After a restful summer break, Chip and Veronica return to Soberful for a discussion on the art of balance. As you know, balance is key to sustainable sobriety: when we are out of balance in recovery, we become more vulnerable to relapse. There are many factors that can cause imbalance including work, relationships, and negative self-talk. To help you tackle the challenge of achieving balance, Chip and Veronica candidly share their past experiences with imbalance and the lessons they learned to regain and maintain balance in their lives.
“Whatever the question, balance is always the answer.” – Veronica Valli
Balance is one of the five pillars of sustainable sobriety and learning how to find balance is vital. While everyone needs balance, it’s doubly important for us because when we get unbalanced, the consequences are much more severe.
When we’re out of balance for too long, the inevitable outcome is burnout. And that’s when we are vulnerable to relapse.
Whatever’s going on with you right now that feels uncomfortable or difficult, whether you’re stressed, not sleeping, angry, – balance is the answer to that, I promise you.
But balance is not something we inherently know or that we can learn how to do once and you’re done. It’s a lifetime of learning the art of balance.
Both Chip and I have decades of recovery under our belt and we can still become unbalanced about things.
Mastering this pillar is not about always being balanced, it’s about being able to quickly recognize when you’re out of balance and take the necessary actions to restore it.
“When I think I’m losing my balance, I use my support system to help regain my balance and get back on track.” – Chip Somers
When we get obsessive about something, that’s a really good red flag to stop and pay attention because we’re getting out of balance.
Here are some strategies you can use to stay in balance and restore your balance when it goes out of whack.
It’s natural that there will be periods of time when things become unbalanced in the short term, like when you have a big project to complete for work or a new child to care for.
The key is to maintain balance on a long-term scale.
When we forget to replenish ourselves, we pay a price for that. And the more we stay out of balance, the higher that price increases.
Make sure you’re giving yourself enough downtime and when you’re taking a break, give it your all – don’t keep one eye on work. Doing a 10-minute meditation each day or making time for a short session of EFT can make a world of difference.
Learn Your Limits
When I get a bit obsessive, I know I’m getting out of balance.
I remember my first son’s first birthday getting so excited and caught up with planning a Pinterest-worthy party with toys, a sugar-free cake and the works. But oh my goodness, the work. I ran around like a crazy person and I was completely exhausted at the end of it. It was way too much and at the worst possible time in my life when I already wasn’t getting any sleep.
“When we get out of balance with these things, it starts compromising other areas of our life.” – Veronica Valli
I was tired. I was grumpy. I wasn’t a good parent. I was shouting at my husband. I couldn’t get other stuff done that I needed to get done. All because I was so consumed with this project of his first birthday. But I learned from it and we never did that again.
The thing is about learning balance in your life is you will have ample opportunities to learn it. And if we don’t learn our lesson, it will keep coming back until we do.
Sometimes in relationships, we become so consumed with our partners that they almost take over our lives.
For Chip, his fear of losing this person made him put so much energy and intensity into the relationship, at the cost of himself, his health, and his friendships. In the end, that intense passion that he heaped upon the relationships had the opposite effect and ended up frightening away the women.
It takes time and experience to recognize early when this is happening and often we have to learn the hard way.
Being out of balance for a short amount of time is natural but then very quickly, the consequences start coming. The first step is having the awareness of what’s happening and learning to take the steps to get back on track.
- What do you need right now? Balance changes all the time. Check your necessary needs at any given moment and take care of them. Use HALTS as your guide: are you hungry, angry, lonely, tired, or stressed?
- Try to plan ahead. People have different skills in terms of planning but we have to learn from our mistakes and past experiences
- Keep an eye on your emotions. Take a few minutes to assess how you’re feeling. One of the most useful tools I’ve ever come across for doing that, step 10 inventory from the 12 steps, which I still do regularly.
- Soberful | Episode 53: The Five Pillars of Sustainable Sobriety
- Soberful | Episode 82: Codependency
- Soberful | Episode 16: Denial
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- We love hearing from you! Share your comments and feedback with us on our Instagram page @VeronicaJValli
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