When to wallow and when to stand!

Or, FEAR, the trigger to make a stand!

You may remember, I mentioned a blog or two ago that I had been asked to leave a ‘mens drop in group’.

As someone who has difficulties sometimes, with anxiety, as well as being a Libran, I have given the matter some serious consideration. There are possibly two reasons for the action taken by the organisers, one is worthy of discussion here and is the subject matter of the title.

When something bad happens it’s natural to spend some time wallowing in it. Retreat to safe place and process what’s happened. You see it in the animals we live with for example, if my dogs have got themselves into a difficulty, or hurt themselves they will go to their bed and spend some considerable time cleaning themselves. ‘Licking their wounds’, as it were.  Often children will go to their rooms.  They often don’t need to be asked, they just go. Often as adults it’s one of the many criteria for, ‘I need a drink’ or ‘I need a cigarette’.

It’s part of a natural process, a stage we all have to go through.  There are different ‘stages’ for all of the experiences we go through. There are five stages for grieving; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

There are twelve stages of recovery from addiction according to the AA (alcoholics anonymous). 

However you want to look at it, there’s a need to wallow and absorb what has happened, or is happening. A time to think things through is an important part of organising your thoughts.  At some point, you’ll either decide you don’t want to, or perceive you can’t, address whatever has caused you pain or distress. You go back to the ‘safe’ perception and wallow.  Humans will often endure the safety of the ‘known’, even if it’s a really bad place to be, because it’s known and anything else is ‘unknown’, even if it might be better.

‘It’s not until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change will anyone make a change’. I think we can all identify with that statement, well, once we’ve figured out what it means.  It’s the reason why battered women stay in an abusive relationships.

However, once we’ve made a decision that something has to change, a safe place, a drop in centre can be the next step.  A vital one too.  It’s incredibly difficult to ask for help, sometimes even walking in through the door to one of these centres is hard. That one I know about.

Just being there is a major step forward. I know that and understand that. It’s an important stage to go through in any healing process.  The tricky part is working out when to make the change and actually address the issue, whatever it is.

Soon you realise the danger of actually saying something and talking about why you’re there is OK too. However, that can become the next wallow stage. I’m not saying you shouldn’t stay in that stage, however, I do believe you shouldn’t be encouraged to stay in it. A regular feature of drop in centres is talking around an issue or concern and sharing feelings or experiences. Vital, to be honest, a major part of a drop-in centre.

This is where I believe I became unstuck.  As well as sharing my feelings and experiences, I would offer a suggestion for people to try if they wanted to, either on their own at home, or at another organised event. 

Yes, sometimes organised by me, sometimes not, but events that were free of charge, designed to help people find a little peace. Coming from a business point of view I know that collaboration is where the greatest success can often lay. In this case the need, or outcome, is not financial, it’s people’s happiness and an inner peace.

You could feel the tension rise from those running the group when I began to speak.  Pretty soon I was asked not to come any more.

I urge those working to help other people to work together and not see other people or agencies as a threat. You can probably tell I’m trying really hard here not to rant. The organisers, who are doing a great job I might add, were so afraid of someone they perceived as a threat, they shut the door rather than look for opportunities to progress the recovery of those in their ‘safe place’.

There were several people who had been looking to attend other events who have lost that opportunity.  It’s hard to know when to stop wallowing and when to stand as it is, its harder when opportunities are affected by decisions beyond your control.

I suggest setting yourself some ground rules. How long are you prepared to put up with your current situation if it’s not right, and you know it’s not right, before you do make a change?

Whatever you do, don’t let fear make that decision for you.

Personally, fear is my trigger to take a step forwards. What’s yours?

Simon Pollard  Urban Countryman, March 2024.

Similar Posts