Building a Sober Self-Care Toolkit: Reclaiming Joy Through Boundaries and Wellness

[00:00:00] Sonia: Hi, we're Kathleen and Sonia and you're listening to Sisters in Sobriety. Thank you for being here. I'm Sonia and I'm with my sister in sobriety, actually my sister in law, Kathleen. How are you doing today, Kathleen?

[00:00:13] Kathleen: I'm good. I'm good. I'm feeling very optimistic about the new year. I am feeling healthy. I'm feeling good. How are you doing?

[00:00:22] Sonia: Good. I feel the same way. I, I like really loved waking up without a hangover on New Year's Day. I know it's probably like the sixth or seventh one, but I really felt it this year.

[00:00:34] Kathleen: Did you stay up until midnight?

[00:00:35] Sonia: Oh, I sure did. did.

[00:00:37] you?

[00:00:38] Kathleen: uh, no.

[00:00:39] Sonia: Really?

[00:00:40] Kathleen: No.


[00:00:41] I went to bed at 11. I was like, no thanks. I'm good.

[00:00:45] Sonia: No, I went to bed. I mean, I went to bed shortly after, but, no, I stayed up.

[00:00:51] Kathleen: I had like nine hours of sleep on New Year's Eve. It was like to New Year's Day. It was so good. And uh, yeah, no.

[00:00:59] Sonia: Okay. I [00:01:00] did have some good mocktails, too, actually, which was interesting. I went, to a progressive house party. And, uh, so one house to the next. And, the first couple had really, they had interesting mocktails. I was really happy about it.

[00:01:13] Kathleen: that's awesome. That's so

[00:01:14] good.

[00:01:15] Sonia: world is changing.

[00:01:17] Kathleen: Mm hmm.

[00:01:17] Sonia: Yeah, speaking of, today we're going to be talking about self care, which I think a lot of us have trouble defining for ourselves.

[00:01:24] I know I do. and then even implementing into our lives. So, sobriety isn't just about abstaining from substances. It's really about rediscovering ourselves and nurturing our well being. And I think self care is a really crucial component on the journey. And I really do struggle with it. I struggle with the idea that it's not a spa day or a bubble bath, and these are great ways to relax, but it's something deeper and a more consistent commitment, I think, to caring for mental, emotional, and physical health.

[00:01:56] Kathleen: Yeah, absolutely. And and in sobriety, we [00:02:00] often find ourselves facing feelings and situations that we used to avoid or would numb from. And this is where self care becomes really, really important. So it's about creating a safe and nurturing environment for ourselves where we can process the emotions and experiences without judgment and without judgment for ourselves.

[00:02:20] and it's about you. Learning to be kind to ourselves and understanding that recovery is a process and sometimes it is okay not to be okay

[00:02:28] So Sonia, how would you define self care?

[00:02:33] Sonia: Yeah, I really do like that idea of looking at it from like a physical, emotional, and mental health place. So these kind of three different places. And I think it's anything you do to improve that health and balance of those three things. And I know I say this quote a lot, but my sobriety comes first so that everything else in my life doesn't have to come last.

[00:02:55] And so that to me, encapsulates really what self care is. [00:03:00] is and so that's that's how I look at caring for myself and my sobriety is it's more important than any because there is nothing else without that so and then sometimes I try to look at it backwards so anything that compromises sobriety I need a self care tool for or like a routine around it and those tools and routines really have to be a priority for me. How do you define self care?

[00:03:26] Kathleen: I really look at and how we, uh, at our, you know, each of us ourselves as a whole person, so not just like an aspect of ourselves, but how we treat ourselves as a whole person, and so that can include physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, all of those different things, and it's really how we view ourselves and how we care for ourselves as a whole person, that's how I define it.

[00:03:51] Sonia: I love that. Yeah.

[00:03:53] Kathleen: What can implementing self care look like for our listeners?

[00:03:57] Sonia: Yeah, I think there's some practical [00:04:00] issues here. you need to find the time and the energy to take care of yourself, which I think can be really difficult. Because I felt like, for me too, when I was drinking, all my needs were taken up or met by alcohol, right? So I used it for, Anxiety, stress, enjoying things, celebrating, when I was bored, when I was tired, and so now all these things require a different tool, and the tool is not going to be as immediate in terms of like effect as alcohol, so they're going to take longer to work, and part of it is consistency and planning, which If you think about it, opening a bottle of wine doesn't take any effort or consistency or planning.

