Sometimes I want to act out. The precise nature of the behaviour is irrelevant. Most people in recovery act out in some way or other. We can define acting out as engaging in behaviour that shuts down our other feelings through numbing or excitement, but with consequences that ultimately make the feelings worse.
When presented with the choice of acting out or not acting out, it can seem that the choice is between being trapped in an airless room (not acting out) or wandering in a largely barren landscape (acting out). The former is more frightening, because there is (apparently) no freedom and no hope—at least the barren landscape seems to offer choice and possibility.
I have learned that if I can ask God’s strength to remain in the airless room, the walls actually dissolve, and rich reality floods in. Over time and with work on the Steps, I stop finding myself trapped in the airless room.
By contrast, the barren landscape can go on forever, and the longer I spend there, the harder it is to leave and the greater the temptation to return.