took place following that episode. An injunction was laid before me by a couple of friends. “Straighten up, or you’re on your own.”

The ultimatum struck hard. It was a direct hit — torpedo to the hull. I had some fits and starts. I salvaged this sunk wreck from the cold, dark depths. The framework is sound. It’s now a matter of rebuilding the bulkheads. In this case, it’s body, mind, and soul.

As of this posting, I’m two weeks alcohol-free and reduced the medication by half. I’ve focused on my health — eating fresh and well-balanced. I’ve ramped up my exercise routine and taken up daily running. I journal regularly and meditate every morning.

I’m back into my bibles. Yes, that’s plural, as I have multiple translations of the Bible. I gain much wisdom from Meditations, the writings of the Roman Emperor, philosopher, and stoic, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (A.D, 121–180).

Feeling Good by David D. Burns, MD, is another book I’m currently reading in preparation for my upcoming therapy treatments. The book and the counseling are focused on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Lastly, I’m writing more as a creative outlet.

The decision to retire and focus more on my mental health has also come from this. I recently decided to go another year or more, but the one lapse in judgment has changed that course for me. Better to focus on my mental and physical well-being.