[00:04:41] So if you're stressed and you open a bottle of wine, it's like, there, I took care of the stress. And so you really have to dig a little bit deeper, to figure out who you are and what things make you happy and fill you with joy. And for me especially, what things make me feel calm and peaceful. What do you think implementing self care can look [00:05:00] like for listeners?

[00:05:01] Kathleen: think it's really different for everyone. I think everyone is going to have their own individual self care plan and what those look like. And so, it can mean learning to say no and setting boundaries, which we're going to talk about a little bit later. and not over committing. It can mean not having toxic people in your life.

[00:05:19] it can also mean doing the things that you might think of for self care, like exercising or eating foods that are nourishing for your body. But it means To me, it really means if you look at yourself and self care as like, how would you care for someone that you really loved? Like if you were caring for a child, let's say, that you really loved and that you wanted to nurture and make sure they grew into like a happy, well formed person, what would you do?

[00:05:48] And then bringing that same energy to yourself. So caring for yourself, like it's someone you really love.

[00:05:56] Sonia: Yeah, I hear that term, like you have to learn to parent [00:06:00] yourself.

[00:06:01] Kathleen: Mhm.

[00:06:01] Reparenting.

[00:06:02] Sonia: yeah, I feel like that, yeah, that's so interesting to me because I find myself like really hard on myself and really critical. And so it's like, what would a nurturing parent say?

[00:06:14] Kathleen: Yeah, exactly. Like, you're really close with my daughter, your niece, and she's still little ish, she's nine, and, how would you want her to be treated? really, if you look at it from that way, and I look at that too, like, what, what would I want to treat my little nine year old self like?

[00:06:35] what would I What would I do? What would self care look like for that

[00:06:39] Sonia: I feel it like with her, like she'll say things like, Oh, well, I'm not good at that. And. I say that to myself all the time. Like, I'll be like, oh, I'm not good at sports. I'm not good at art. I'm not good with my hands. I'm uncoordinated. And my instinct when she says it is to be like, no, that's not true.

[00:06:59] You're good at [00:07:00] everything. You're not, it's because you're not, if you want to be good at it, you could be good at it it, it hurts so much when she says that. Whereas like, I say that to myself, I don't know, 50 times a day.

[00:07:12] Kathleen: Mm hmm. Exactly.

[00:07:14] Yeah, I think about that even like when I think about how I talk to myself about my physicality.

[00:07:20] So, you know, how I've I've gained weight in the last few years and like the The judgment and self torture over that. But I would never in a million years say anything like that to my daughter.

[00:07:34] I am always talking to her about how strong she is. And we actually never really focus on her physicality because that's not what's important in our household. Yet, inside my own brain, there's something else happening. So self care. Just coming back to that is like how would you how would you talk to yourself if you actually loved yourself,

[00:07:55] Sonia: Oh my god, I got back from Christmas and I, I [00:08:00] know you hate that I weigh myself, I weighed myself and I gained three and a half pounds and I was like, swear to god, googling how can I get Ozempic.

[00:08:08] Kathleen: What?

[00:08:08] Sonia: Yes, but if you did that, or if she, I would kill you,I would be like, are you out of your mind? But I'm telling you, I'm not getting it,

[00:08:17] Kathleen: yeah, and for those people who cannot have not seen a picture of sonia and actually it doesn't even matter what

[00:08:23] she is like extremely tiny and so like that is Girl, those are issues. You need to

[00:08:29] take

[00:08:29] Sonia: know. No, no, I'm

[00:08:32] Kathleen: to you for years

[00:08:33] Sonia: working, I'm working on it and I, and I know it because when, even like your, my niece, your daughter is, she's so beautiful and I, I stop myself from saying it to her because I don't want her to care about what she looks like, right?

