Thinking of getting sober? Exploring your relationship with alcohol? While we all have the same goal in sobriety, which is to not drink; the journey is a little bit of a choose your own adventure. Or, at least it should be.
There is no effective cookie-cutter approach to sobriety. Which is what I think can be the weakness of some of the step programs. There’s nothing wrong with those steps, per se, but if you’re not also finding meaningful supports and systems that fit your own life, then you run the risk of white-knuckling it through your recovery.
When it comes to reclaiming and rebuilding your life, white-knuckling it will only get you so far. That’s because once you remove your main nervous system regulator, which is alcohol, you’re going to need some new ways to keep yourself feeling balanced.
Using a holistic approach to sobriety, allows you to build a sustainable system around your life.
What does a holistic approach to sobriety look like? The method I use with my clients, and in my own sobriety support, is modeled on the NOURISH approach, which was developed by Jolene Park (Ted Talk, 2017)
Notice Nature: If you need a little pleasure boost, spend at least 20 minutes outside (especially if there are lots of trees or water around. This causes your GABA, dopamine, and serotonin to naturally rise. Putting your feet on the ground, or your hands in the dirt helps you feel grounded and connected.
Observe Your Breath: Bringing attention to your breath, automatically helps you to calm down. Especially when you focus on the exhale (so inhale to a count of 4, exhale to a count of 8.) Doing this will bring you back to the present if you feel yourself starting to spiral.
Unite With Others: You need community in order to thrive. Your social needs might begin to shift as you move into sobriety. You’re no longer interested in spending weekends at bars, or alcohol fueled get-togethers. Focus on connecting with two or three people who love, support, and understand you.
Replenish With Food: Cravings are not about you being “weak” but they might mean that you have a nutritional or neurotransmitter imbalance. Focusing on what you’re eating can help regulate any imbalances.
Initiate Movement: Every sobriety plan needs to have movement as part of it. Movement helps boost neurotransmitters, gets your blood circulating, helps you to process emotions, and can distract you if you’re feeling triggered to drink.
Sit in Stillness: Getting really quiet with yourself helps you to understand who you are, and what you need. It allows your nervous system to respond and adapt. There are many ways to sit in stillness. Meditations, either silent or guided. Or, simply laying down on your couch and just letting whatever you’re feeling rush over you.
Harness Your Creativity: This one always trips people up. I mean we have such a warped relationship with our own creativity, mainly because of the product driven way it’s taught and celebrated in our society. We are meant to get our hands dirty and to get things messy. Creativity comes in many forms, and yes, everyone is creative. It can look like the Radical Sketchbooking process I teach. Or, it can be cooking a meal, baking cookies, playing an instrument.
So, why is this all important? Because taking away alcohol is something that can leave a gap in your life. You’ve most likely be using alcohol to fill up lots of space in your life and when you’re getting rid of it, there’s that need to find balance. Using a holistic approach to sobriety means that you will be looking after yourself in all the different ways that support you. Building a sobriety support system, rather than just white-knuckling it.
If you’re curious about exploring your relationship with alcohol, reach out and book a STRONGER SOBER session, under the WORK WITH ME tab.
I’ve got you!