Day Sixty One

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.

The “what”:

Describe (situation, facts). Express (how you feel). Assert (what you need). Reinforce (why it’s important).

The “how”:

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.

Writing prompt:

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.