[00:08:51] Kathleen: she doesn't. She doesn't care what you No, she doesn't. And you know what? we care about taking care of ourselves physically, so like [00:09:00] hygiene, and like making sure there's not dreadlocks in our very curly hair, and things like that, but I try to balance it out. We talk about like her intelligence or we talk about her kindnessself care is really, again, bringing that back into ourselves.

[00:09:16] You know, I, I once had a coach who before. We really started our coaching journey together. She asked us, I think it was for two weeks, a week or two weeks, to look in the mirror every morning and tell ourselves how much we loved ourselves. And it was so awkward and so uncomfortable for me to do that. And, you know, I think it's much easier for me to do that now, but like how that is self care.

[00:09:42] Right? That is

[00:09:43] self

[00:09:44] Sonia: that. I'm writing it down. I think I'm going to

[00:09:45] Kathleen: Yes, do

[00:09:47] Sonia: Look in the mirror. Does it have to be in the mirror? That's

[00:09:49] Kathleen: Yes, it does!

[00:09:51] Sonia: Okay.

[00:09:52] Kathleen: I'm getting emphatic about it because

[00:09:54] I'm really curious how this goes for you.

[00:09:57] Sonia: Okay.

[00:09:58] Kathleen: It was hard.

[00:09:59] It was

[00:09:59] hard [00:10:00] for me Mm hmm.

[00:10:02] Sonia: more confident but yeah. Okay. Okay. Forget about me. Let's talk about, let's talk about self care.

[00:10:10] Kathleen: Should we do a therapy

[00:10:11] session on air? Okay, so um has self care meant for you sonia?

[00:10:22] Sonia: Yeah, it's meant different things, I feel like, over the years. And so I think it's, for me, it's really been about figuring out who I am, what I like to do, who I spend time with. And so that was something that when I was drinking, I, Really, there was no care put into that, right? And so I did whatever.

[00:10:43] I hung out with whoever, whoever was drinking and partying.and I didn't really reflect, right? what do I like and not like doing? So I think you have to be really honest with yourself and figure out, what behaviors, what practices are serving you and, and which are not. And I'm not always able to [00:11:00] do it, right?

[00:11:00] Sometimes there's social pressure or some internal pressure I'm feeling, to fit in. But I would say overall I'm always trying to figure out like how does this feel like how does this situation feel? Should I be in this should I not be in this type of situation again? So yeah, what about you? What came first for you the self care routine or the sobriety?

[00:11:22] Kathleen: So I thought a lot about this question and I it was really like a chicken or egg situation for me. I actually can't pinpoint Which one because, the sobriety, like, you know, if those of you who are listening and listen to my story, I went away for a month. It was sort of like, rehab and disguise in a sense.

[00:11:41] I didn't know. I had thought about getting sober, but where I was for that month, like you could not had caffeine. You could not have sugar. You had to eat the meals there. We were like in the middle of Like kind of desert area. And so that was You know that self care was [00:12:00] there in terms of I was doing yoga every day.

[00:12:02] I was doing Meditation I was meditating I was doing all that so that was there and then it was sort of I became sober through that experience from drugs through that experience, so it's tough for me to say because I definitely had the intention going into it that I didn't want to live a life tied to drugs anymore.

[00:12:26] but I didn't, it was almost like it happened at the same time. So it is a bit of a, it's hard for me to pinpoint, but I think they're both so connected, which is one of the reasons we're doing an episode on self care because self care and sobriety are so, so connected.

[00:12:41] Sonia: For sure. I think that it's something that takes a backseat when you are using substances. Becausewhat you think you're doing with using them is you're, you're, you know, just going to pour a glass of wine here. I'm going to do me, you know?

[00:12:55] Kathleen: Yeah. I'm going to just relax and, you know, yeah, for sure. For sure. So I know [00:13:00] your self care journey has changed over the last seven years, but when did you start to realize that you were developing these tools?

[00:13:08] Sonia: Yeah, I, I think I, I called it doing all the things. And so, yeah, that was sort of my, that was sort of my technique for figuring out these tools.

[00:13:18] Kathleen: Okay, well, let's, tell us more about all the things.

[00:13:23] Sonia: Yeah, so I think before I got sober, I wasn't nurturing any part of myself. And I really was under the impression that self care was vacations and spas and going to a wine tasting, getting my hair done. Because for example, like you get your hair done, you feel good about yourself. And I was like, and that's self care.

