#233 – Sobriety Is A Shift In Perception


Veronica explains why sobriety is a shift in perception. When we take things personally, it makes us very sensitive and can often lead to resentment. Resentments are the free drunk and unless we find a way to shift our perception of what is happening we will always use alcohol to manage them.

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about this episode

“When I first got sober, I thought everything was personal. I thought everything was about me.” – Veronica Valli

When I first got sober, no matter what you did or said, in most circumstances, I would make it about me. I’d find something to be hurt, outraged, or upset about, and I’d carry a feeling of unfairness and injustice. To make matters worse, I’d never come out and say what the problem was, but instead, I’d do things to cause a wedge in the relationship. Of course, that would often lead to a drink because I felt like I deserved it or I needed it.

Have you ever experienced that?

It’s hard to stay in recovery when you’re taking everything personally. Getting sober is 10% not drinking and 90% emotional sobriety. Emotional sobriety means getting to a place where you don’t take things personally all the time, and it’s been the greatest gift of my sobriety. It’s not about never having it happen again; it’s about having a process and a practice that helps you navigate out of those feelings as quickly as possible because it’s a really uncomfortable place to live.

In this episode, I discuss the concept of taking things personally and its relation to drinking and resentment. I’m talking about:

  • Why taking things personally is a common issue and how it relates to drinking and resentment
  • The significance of emotional sobriety
  • How I learned to stop taking things personally
  • How resentments develop and the detrimental effect they can have on your sobriety
  • The negative effects of holding onto resentment
  • Why assumptions often lead to hurt feelings
  • Managing resentments through intentional practices
  • My experience of learning to let go and how it has improved my relationships and emotional wellbeing
  • The true essence of emotional sobriety and freedom
  • Shifting perception and communicating as adults

key highlights

Personal Interpretations

As a sobriety coach, I’ve noticed a common issue among my clients – and it’s something I dealt with in early recovery – they often take things personally. This tendency is not just a minor inconvenience; it’s a significant factor that can be harmful to your sobriety.

It breeds resentment and irrational beliefs.

I’ve been there myself. I remember a time when I would interpret everything personally, making everything about me. This behavior created so much tension in my relationships, and ultimately, I kept turning to drinking as a way to cope.


The Importance of Emotional Sobriety

Emotional sobriety is about being able to be in the world and not take things personally. For me, the greatest gift of my sobriety is getting to a place where I (mostly!) don’t take things personally.

This is the key to living a more fulfilling and peaceful life in sobriety.


The Poison of Resentment

When we hold onto resentment, we suffer. We waste our energy and mental bandwidth on planning revenge or dwelling on negative thoughts. It’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to suffer.


The Danger of Assumptions

One of the biggest ways we develop resentment is by making assumptions.

We’ll have incomplete information about a situation, and instead of asking the questions, we fill in the blanks ourselves about how we would do it or how we think it should be. More often than not, these assumptions are wrong.

For instance, imagine you’re vegan, and you’ve assumed vegan food would be provided at a barbecue, only to find out there is nothing for you to eat. You might feel unappreciated and hurt, even though, chances are, it wasn’t intentional.


Tools for Dealing with Resentments

Our subconscious mind links the current event to past experiences, amplifying the hurt and causing us to react out of proportion. Managing our thoughts and feelings is crucial to shifting our perception and finding sustainable sobriety.

My two favorite methods for dealing with resentments are the 12-steps and rational emotive behavioral therapy.


The Journey Towards Emotional Sobriety

Growth can be scary. It forces us to step into the unknown, but it’s necessary for personal development. By revealing ourselves to ourselves and shifting our perception of events and others, we can find freedom and emotional sobriety.

resources mentioned

Resources for You

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