Day Sixty One
Throughout my life I often showed up in a new place, or in a new friendship group, with a new set of lies and exaggerations about myself, so for as long as the illusion was held up I didn’t have to live in my own life and self. The more my sobriety progresses I start to build on this life that I don’t want to run away from.
With all the new things that have been introduced, and the boundaries that are being established, there are sometimes some very hard conversations. Conflict is a trigger for me, so learning how to deal with the fear of expressing myself with the looming prospect of conflict has been a necessary step. Oftentimes the conflict is imaginary, and even less of a reality if I bring my petition to the table in a calm and respectful way.
I used to get drunk in order to tell people what I really thought. I couldn’t bear doing it sober, for fear of conflict or discomfort. On top of that, with my partners I would be thrilled when they drank because I could elicit their true feelings from them, as a result of alcohol loosening their tongue. True expression and vulnerability seemed impossible. I needed to learn how to express my true feelings in a sober way. I use the DBT skill DEARMAN for this.
It’s in two sections.
Describe (situation, facts). Express (how you feel). Assert (what you need). Reinforce (why it’s important).
Mindful. Assertive. Negotiate.
Sticking to the facts, standing in your truth, believing in what you say, alongside holding compassion for the other person, and leaving flexibility for their needs has created a necessary template for communication. It gets easier to more I practise it. The more I try to make it come from the heart and not pathologize it too hard, it has led to less tension and easier relationships.
Are there any hard conversations you need to have?
Three tiny things:
- Sit with yourself for five minutes and notice what comes up.
- Have you found any joy in journaling? Would a morning or evening journaling practise fit into your schedule more?
- Check your levels of emotional vulnerability and do one thing to take care of your sleeping, eating, etc.