After I came out of denial and faced the reality that my beloved partner was a sexaholic, I experienced terrible emotional pain, especially fear. It seemed like much of the time I felt so overwhelmed by those emotions that I actually became the fear and pain.
To calm myself, I have found that it helps to first acknowledge my pain and fear. Just noticing my emotions allows me to separate myself from those awful nagging feelings. This distance helps me see that I am not just a lump of pain or fear – I am more than my emotions. One of our S-Anon slogans says, “This Too Shall Pass.” In thirty minutes (or a day or week), I may well feel better.
I also focus on observing my breathing as a method of detaching from my obsessive thoughts and overwhelming feelings. By focusing on my breath and following the rising and falling of my abdomen, I actually slow down my racing thoughts, and I am released from obsession. Focusing on my physical body gently brings me back to key realities: I am a living, breathing being, and I am on a path led by my Higher Power.
I need not give in to despair or painful emotions. I can find relief in the present moment when I breathe, acknowledge my feelings, and remember that they are not permanent.
Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 335.