What does it mean to be S.O.B.E.R.? – O: Open Up

Last week I shared about the “S” of the SOBER method. If you missed it, you can find it HERE. This week, we move on to the “O” which stands for “Open Up”.

O = Open Up

Clinical Outcome: “Clients will engage in active music-making to increase emotional and non-verbal expression.”

Here’s how I write the goal for the session on the white board for the clients:

How to get sh*t out (without having to talk about it.)

Merriam-Webster defines catharsis as “Purification or purgation of the emotions primarily through art.” They define “purgation” (Who uses that word?) as the act of purging. You know, to get rid of. Let’s get rid of some emotions through art, shall we? 

The Issues Are In The Tissues

Many of us also find this process through exercise. Have you ever felt emotionally better after a physical workout? Why do you suppose that is? When we use the phrase ‘work out,’ there’s something to that phrase. What are we working out? Our muscles or our issues? The answer is: Both.

As my friend Joe Polish, founder of Genius Recovery and co-author of The Miracle Morning for Addiction Recovery likes to say, when it comes to trauma, “the issues are in our tissues.” Think about it. We think thoughts in our head, but where do we feel our emotions? In our body. When we stress out about something long enough in our head, the stress shows up somewhere in our body. Clients always know the answer to the following question I ask in group: 

“When you get stressed out, where do you feel it in your body?”

“My back”

“My shoulders”

“My hands”

“My stomach”

“My jaw”

And so on…

John Bradshaw describes emotion in this way: Emotion is short for Energy in Motion. Think: E-motion. If E-mail is short for electronic mail, emotion is short for energy in motion. It’s in your body, and it needs to be released, squeezed out… expressed. Any physical activity that activates our bodies creates the opportunity for that stored – or stuck – energy to be released. That’s one of the reasons why singing, drumming, shaking, or strumming feels good. You are ‘playing’ that energy out of your body. After all, we don’t work music, we play it. 

Music-making is a great tool for emotional expression (getting shit out) because you don’t need to put words to the emotions to release them. This is why music-making is vital for someone struggling with addiction. 

How Music-Making Helps Us Open Up

Check out the video below for a further explanation and examples of how this works.

If you are interested in learning more about how music can help in your recovery, download the free Music In Recovery Guide for preventing relapse.

And…tune in next week when I share the next part of the SOBER method, B = Be Creative.

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