Have you ever tried to assemble an Ikea bed without an Allen key? You might eventually make it work, but not without a heap of struggles and frustration along the way. Staying sober works the same way. Without the right tools, sobriety can be a long and frustrating struggle...but it doesn't have to be!
Let's take a look at 5 tried and tested tools that can help ease the struggles throughout your recovery.
What is a Sobriety Toolbox?
Most people aren't raised to manage their feelings, bodies, emotions or discomforts in a healthy way. To help ourselves cope, we leverage unhealthy tools like overeating, excessive sugar or caffeine, compulsive spending, alcohol/drug use, binge-numbing on social media or Netflix etc.
A sobriety toolbox is a set of healthy tools you can leverage to help you cope with your triggers or urges to drink/use. Some tools will work better for you than others, so make sure your toolbox is tailored to your personal wants/needs. Here are 5 ideas to help you get started on building your own healthy tools.
Deep Breathing - Long deep breathing can relax and calm your nervous system if done properly. It can even regulate your body's pH, reduce toxic build-up, help in the cleansing of your blood, and give you more control over negative emotions. Some helpful deep breathing techniques to research for your toolbox are Alternate Nostril Breathing, Breath of Fire, Humming Bee Breath, or Sitali Breath.
ASMR - Do you like Bob Ross? Chances are you'll dig ASMR. ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is a feeling of well-being often combined with a tingling sensation that travels from your scalp, down the back of your neck and into your upper spine. This sensation is typically triggered by particular sounds - like whispering, the soft clicking sound from a keyboard, or the sound of someone eating. ASMR can also be triggered by visuals, like a galaxy light spinning slowly in a dark room. Physical ASMR can be triggered by feather-light touches to your face and scalp. There are LOTS of ASMR types out there, so keep trying until you find one you enjoy. Remember, if all else fails, there's always Bob Ross!
Hot Lemon Water - Seems simple, right?. Hot lemon water is comforting, hydrating, reduces inflammation and acidity in your body and feels like a warm hug. This tool is a great way to self-soothe, with a bunch of fringe benefits to boot!
Safe People - Curate a shortlist of safe people that can pull you back to your center. Please make sure they are people you can trust and who understand what you're going through. These people can be a life coach, a sponsor, or a close friend who will always be there when you reach out, no matter what. Sometimes, sobriety takes a village, even if it's a small one.
Dance it Out - Go full-fledged Richard Simmons in your living room for 10 minutes. You don't need spandex, but you do need a playlist of music that helps uplift your spirits! This is the perfect opportunity to "dance like nobody's watching" and let it all out. Dancing has multifaceted benefits, like improving your muscle tone and boosting your mood!
Recovery is a journey. Be kind to yourself, and remember to invest in your own set of tools to help make the journey a little easier.