When Your Emotions Run High

I never thought of myself as an overly emotional person. There were times when I cried or got upset about things (like most people), but for the most part, I didn’t ever think I would be controlled by my emotions. That changed when alcohol shaped me in a way I wasn’t expecting. Many people think that if someone has an issue with alcohol, when they quit drinking, things will automatically get better. I used to think the same thing. However, after I walked out of treatment in 2011, I found out that I was really a walking ball of emotions. I couldn’t understand it at first but then I realized the years of heavy drinking and living in my own world really did a number on me emotionally. I experienced a lot of “head trash”; one day would be completely amazing and the next day would be the low of lows.

I started understanding that alcohol was the way I used to cope with all the issues I’d encountered over my life. What I was doing with alcohol — covering things up — was the real problem. After treatment, I looked at all the things that had happened to me. Moments of heartbreak, my football career ending, and other things along the way. All of these moments pointed to one thing — that my emotions were what needed to be catered to. I could see that I had been struggling with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. I could see seeds of doubt and fear.When the alcohol left they stayed. I had to re-learn how to not be led by my emotions. Sometimes, how I felt wasn’t an accurate picture of what was happening.Just because I didn’t feel amazing everyday didn’t mean it was a bad day.

I have found that once you get your emotions under control, your day to day activity can be very productive. For me, a lot of it was understanding that I’m responsible for my actions, and no matter what is thrown at me I can choose to respond in a positive way. The healing process is never easy but it’s the only way to be able to progress and move forward in your life. It calls for a lot of self reflection. It calls for looking at the actual pain you have experienced in your life. It calls for a lot of uncomfortable conversations with people. I would highly recommend that those conversations are with people you trust as well as those who have been your shoes.

The main thing healing calls for is action. Taking action is something not many who have had these experiences actually do. Instead, it’s a common practice to bury it deep down. The biggest problem with that is when that person is triggered those emotions come back to the surface, and the issue never gets dealt with. A lot of these are tied to what are I call “generational curses”. Things happen in people’s lives and they never solve the problem. Instead, it just keeps getting passed down the lineage.

Emotions to me are the elephants in the room that nobody want to talk about. Especially in today’s society, if you aren’t cheery and full of positive energy nobody wants to know about it. I believe that if we talk about our emotions, understand things happen in life,and that hurt is something we are going to experience, we can heal. If we have someone that cares about our feelings and helps us to take action to try to heal from those painful experiences, we can change the dynamic of our lives. We can live the future we were created to live in this lifetime. And, we can break the generational curses for our own lineage.

In our lives it is inevitable we will all experience emotional pain at some point, and we all have a choice in how we react to the things that happen to us. I can promise you that if you think about how you will react to situations before they happen, it will create a lot less emotion in the long run.

I will be touching on this topic in future blog posts, because it’s important, and because it can change your life how it has changed mine. Until then, remember that how you feel doesn’t have to determine how you live.

Alcohol Gave Me A Sense of Belonging

I remember when I was a sophomore in High School, I would often hear about these parties a kid would always throw. Every single weekend he would have a bonfire. These parties got so big that all the seniors in school would frequently attend. I remember one day thinking that I no longer want to be out of the loop. So I walked up to him at football practice and told him I wanted in. He looked at me surprised, and said, “really?” That was the first time I ever got drunk. I was drinking a King Cobra — 40 oz. Yuck. That was the first time I really felt like I was a part of something.

I know what you’re thinking. Really, Bobby? You have never felt like you fit in before? No. I grew up the middle child and was always being compared to my brother. He always got good grades in the classroom, rarely ever got in trouble, and was always respectful. On top of that, he was good at sports at a young age. It felt like everyone always wanted me to be like someone else. So I started acting like someone else.

When I speak, I say that I never used to give people the accurate version of me, and that was very true. I was just a young kid trying to find my way. I was trying to find exactly where I was supposed to be but that didn’t end well. As I got older and I tried to be someone I wasn’t, alcohol was the only thing I found that accepted me for exactly who I was. This turned out to be a relief for me. So I would try harder and harder to fit in and it took me further and further away from who I really was. I never felt like people understood who I was but alcohol did.

This continued until one day I woke up and had no money. My family didn’t want a whole lot to do with me. I was homeless — not on the street but I didn’t have my own place — and it had left me more alone than when I started. In May of 2011, I decided to check myself into Keystone Treatment Center in Canton, South Dakota. Turns out, that place was full of people who were just trying to gain a sense of belonging their whole life too. There, I found a community of people just like me who had many talents. They all had ambitious goals, and dreams, and because they were also accepted by addictions those were all lost. It was the first time where I really felt at home. It was a place where for the first time in my life I had to get real with myself and look in the mirror. At the time, I didn’t like who I saw.

In that place there were countless people who were discovering who they really were for the first time. This is very scary because we have never been comfortable before in our own skin. After 30 days I walked out of that place with a better understanding of who Bobby Jones was, and then the real journey began.

For the first time in my life, I knew people genuinely wanted to see me succeed. I walked away understanding that I wasn’t alone and that others were in this fight with me. And my sense of belonging came in the form of others who didn’t quite fit in like me. I found out we were all humans and we all deserved a second chance. I discovered that all I had to be was me — nothing more and nothing less. I found out that I like the person I am, even if someone else doesn’t. I found out that a sense of belonging is individual — there is no standard for it — and who we become is where we belong.