Saturday, November 10, 2007


In the coming weeks I will be posting my rules for mental sobriety, and some tips as to how to apply them in your life. I would be very interested in any questions or comments you care to make and I will try to respond if not individually, to the general theme.

Rule # 1: Do what is right for you.

The most important thing to remember is your needs are as important as everyone else’s. Putting yourself first is not selfish - it is absolutely necessary in order to be a loving, caring, productive human being. It is impossible for a person to care for or love anyone else if they don’t love and care for themselves. The quality of our relationships with others is directly related to the quality of our relationship with ourselves. No one can give what they haven’t got. In order to do what is right for you it is necessary to find out who you are and be able to identify your needs.

Rule # 2: Keep you head where your feet are.

When a crisis happens the first impulse is to try to control the situation, fix it or change it. In many cases the best thing to do is to realize that for that moment nothing has changed and there is no immediate need to change things. For example, if there's gossip at work about people being laid off at the end of the year, when we're surrounded by the possibility of this happening on a we'll experience anxiety and fear. The need to act is very intense, to do something to make those painful feelings go away. It's important to remember that for today nothing has changed, and there are tools that can help us manage our emotions. Making a phone call to a trusted person, writing about the feelings that we experience, or getting up and taking a short walk can all help us regain our composure. Allowing time to experience the feelings and not reacting to them makes it possible for us to step back from the impending crisis and formulate our own plan of action.

Rule # 3: Avoid anyone who does not make you feel good about yourself.

Personal boundaries are very important to mental sobriety. There are people in this world who may be very good and kind, but the chemistry between you and them may be tense and hostile. Many times they're the ones closest to us, the people that love us. It is possible in many instances to teach people how to treat us. In some cases it is necessary to be direct and tell them that their behavior is unacceptable. If we are unable to be direct sometimes we can deliver a message by just not engaging. When a person’s behavior makes us uncomfortable we can just remove ourselves. There are instances when it may be necessary to cut off contact completely, but that kind of drastic action should only be used as a last resort.


Anonymous said...

Love these rules. Amazing how, on the first read, I grasped them intellectually. Then today I read them a second time, after dealing with some issues and things going on, and I see just how important it can be to keep them in mind and try to live by them. Powerful.

Thanks Rita!

Anonymous said...

i love the concept of "mental sobriety" because that's really what is required to transcend the bs.

merging mentality said...

Rita, Great blog! Thanks for being in the gap for me! I attend Al-Alon meetings on a regular basis. i brought this up in a meeting and people were provoked to find out more about Mental Sobriety. I seek mental Sobriety daily... I bless God for you.