[00:13:42] And so when I got sober in 2017, I didn't even know what gave me. True joy. So it was really a process of learning to listen to this inner voice and that I had silence because to be honest, the inner voice was telling me I had a drinking problem. So once you[00:14:00] shut the inner voice down, you shut down everything else it's saying too.

[00:14:04] So when I did, finally get sober, I just, you know, I took classes for everything. I tried out everything, but I think you do have to be me. A little reflective and say like, oh, okay, I don't think I'm, I'm going to be a bonsai artist or I don't think I'm going to be a jewelry maker, and I think that eventually I just kind of settled into like some things that really made me happy and feel really authentic.

[00:14:28] Yeah, so I do light exercise pretty often. I'm not gonna run a marathonYeah

[00:14:34] Kathleen: Well, I was just going to say you, it makes me laugh because you say you like to do exercise that involves laying

[00:14:39] down. So, so, but you, you don't, you do other stuff too, but you like Pilates

[00:14:44] Sonia: I just did it. I just I did pilates And I, I didn't even take a shower and I'm on this because I didn't sweat at all. I don't, I'm not averse to sweating, but like I just laid down and yeah, I love a [00:15:00] good shavasana too. But yeah,light gardening. I started off by being like really hardcore, like I'm gonna take care of the whole yard.

[00:15:07] And it's like, No, I'm miserable doing that, so I'm not going to plant a tree, you know, I can get someone else to do that, and I can just plant some flowers. yeah, I do photography, and I love crafting. I'm crafting a beach bag, and it may or may not be done by the summertime. And so, yeah, and it's not just about being productive, but I feel like when I'm doing these things, I just, it gives me this space to kind of sit.

[00:15:33] Right? With

[00:15:34] Kathleen: hmm. Mm

[00:15:35] Sonia: opens up other things. I can't imagine ten years ago being able to sit and embroider a bag, you know? And so, it just started off as something I would distract myself with in the evening so that I wouldn't drink, and then it just kind of became a meditative experience.

[00:15:53] Kathleen: hmm. So, we heard just now that you were listening to that inner voice. And so, [00:16:00] what kind of things? Helped you tune into that inner voice more?

[00:16:05] Sonia: Yeah,if we look at it with those three categories, mind, body, and soul, I think that, yeah, and I think it's good to get really, like, practical things. I always ask people, like, no, but what did you do? Not,

[00:16:15] theoretically, so, for the body, I exercise, I spend time doing things outside.

[00:16:23] I don't want to do it, but I Um, yeah, the soul, I kind of, I, I live in a lot of like natural beauty and so that's really helpful. I walk around, and this is interesting. This happened when I stopped drinking, but I really, I listen to a lot of music and I dance around the house.

[00:16:40] And I think I was weirdly. More restrained when I was drinking. I think I was more self conscious, which is weird because I think you're like, oh drinking makes you Uninhibited, but I don't know. I think I was more I was more afraid to be like a kid and I think i'm not like that now, um

[00:16:59] Kathleen: you're definitely [00:17:00] not like that. I have such good memories of you like us having dance parties in your kitchen Slash like living area like that's not you. I would never think that you were restrained now

[00:17:11] Sonia: No, like it's funny I was making cookies with your daughter over christmas and this I put on like this playlist that we had been listening to in the summer and she was like The song came on. She's like, do you remember when we were dancing to this? And then we walked out onto the deck and then we kept dancing and I was like, I do remember that.

[00:17:30] Kathleen: I have video of

[00:17:31] that Ha

[00:17:33] ha

[00:17:35] Sonia: an early morning sesh. Um, yeah. And then finally, and this is a little bit newer for me is, taking care of my mind, which is therapy. And so could you maybe talk a little bit more about how therapy is a self care practice?

[00:17:50] Kathleen: I mean, I think it's really, a self care practice that doesn't always feel good, right? Like it doesn't always feel good in the moment. It can be hard and [00:18:00] painful, but, and it takes a lot of courage. It's not just about running a bubble bath. It's not just about going to get your hair done. It's like you in therapy, you are often delving into painful memories, painful emotions.

