Tools in the Toolkit

Now that the cat’s out of the bag with my sobriety, let’s talk about the different tools at my disposal that are key to staying clean and sober, baby. 

  1. Being honest (this is number one for a reason)
    1. Honesty about what I’m feeling, what I wish to be feeling instead, and my resistance to feeling “life on life’s terms”
    2. Honesty about where I’m causing undue suffering with my expectations of how I think reality should be presenting itself to me
    3. Honesty about my beliefs and pre-existing judgements that contribute to a suffering-based mindset
  2. Jazzercise
    1. Not really jazzercise- but exercise in general. Getting completely out of my mind, into this body that I call mine. Into the present moment. 
    2. Surfing 
    3. Running
    4. Yoga 
    5. Weightlifting
    6. Playing with my niece 
    7. Swimming 
  3. Friends
    1. I like to handle my emotional “stuff” on my own. I don’t think it’s fair to put your baggage on other people unless:
      1. They’ve consented
      2. You’ve exhausted all other tools in your toolkit
    2. My friends are there when my other tools fail. 
    3. This is accompanied by #1
  4. Staying true to my own boundaries
    1. Boundaries get a bad rap. This isn’t an excuse to be an a**hole. However, if I’m over-giving of myself with the hopes that another person will either a) Like me b) Accept and or c) Validate me…we have a problem 
    2. People become the last standing “hit” for many addicts. Often times, becoming addicted to unstable people or unstable circumstances created by people leads us to substance abuse in the first place. We learn that if we can manipulate others into behaving safely (i.e. people-pleasing), we can avoid discomfort and pain. Then, once we are adults, we may have outdated behavioral patterns that limit our emotional availability because we are in constant states of fear of other people (check out a CODA meeting if any of this resonates). 
    3. When I set my own boundaries, when I learn to parent myself and decide what I am and what I am not okay with, I communicate my boundaries to my loved ones and teach them more about how to be in relationship with me.
    4. It is not the job of your partners, friends, or colleagues to read your mind. Communicating your boundaries, needs, limitations, etc. is the clearest and (one of the) most responsible ways you can be in healthy relationships. 
  5. Not drinking or using drugs (duh)
  6. Pausing when I’ve experienced an “interruption” and giving myself time and space to take stalk of the changes
    1. Environmental changes are huge triggers for many of us. Job changes, housing changes, familial deaths and births, and physical injuries are one of the many “interruptions” to our regularly-scheduled life 
    2. Interruptions can be welcome or unwelcome (e.g. infidelity might be unwelcome, but the addition of a new family member very welcome). Despite how you receive the interruption, it is a change in the system. A new variable. For highly sensitive people, these changes can take time to integrate while our nervous systems catch up to the “new normal” in which we live. 
  7. Accept what is not in my control. That includes my “self.”
    1. So much of what makes us human has nothing to do with, well, us. For example, I can’t change my height, genetics, or preferences. I can learn more about myself, however, and learn to nourish myself in ways befitting my sensitivities and preferences. This is not an excuse to make your world smaller (e.g. I don’t like grapes so I’m never eating fruit and now I’m attached to my identity as a non-fruit-eater). This is, however, an opportunity for you to surrender. 
    2. I am, always have been, and may always be a highly sensitive person. This does not mean I can behave like a child when I am triggered. This does mean, however, that when I am triggered I can accept it (what’s done is done) and use adaptive self-soothing techniques (meditation, time in nature, sleep), to be sure I’m not negatively impacting the people around me. 

That’s all for now. 

Take care, y’all. 

Holler at me on IG if you ever wanna talk @shawnamarieyoga

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