Last week, while we were serving our monthly dinner at the homeless shelter, a resident poured his heart out. It was a cool moment, actually. We’ve been at this for about a half a year now, and we’re started to really connect with some of the men. This guy’s story, like many if not most homeless, had addiction in his past. But that day, he was proud. Proud that he’s better. Proud that, while not feeling ready to be released into the wild quite yet, was on the right track.
As a way of empathy and solidarity, I offered that most people medicate their pain in some fashion. Brene Brown in Daring Greatly says the same: “I believe we all numb our feelings. We may not do it compulsively and chronically, which is addiction, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t numb our sense of vulnerability.”
If this is true, which I believe it is, then this man’s feeling of humble triumph over his addiction should get me thinking. Have I even identified where I cope with unpleasant feelings in unhealthy ways? Wait, have I even identified those feelings and the causes behind them?
You know, I’m not a homeless addict but I think I have some work to do.