[00:18:14] Your, Facing things that maybe you wouldn't want to face, but I think it's ultimate self care actually because Usually when people come to therapy it's because they want to Change something in their life. So they either want to heal from something and they want to grow in a certain way They want to become more self aware and let's be honest.

[00:18:35] We all have flaws Like we are all deeply flawed in some way and therapy is really a journey of growth and of development. And I think, yeah, it's, the ultimate self care in my, in my books, but I'm biased because I am a therapist. So.

[00:18:52] Sonia: Yeah. I mean, it's interesting. I won't say that after every therapy session I feel great, but I think that's where I'm [00:19:00] starting to understand that, self care doesn't always feel, amazing, like a bubble bath, right? It doesn't always, and sometimes takes a little bit longer to see the effects of it, right?

[00:19:10] Kathleen: it does. And I think a lot of the work for therapy is in between therapy sessions. I often joke with my clients, I don't know how you're going to feel about this, but I often say like, you're going to have a therapy hangover tomorrow or you might have a therapy hangover tomorrow to my clients that when we have really heavy, deep sessions, because when a lot of stuff comes out, it can feel emotionally exhausted.

[00:19:34] I've exhausting. I've had clients tell me. That, after our therapy sessions, they've slept for 12 hours because like, it's not like that every session, I don't want to scare people away being like every session is going to be like that, but you do some sessions when we just.

[00:19:49] You know, when we, when there's a realization or we, we find something that has been a block or something like it can be, yeah, there, it can be like a hangover the next day in the sense that you just feel [00:20:00] kind of gross or heavy, but the difference with drinking in a therapy hangover is usually there is, relief after the, the therapy in a sense that there can be a lightness, right?

[00:20:13] Sonia: yeah, no, that totally makes sense. I'm doing EMDR now and, I have a session tomorrow and the therapist said, uh, you know, you may not want to book anything after that one.

[00:20:25] Kathleen: Yeah, so that's the same thing. That's the same. So EMDR is we is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and it's a technique I won't, I won't go into it in detail, but it is a therapeutic technique. And, uh, yeah, it's supposed to really kind of look at trauma or the past shake it out in a sense.

[00:20:47] Sonia: to get shaken out tomorrow. Um, because before I'd been like, I'd have therapy and I'd like, I'm like, yeah, maybe not, maybe this one,

[00:20:56] no. So I'm a no

[00:20:57] on that tomorrow. But [00:21:00] what, um, and this is something that came up for me. What role do boundaries play in self care?

[00:21:06] Kathleen: Oh my gosh. Boundaries are so massive. I talk about boundaries so much with my clients. there can be boundaries with other people, boundaries with your time, boundaries with self. And so setting and enforcing boundaries, can also boost your self esteem. And what that means is it shows that you value yourself and your needs.

[00:21:26] And that's a really, really, really critical aspect of self care. So for example, if you are. A people pleaser and you say yes to everything that everyone asks you and even though you let's say don't want to go to something or you don't want to do something, but you just ignore your boundaries and you just do it anyway.

[00:21:47] How are you caring for yourself in that way? You're like, you, you're saying to yourself, I don't want to do this. I'm too tired or whatever. And then you just blow past those boundaries. That's not a very good way to practice self care. So I think boundaries [00:22:00] are really important. And the thing is, boundaries can be so hard to set because inevitably, often you're going to disappoint other people.

[00:22:07] you're going to say no, or you're going to not have certain people in your life anymore because they're not bringing joy or adding to it. And so that can be really tough for people, but would you rather.

[00:22:20] Would you rather break a promise to yourself and please someone else, or would you rather hold a boundary for yourself and be healthier because of it?

[00:22:30] Sonia: Yeah. And risk disappointing someone

[00:22:32] Kathleen: Exactly.

[00:22:33] are there, are there other practices you can use as a form of self care?

[00:22:38] Sonia: Yeah. My biggest one is doing nothing and it's new also. because I grew up, you know, this, in a really like doing nothing was not allowed. And then I was married to somebody where doing nothing was like not really allowed either. So, so this is like my era of doing nothing. And it took me, a long time to figure out, yeah, like the [00:23:00] activities are great, but sometimes no, sometimes I don't feel like.

