Two-speed Chaz

May 31, 2010

I used to have two setting; Elated or Enraged.  There were very few point in between.  Not until I was nearly 40 years of age did I learn that there were a whole range of intermediate setting for my emotions.  One of which was disappointment.

In my pre-recovering thinking, any let down was cause to switch to the Enraged setting.  And manifest this setting by either raging, fearing, depressing, pouting, drinking, or shutting down.  Yes, I am talking about during my adulthood.

Disappointment is that setting just a few notches in from “Normal” that I now switch to when something doesn’t turn out like I hoped it would.  It involves a little pain, which I accept as part of the setting.  But I know now that the pain is never enough to kill me and that it will eventually pass.  So I just let it pass through and if need be, talk to someone which always helps.  I no longer have to switch all the way to Enraged when little to medium things don’t work out.  I have a place to go emotionally that is far safer and becoming very familiar.

In active alcoholism, I wonder how many of us sought to be on the elated side of things, aided by our grandiose thinking and drinking.  And when we weren’t in these elated states, we sunk to some form of dark enraged irritability?  Did we know that a Normal setting even existed?  Or did we bounce back and forth in a bi-polar fashion?

Sobering up limited our options to spend time in what we felt was elation.  We are now available to discover and function in many points on the emotional spectrum.  Isn’t this what most “normal” people do?





  1. I was very much like you in my active addiction/alcoholism. It was high or low and absolutely no in between. The dishwasher malfunctioning could literally send me into hysterics. I’m so glad for the program of AA and more recently I’m glad to have found this amazing network of bloggers in which we all share a common ground of trying to remain in recovery. thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for the reply Em… one of the amazing strengths of 12 step is the commonality of our behaviours and outlooks. For whatever reason, it took hearing similar things from others in order for most of us to finally listen and learn. We just couldnt seem to be able to be helped by others where were not type.



  2. I had trouble “feeling feelings.” There was drama, sometimes, for fun, I guess, but experiencing real feelings in a sober state was something completely new to me. Love the illustration of emotions! Some of us actually use those charts to help us interpret what we’re feeling LOL!

    • Hey So and So…

      Amazing isnt it how we as adults find ourselves on journies of discoveries of a variety of emotions that we at best, only ever heard about. So many of us never spent any time or realized the varied phases of emotions.

      The chart actually does serve a practical value in that it vividly shows that there are so many points on the emotional spectrum.

      Intersting to look at them in light-hearted illustration and realize that not one of the emotions expressed is fatal. We can experience them, even for prolonged periods, and not have to worry. They too will pass.



  3. so timely to read this today and will probably still be timely 5 minutes from now…loved this
    and needed it. the mulipication sign is following each of my emotions around today like a shadow…

  4. ah, this right brained missed the title…very clever (and funny)

    • Hey Cyndi… continues to amaze me the commonality of dysfunctions among so many of us. Which to me is why fellowship in any form of endeavor or recovery is so critical. Our experiences can be leveraged by one another.

      Ciao… Chaz

  5. Chaz

    I’ve been thinking about blogging and celebrity and anonymity ( http://stark-raving-sober.blogspot.com/2010/06/online-and-celebrity-anonymity-what.html ) and I’d love to hear your opinion.



    • Glad to! Done.

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