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Sober Holiday Tip Sixteen - Stay Calm and Carry On!

Before sobriety, I thought it was natural to feel annoyed when someone bothers you or behaves in a way that you find irritating. But, that would mean that other people and outside events control my thoughts and behaviors. I'd be a puppet on a string!

Feeling out of control and manipulated by the world used to make me feel overwhelmed, angry and depressed. It turned into my thought, "You'd drink too if you had my problems."

Now I know it's not them, it's me and unresolved issues or subconscious thoughts I still have to work on. Knowing this has helped me grow emotionally and spiritually. It makes life so much easier. Instead of trying fruitlessly to change or fix the world, I work on myself.

However, I'm a work in progress and I'm definitely not perfect. Sometimes people get to me and I think it's important to handle the situation in a calm and respectful manner. Here are some tips on what to do when (you let) people annoy you:

  1. Pause and take a deep breath: Before reacting, take a deep breath to help you stay calm and collected.

  2. Identify the source of annoyance: Try to identify what exactly is bothering you. Is it the person's behavior, actions, or words? What is it stirring inside? An example: my husband wasn't listening to me the other day and I started to get angry and hurt. I paused, took a breath and thought, "What is getting triggered?" Then I realized I had old thoughts from childhood on how I wasn't important and that I didn't matter. Once I identified this I was able to focus on the present and address how I felt in a rational and self-caring way.

  3. Communicate your feelings: Don't say, "You did this..." Try to begin with you - how you're feeling and avoid using accusatory language. For example: "I feel hurt when you keep looking at the computer when I'm talking." That opens a conversation instead of ending one or starting an argument about who's right or wrong!

  4. Set boundaries: If the person continues to behave in a way that annoys you, it may be necessary to set boundaries. Let the person know what behaviors are not acceptable and what consequences there will be if they continue.

  5. Take a break: If the annoyance becomes too overwhelming, take a break and step away from the situation for a while. This can help you calm down and regain your composure.

Remember, it's important to treat others with respect and kindness. We're all trying our best at any given moment. Take care of yourself - do some inner-work and then start communicating effectively and setting healthy boundaries.

We can maintain positive relationships while also addressing our own needs!

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