[00:23:03] Picking up my beach bag embroidery or knitting a hat and I just want to be alone and not and I'm sensitive to the difference between like Isolating and just really just wanting to be alone happily alone

[00:23:16] Kathleen: Mm hmm.

[00:23:17] Sonia: I'll nap I watch Netflix HGTV do some

[00:23:21] online shopping Food network. it's the best honestly it is the best part right now of my self care routine like it I think that itIt's almost it's like on par with the journaling.

[00:23:35] Like that's how how good I feel after The doing nothing and it seems really simple But for someone like me and I think for a lot of people out there who are especially Using alcohol for stress or to relax. This might be actually really hard

[00:23:51] Kathleen: So doing nothing is the hardest one I think combined with being i'm a type a personality and I have adhd So I constantly feel like I have a motor running [00:24:00] in my brain This is the hardest one for me. And I remember growing up, I had this poster in my room when I was like a little girl and there was a horse on the poster and it said, do nothing?

[00:24:11] Question mark time is too precious to waste. And I remember having that poster, right? Like I, this poster and I think about it so much because like through my mindfulness practices and through, meditation and that journey I've been on to really like learn. I have spent a lot of time just being and it has been the hardest practice for me but I think doing nothing Yeah, I think it is like to know when to rest and then to actually give yourself permission to rest Is such a huge gift and I think also maybe that is the ultimate self care actually Maybe that is the ultimate self

[00:24:55] care

[00:24:56] Sonia: don't know what you're talking about because I haven't seen you do that in maybe two [00:25:00] years.

[00:25:00] Kathleen: what the doing

[00:25:01] Sonia: yeah, I've not seen you do nothing in two years.

[00:25:05] Kathleen: Yeah, I I don't know this is like something I really struggle with I really really struggle with it and I especially as I am building my practice and You know finishing up my master's and all these things being a single mom But this is not an excuse like i'm telling i'm saying all these things.

[00:25:22] But yeah,

[00:25:23] Sonia: I mean, I think it's a pretty good excuse.

[00:25:26] Kathleen: I mean, it is, but at the same time, is that self care? I would say that, I'm getting better at setting boundaries for my time. So for example, I was going to host like a meditation class on, on Thursday nights by popular demand. And I was like, no,

[00:25:46] I can't do this because I have so many other commitments. So I set a boundary and that boundary was for myself really to be a better human, to be better for myself, to be a better therapist. it's just like little things, but yes, [00:26:00] I can do more work on doing nothing for sure.

[00:26:03] Sonia: Okay, I'll watch it. I'll like, I'll monitor.

[00:26:08] Kathleen: Will you be like,

[00:26:10] Sonia: What are you

[00:26:11] Kathleen: maybe I should report back to you and be like, just so you know, I'm doing nothing right

[00:26:14] Sonia: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I want you to watch the Gilded Age. just watch it from beginning to end at some point. Are you

[00:26:23] Kathleen: Oh, okay. I am, but this is okay. So I, I'm so into it, but I was just going to say, so last night. You know, I get up at fourth between 5 in the morning to exercise and to meditate and do different things and so last night I wanted to watch it, but I was like, it's 9 30 I would i'm prioritizing my sleep over the gilded age.

[00:26:45] That's okay.

[00:26:46] Sonia: okay

[00:26:47] Sleep is self care.

[00:26:49] Kathleen: yeah sleep is self. No sleep is big self care. So i've really prioritized my sleep in the last six months because that was That was falling, falling short for a while. [00:27:00] Okay, so, carrying on, you must see a lot of changes or an evolution in your self care routine.

[00:27:05] Sonia: Yeah, I definitely see changes. I think that every kind of life change or, you know, major experience just pushes you to reevaluate your tools, especially for me. It's like, oh, I don't, I don't have the tools for this. I'm gonna have to, I gotta go back to the drawing board and, and figure out how I can support myself through this.

[00:27:27] Kathleen: Mm hmm. And so what have the past couple of years looked like for you?

