Anger, Sobriety and the Next Indicated Step

I have written this over and over and over again. I have deleted and re-written this more times than I care to admit.

This last 24 hours has been rough. I don’t tell you this for sympathy but to refrain from stuffing it down, hiding, compartmentalizing or denying it. It’s how I stay healthy and sane today; to feel the feels, to stand in my truth and then put one foot in front of the other and take the next indicated step, regardless of how small or how painful.

When I first got sober, I was angry. Really angry. It scared me how pissed I got; how intolerant and impatient I was. I spoke to my sponsor, at length, about it. Prayer and acknowledgement wasn’t the answer for me, finding the root cause and a solution was.

I am a willful person. This is AWESOME when you are trying to achieve something on your own (hence my success on the golf course). This is NOT awesome the rest of the time as willfulness in relationships and pretty much every day life causes aggravation as everyday life includes other people;  friends and spouses and parents and children and well, the guy in front of you at the gas station that doesn’t pump gas fast enough or the woman at Target that wants to write a check for a can of diet coke. You know… *PEOPLE.* The root cause, for me,  was two things: Control and Not Being Heard. I did a lot of digging and therapy and yoga and meditation and Soul searching to exorcise The Anger. I believe that anger is a good thing. It doesn’t need to be repressed but it also doesn’t need to be explosive and emotionally debilitating.

I am going to digress here. Do you remember the movie Pretty Woman? The one with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts? They were in the bathtub. And Richard was saying to Julia that he spent $10,000 in therapy to say “I was very angry with my Father”.

Although I am not angry with my Dad, I do get angry and frustrated about things. I still am miffed that I cannot control everything. {ha!}. But today, I am able to say how I feel “I am angry” or “That hurt my feelings” or “I just need to be heard.” It’s nothing earth shattering but speaking my truth has been an integral part of my healing. The second part of this is that sometimes it doesn’t matter. Sometimes, I am not heard. Sometimes, I say what I need or how I feel and it is met with resistance or with an inability to help.  *THAT* has been another learning experience.

So, after 7 years of digging; discovering, uncovering and discarding stuff around control and anger and not being heard… I have found out THE REAL REASON that this is my path. And it has nothing to do with me. {Shocking.} All of this work, all of the Blood, Sweat and Tears is not about me after all. It is about helping my son.

He is a beautiful boy. He is smart and funny, silly and inquisitive, empathetic and compassionate. He is also willful, wants to be heard and gets ANGRY when he doesn’t get his way.

So yesterday was bad. There is no need to go in to details but the melt down that ensued after he didn’t get his way scared me… and his Dad. It scared us because we couldn’t help him. It scared us because our sweet, loving, gentle little boy couldn’t get a hold of himself, couldn’t right the ship, couldn’t find a way to self -regulate and get unstuck. We were utterly helpless.

 The feelings all came rushing in.  I have felt this way. I have felt this way as an adult; watching myself drunk and out of control and unable to flip the switch; hurting myself, hurting others.

Days like yesterday used to be spent in the bar; drinking and forgetting and pushing away and shutting down. Although I didn’t hit the bar yesterday, I did get in to bed. I did binge on Quantico and vegetarian pizza. But today, I don’t have a hangover. I don’t have *another* problem because I drank and then drove and then got a DUI or in an altercation. Today I got up. Today I put one foot in front of the other. Today I took the next indicated step. Today I reached out and asked for help. Today I spoke to my husband and let him know how awful I feel and why.

Things are going to be okay. I am so grateful for the friends and professionals in our circle. I am grateful for my sobriety and the tools that I have to get me through hard days. I am grateful for the presence in my own life so that I be of service to my son. I am grateful for the 7 years of hard work I have done on my own issues so that I can bear witness to others.

The uncovering and discovering should never end. Elena Brower recently said two things that have stuck with me the last 24 hours {I am paraphrasing}; 1. The best teachers are the best learners. 2. The continual practice of being a yogini on and off the mat; not only the yoga studio but at home.

Today I am grateful for my willfulness. It got me up today. It keeps me going when there is some part of me that doesn’t want to. It pushes me to take the next indicated step; even if it is small, even if my legs feel like they weigh a ton, I take it.

Use the Think Box and the Play Box

Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott are perhaps two of the most successful teachers in the game today.

I say that because they coached Annika Sorenstam when she was dominating the LPGA Tour, and they also give advice to Yani Tseng, who is currently dominating the women’s game. But make no mistake, Nilsson and Marriott, founders of the Golf54 academy and Vision54 Coaching for the Future, also work with plenty of male golfers, including PGA Tour stalwart Kevin Streelman.

Nilsson and Marriott have written three books on golf with Golf World’s Ron Sirak. The latest, Play Your Best Golf Now, crystallizes the concept of the Think Box and the Play Box. Their first book, Every Shot Must Have a Purpose, however, introduces the concept. I think their approach will help you shoot lower scores almost immediately. Hey, if it works for Annika and Yani, why not give it a try.

Basically, Pia and Lynn contend that every shot has a decision line. That’s an imaginary line that divides the area where you do all your thinking and strategizing (the Think Box) from the area where you simply hit the shot (the Play Box). Annika was superb at this, says Sirak. Once she entered the Play Box, she never hesitated or became distracted. She simply went through her routine, trusted her technique and pulled the trigger. She left all of her thinking behind–in the Think Box.

Here is a short excerpt of the first book. Try their approach this weekend, and I bet you’ll play better golf.

As you stand in the THINK BOX you should consider all the variables for the shot: wind direction and strength, the lie of the ball (is it below your feet and will it thus fade away from your body?), the hazards you need to factor in, and, if you are in competition, the point at which you stand in the match. VERBALIZE your intentions for the shot. “I am going to hit a 6-iron at the tree behind the left corner of the green and the ball will fade toward the pin in the back right corner of the green. It is a good, firm 6-iron for me.” Imagine the shot you are going to hit.

The only time there is any indecision should be when you are in the THINK BOX. When you cross the DECISION LINE to hit the shot, there must be total commitment to the shot. If you get over the ball and are not comfortable with the decision you have made, back off, retreat to the THINK BOX, and come up with a plan in which you have trust. If you are going to be slow in any part of the game, it must be in the THINK BOX and not in the PLAY BOX. The DECISION LINE is the doorway from one room to another.

When you cross the line into the PLAY BOX, leave doubt behind, make your grip, aim the clubface, align the body, connect to the target, and hit your shot. The longer you wait to hit the shot the more opportunity there is for doubt–and tension–to creep into your mind and body. And remember what we said about tension being the most effective saboteur of the golf swing. Decide, commit, swing. It’s as simple as that.

Jen Yockey is a Class A member of the LPGA T&CP Division, Yoga For Golfers Certified Instructor, C.H.E.K. Golf Biomechanic, Mother of 1 rambunctious boy and 3 rescued pups. She teaches Yoga Fusion at Alexandrite on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00am. | 760.219.7953 |