We hear the term “emotional security” quite a bit in 12-Step programs of recovery. Many of us have seemingly placed our emotional security in the hands of others our entire lives. We have based our actions and decisions on what others want and need, as a means of maintaining personal safety. In return, we expect others to do the same for us, putting our security above their own and validating our thoughts and emotions. But what exactly does all this mean? And how do we achieve emotional security independent of others?
Breaking Down Patterns That Threaten Emotional Security
In the fourth step of the 12-Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), there are four columns of information that you are asked to complete. This inventory breaks down all our existing resentments. We make a list of all people with whom we feel resentful. In the first column, we list a name. In the second, we explain the cause of the resentment. Next, we discuss the parts of self that were threatened as a result. The final column is where we describe and own our part.
The purpose of this process is to bring awareness to the behavior patterns that have kept us in perpetual cycles of pain and suffering throughout our lives. We often find that we are responsible for the decisions and actions that put our emotional security at risk. Once we can recognize this truth, we are well on our way to being accountable for our actions and changing our behaviors moving forward.
Emotional security is when we place our emotional welfare in someone else’s hands. This brings on expectations that someone can make us feel better or change how we feel. When we place our emotions and feeling in other people’s hands, there are often two results. The first reason is that people will always fall short. The second reason is that when they inevitably do fall short of our expectations, the anger that we should direct towards ourselves for giving away our power, we direct onto other people. As a result, we end up resentful and put our recovery at risk.
Take your power back. Recognizing a tendency towards codependent behaviors opens up space to act differently. If you are struggling with difficult emotions, try seeking strength within yourself. Take note of your feelings and needs, and make a commitment to show up for them. Set boundaries with others, and base your decisions and actions on what best serves you. Fill your cup first. Your emotional security will thank you.
Instead of giving power away to others, try seeking power through connection with something greater than yourself. When you tap into a spiritual connection, it becomes easier to trust yourself and your decision making. Seeking strength and guidance from your higher power will give you a sense of perpetual peace, serenity, and emotional security, regardless of what you may be feeling or experiencing at any given moment.
Emotional security doesn’t happen overnight. It takes consistent work to achieve this sense of internal stability. The process of recovery teaches you slowly and over time, how to begin trusting yourself and feeling safe with your emotions. This experience can be difficult in the beginning, but it is possible and you don’t have to do it alone. At Avalon Malibu, we have a team of experienced professionals, committed to guiding you as you navigate these uncertain waters. Call us today for more information at (844) 857-5992.