[00:27:31] Sonia: Yeah, I would say, starting around 2019, um, to 2022, it was a new phase where I really wanted some connection to other sober people. And so, around 2021, I was like, okay, I have a grasp on being sober, like I can go out and not drink, and I can not drink when I'm stressed, I can not drink when I'm sad.

[00:27:56] I've gotten through all those like milestones, like New Year's [00:28:00] Eve, birthdays, whatever, not drinking, but I wanted friends who didn't drink. So not all my friends, I just was thinking like, how nice would it be to have a little group of people that, that didn't drink or the center of their socializing wasn't drinking.

[00:28:16] And so I started in 2019, I tried AA and it wasn't for me. And then I tried. online meetings, and I tried a bunch of different ones, and then finally I made a group of girlfriends in New York that were sober or sober curious, and so that was amazing, and so even though I moved from New York, I channel those vibes into like my Friendship.

[00:28:43] So let's not make these activities about drinking let's go for a high tea or let's go like I went out with a girlfriend of mine and we were looking for cinnamon buns in the middle of the day and we found them. And so, yeah, I think that that was important to me was to [00:29:00] find Other people to do these sort of non drinking activities with instead of doing the same activities and not drinking.

[00:29:08] And so that was huge. And then I know we talk about my divorce all the time, but then I went through a very difficult time in, 2022. And yeah, I kind of was able to be vulnerable and lean on people. And I think mostly you and my other sister in law and that was, that was the next big shift for me. and it was.

[00:29:29] but yeah, I think that my self care now is kind of realizing I can't do everything on my own and so And also just getting that feedback from people like even before we start the episode I usually will before we start recording i'll be like so this is what's happening And what do you think and i'm like not afraid to look crazy

[00:29:50] Anymore, I'm able to be like, that's crazy, right?

[00:29:52] And you'll be like, yeah, it's a little it's a little nuts Um, but yeah so something for me lately has been around that connection [00:30:00] part And so just between figuring out like sober activities with friends to having some sober friends and then learning to really Yeah,

[00:30:14] Kathleen: Mm hmm. So it sounds like the sober community is Is it was super important for you? And how important is it to find that sober community for people who are are trying to get sober or stay sober?

[00:30:27] Sonia: I think it's really important, to feel supported in your sobriety and I think like, that you have a team, and we had a meeting, last week and we were talking about dry January and I have a client that, did dry January last year and then we started talking about spouses. We said, Oh, like, is your spouse doing dry January?

[00:30:46] And, she mentioned it to her partner And he said, This sounds like a team sport And he did it with her and I think it can really Make all the difference and so that's something that's been actually coming up a lot lately in my groups is [00:31:00] What do you do if your spouse?

[00:31:03] Or close friends drink and that is their major form of socializing And so, I didn't have that issue when I quit drinking. My ex also stopped using any substances and it was really helpful. But what can you do if, if that's not your spouses or your close friends path?

[00:31:23] Kathleen: It is really challenging. I will say that it is really, really challenging. And I, you know, my current partner, he definitely drinks like not heavily, but he, when I met him, he was definitely drinking more heavily than he does now. and that was hard for me because I, even at that time was really not.

[00:31:43] I think it's really important that you get into it and it can be hard because, you know, when you go out with friends, if things are centered around drinking, you don't want to be kind of singled out. But I think having an honest conversation with your partner and your close friends about your journey to sobriety is really [00:32:00] important.

[00:32:00] you need to explain why it's important to you and how it might affect you to being in that environment. And so that understanding and support from loved ones can make a huge difference. We're going to talk about boundaries again, because I think that you can set clear boundaries around alcohol.

[00:32:18] So, you know, maybe asking, for example, if it's in your home and you have a spouse that drinks, like can you discuss having maybe an alcohol free area in your home? And it's okay to prioritize your sobriety in that. Just like you did, like, searching for cinnamon buns, I think you can suggest or initiate, social activities that don't involve drinking.

[00:32:41] I love going on hikes. I am probably never going to ask someone to go, one of my friends, to meet me at a bar. So really having a list of social activities that don't have to involve drinking and then developing a support network like the Everbloom, your company, you know, that is a great support network to have [00:33:00] relationships with other people who are sober.

[00:33:02] and I think that's really, really important to have that. So people understand what you're going through also.

