Now that we’ve explored brokenheartedness and sexual sobriety, we will break down achievable action steps:
Although Emotional Sobriety can be defined in many different ways, each of you can choose what it really means to you. Because it’s a subjective experience, one person may describe it very differently from the next. This is my definition:
- The capacity to experience the fullness of life.
- A resilient, resourceful, regulated state of well-being.
- When you feel most like yourself.
Action Step: How do you define Emotional Sobriety? Write your definition and keep it in a place where you can refer to it regularly possibly on a post-it or on your computer.
Here are the 4 R’s of Emotional Sobriety I developed and some simple action steps to support each of them:
- Relax: How do you truly relax? Not simply vegging in front of the tv, but actually physiologically relaxing. Action Step: Name a few simple ways you can truly relax.
- Regulate: When you’re not regulated, you may become rageful, highly-anxious, disconnected or depressed. One form of nervous system regulation is through grounding.
Action Step: Sit in a comfortable chair and notice your breath. Just observe it. Then notice the weight of your body being supported by the chair. Continue to notice what’s happening inside of you—any thoughts, feelings or sensations. Stay aware of your mind and body for approximately one minute as your system begins to feel more balanced.
- Respond: When you react quickly, you automatically feel ungrounded. Here are just a few simple action steps to respond rather than react:
- Take deep breaths
- Practice meditation daily
- Bite your tongue
- Relate: Cultivating emotionally-reliable relationships is a cornerstone to Emotional Sobriety. There are three primary sources of connection: connection to self, connection to others and connection to a power greater than yourself.
- How do you want to connect to yourself in a more meaningful way?
- How do you want to connect with others who you trust and respect?
- How do you want to connect to a Universal Energy or Higher Power?
In summary, the more you practice Emotional Sobriety, your vulnerability to relapse will diminish. And it’s a practice just like anything else—something to prepare for as in a fire drill. Practice the 4 R’s—relax, regulate, respond, relate. Lean into the love around you and observe yourself without judgment as you bring more Emotional Sobriety into your recovery.