Holding Space for yourself - a Sober Superpower

alcohol-free love sober recovery self-care sober sobriety wellness Mar 23, 2020
 
 

During these challenging times I am finding I need to go back to basics, as the prevailing winds of world events blow in like storms. We need to look after ourselves as we look after others. As care-givers we need to honour our pivotal roles and connect, protect and be strong, for sure. 

When thinking about holding space I found some great resources and tips on how to hold space, to be with someone, allow them to feel, just to witness , not to offer unsolicited advice, to simply accompany, not judge and allow them to make decisions and process. 
 
Then another piece caught my eye ‘ How to hold space for yourself. ‘ I started reading and mine brain lit up a thousand fireworks because the list was my ongoing and deep work of self- care which started ( and continues!) with sober treats, foot cream , time out etc and underneath the surface like seismic tectonic movements a deeper profound change has and is taking place. 
 
Holding Space for ourselves is , I believe , an essential skill and I believe it gets eroded by trauma , knock backs, life, the messages we receive. It’s not taught to us and I think it’s by sheer luck and great parenting if we learn it ! 
 
If I look at most of my friends in the sober community I see that many of us struggle with this essential inner skill set. This is something I had literally NO idea about when I first stopped drinking.  For me it is the foundation. Well.. not drinking is the foundation which allows the clarity to begin: to hear, feel, inhabit and protect your space. It started with the act of not drinking and five years later although to-ing and fro-ing I have ended up reading something today that has spoken so loudly to me I’d like to share the nuggets / get it written down, and add my own slant. I cannot tell you what a relief it was to see this article. I was like - YES ! That is my recovery!!!!!!!
 
This list was this to summarise: 
 
How to hold space for yourself: 
The daily requirement to tune into yourself so you don’t get sucked into ‘other peoples’ solar systems and wander around in a lost galaxy for a while before finding your way home.’ 
What does it mean: To become a container for yourself to feel, live with kindness to yourself, listening to yourself, tuning into your needs. It’s a stand you take , a way of life, a daily practice . It is self- care on I believe a very profound level. 
  • Embrace your imperfection/ uniqueness: Dig your own story . There’s only one of you. Unique and perfectly imperfect. That is your gift. 
  • Saying ‘No’ . If you say no to others it often means saying yes to yourself. For so many of us on the sober path this takes such a lot of practice . We have been people pleasers, chameleons and dulled ourselves often to get approval. Say yes and help others when it feels ok and you have the energy but respect your ‘no’ .
  • Develop boundaries : This great quote from Uplift ‘ If you can say no without guilt, you enter the realm of the undefended heart.’ I can see this although I am a  novice here. If your boundaries are strong you don’t have to keep your defences up trying to defend yourself. Often from yourself! 
  • Communing with yourself: Space and time to sit and listen, stop and wonder . Creative practice feeds this inner playground and child in us. It’s soul food. 
  • Be curious  : Mindfulness. Try to listen , watch how you react in situations, reflect , notice what you do with kindness and without judgement as you grow. 
  • Reach out:  In order for you to hold space for others you need others to hold space for you when you need it. We are interconnected social beings so reach out, get hugs , cry when you need it . 
  • Being authentic: I truly believe being sober day in day out we end up being authentic . It’s like an unavoidable  by-product.. We can’t help it , and that is a wonderful thing. You don’t hide and although that can be uncomfortable, by giving ourselves space , kindness , compassion and being patient, we unfold. 
  • Treat ourself like a good parent: I became aware when I had my daughter how differently I talk to her than I do myself. I love her, protect her, encourage her, cheer her little, big milestones, efforts and hold her if she’s hurt. That is the model I need for me and I am practicing it and it takes my breath away. 
  • Develop supportive rituals. The self care tool kit that I speak of so often  . The sober treats, the check ins , the walks, the time out, the bits of space and putting your feet up. It may be journaling and taking yourself off for an artist date. 
  • Don’t drink alcohol. That poison causes a disconnect between you and you so you can’t hear all this good stuff. It’s a near toxin and a depressant , not a treat and not self- care no matter how pretty the bottle is. 
With thanks to 
Sober Love 
Kate

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