[00:33:10] Sonia: Yeah, that, I totally agree. So last night we had a meeting and we talked a lot about, how you can talk to people around you. and especially I think it's important for Dry January, how can you kind of rally support for your sobriety?

[00:33:25] Kathleen: Yeah, you can express your commitment to sobriety and can share your decision to become and remain sober and why it has been important for you. being open and honest, I mean, this is what you talked about too, Sonia, is like sharing your feelings, challenges, and honesty and you ask for help.

[00:33:45] And to be vulnerable in that way is so important. And I think also people don't fully understand what's. sobriety means or what, you know, having addiction means like we've talked about in early episodes, addiction doesn't always look like what it looks [00:34:00] like in the movies.

[00:34:01] Most of the time it doesn't actually. So, you know, there's education and then discussing any boundaries. So, there might be times that you're not going to go to certain events. So, I, you know, don't want to always bring it back to me, but for example, my birthday was a sober birthday.

[00:34:18] That was a decision that we made and I communicated that to all the people who were coming to my birthday. But for Christmas Eve, you know, that was something also I discussed with you, with the other people attending. And I was like, we're okay if you guys want to drink wine, you go for it, but I'm not buying it.

[00:34:35] So like, feel free to bring it and have it if you want that for Christmas Eve. That's your choice at my house. That's okay. But. You know, it was, it was a really thought through decision and we discussed and I discussed my boundaries around that. I also think expressing gratitude and support for people who are giving you support and understanding, and that can really enforce those positive [00:35:00] interactions.sonia, what role do you feel that a sober community can play in preventing relapse and, or like having a slip?

[00:35:08] Sonia: Yeah. I mean, I think for me, that's accountability. And a good example is I was at, a New Year's Eve party a couple of,nights ago now. And I think every, almost every single person was drinking and, you know, all the practices I had in place helped, right? I had some mocktails. I knew I was gonna come home.

[00:35:28] I had actually, made a mocktail before I left and had my, Peppermint chocolate bark out and I had my like cutest pajamas and so though that kind of planning, um helps but I think what really helped me was knowing that on new year's day. I was going to be at a meeting an evergloom meeting with with my buddies and they had just gone through the same thing, right?

[00:35:51] And so just knowing that that there's other people going through the same thing. There's other people that Are feeling that same way and [00:36:00] and that I do have some accountability. to be honest, there is no way I'm going to show up at New Year's Day on a meeting and tell people I drank last night.

[00:36:06] I'm just not going to do it. And so yeah, that really helps. I think having that accountability.

[00:36:13] Kathleen: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Yeah, that's a good one. That's, that is really, I think that accountability is so important and it's, like you said, you wanted to show up on New Year's Day and you're not going to be like, yeah, so I, I drank last night.

[00:36:26] Sonia: Yeah,

[00:36:26] Kathleen: What resonated the most with you from today's episode?

[00:36:30] Sonia: I think that, that self care doesn't always feel good in the moment is, it's a tough one to wrap your head around because I really do think that, that we associate that term self care with a bubble bath and I think that realizing that it's not about a cheat day on your diet, right?

[00:36:50] Like, it's more like we're going to eat properly every day because it feels good. over time. And so I think that that's [00:37:00] something that is really important for people to know that therapy doesn't always feel good. And it's not going to feel good after maybe the first session. It's going to take maybe three, four or five sessions before you really start to feel like you're getting somewhere.

[00:37:15] So I think that I think I'm not a super patient person. And I think that Yeah, just knowing that these things aren't gonna feel amazing, that they may take time, is really helpful.

[00:37:27] Kathleen: Mm hmm.

[00:37:28] Sonia: resonated with you?

[00:37:29] Kathleen: Um, actually something that you said at the beginning of our episode when you were looking. You said, to establish self care practices that you look at it backwards, so anything that compromises your sobriety, you have to sort of look at, okay, what is a self care tool that could be used, in that, and I think that is a really helpful tip, and I'm gonna, I am gonna do that, look at things backwards

[00:37:55] Yeah.That is it for today's episode. Thank you so much for [00:38:00] listening to Sisters in Sobriety and we'll see you next week when we'll talk about self compassion.

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