Technique Squidward, Technique

Being a SpongeBob fan of sorts I am humorously reminded that technique can make or break my success.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

In the Bubble Stand episode, SpongeBob is blowing intricately shaped bubbles but only after a long and seemingly unnecessary set of motions (aka technique dance). Squidward, irritated with SpongeBob’s shenanigans, can’t blow even a small bubble until he follows this technique.  SpongeBob is yelling, “technique, technique,” all while demonstrating the technique.

Why the silly story? It reminds me that how I do the task can make the difference.For me this task was journaling. I was at a point in my sobriety where straight journaling (writing to exhaustion) was no longer yielding the results it had in early sobriety. Newly sober I was encouraged to write—ALL of it. It didn’t matter who I spoke of, what expletives were used, or how it was punctuated. The purpose: To release from my head all the stories I was holding onto. I was allowed to keep the ones that served me. I was to work on releasing the ones that did not.

For me this writing involved 12-step work, therapy assignments, and coaching assignments. My mentors encouraged me to write it out. I was to get it out of my head onto something, anything. Typed, cursive, or scribbled, the goal was the same —write and release.

This worked brilliantly for a long time, but eventually my one way dialogue lacked sustenance. I had achieved what I set out to do—release the imploding anger/resentment/judgment.

There had to be more to sobriety than releasing feelings. There was—there is. I learned that my writing was fine. It was simply time to move onto a newer technique—a technique that served my evolving mind.

What is A/B journaling? “A” is the voice of the antagonist, alpha, irritant. “B” is the voice of beauty, love, being. What I learned was that A always had something ego driven to say and B was sweetly waiting in the wings to be invited into the conversation. B was to be my salvation. B was the bringer of peace of mind. I knew voice A quite well—too well. A never quit talking actually. And when it did I felt uneasy. The silence was deafening. I learned later this is called serenity.

I realized during this time of my sobriety that I had worked diligently on releasing old anger, but wasn’t now sure what new thoughts to have. I had my life built around the fact that I had to drink to deal with all of you and all the trouble you caused me. If A was quiet or quieter (FYI A never goes away permanently, at least not for me) then what was I to do with my free thinking time?

Not think seemed the obvious answer because my thinking had me drinking. And that’s when it happened. B was there lovingly waiting to show me a new creation; a world that was filled with possibility, probability, choices, cooperation, perseverance, and freedom. My job was to ask the questions and then listen (and journal) the answers. Once clear on the answer my next step was to act, in accordance, with my discovery.

I had a voice within that loved me and wanted the best for me. No longer was A allowed to come in a smash me to pieces. I had an ally. Not only did I have a friend, but one that was with me—always. All I ever needed to do … invite B into the conversation. How I had managed without this sweet voice is beyond me.

Wait! I guess I hadn’t managed.

Somehow I had never managed to learn of this kindness toward myself.

The moral of the post: If you are new(er) to sobriety and looking for some relief see if the A/B journaling technique can give you some respite. It doesn’t matter how many A voices you have in your head, you only need to hear one loving B voice to begin the journey. A new, “technique, technique” might awaken a new life.


Note: A/B journaling is not a onetime panacea. It takes practice and discipline like anything else worth achieving. I am many years sober and I continue to journal because my life (aka sobriety) depends upon this simple task. If you struggle come find me and I will help you.

We can and do change. Believe it!

More of this technique in my book Sober Identity

This was originally posted in January 2013.

9 Responses to “Technique Squidward, Technique

  • Robert H.
    8 years ago

    I’m trying Ho’ oponoopono. Helps me empty my head of erratic thoughts. Stimulates and helps me focus.

    • Lisa Neumann
      8 years ago

      Robert, Where did you learn this? I googled “Ho’oponoopono” and read up on the process. Fascinating. I’ll spend a little more time reading up on it. One of my clients is from Hawaii. I’m going to mention this the next time I see him. Thanks ♥ Lisa

  • A great post! You bring up a great idea that I’m going to piggyback off of here….

    There are times where things no longer seem to work like they used to. The way I see it, that’s because we’ve grown and we’ve evolved to a point where we can take things to a higher level (because we’re AT a higher level). If we keep doing the same things, we’ll stay in the exact same place. Moving to a new and higher place will require us to take on a new challenging path. Lessons and growth never end, because the stronger we become, the more we can take on.

    Journaling was once a must for me, but now I’m at a place where I just dialogue in my head. Journaling used to be a powerful tool for me, but I can get the same benefits in other ways. And so much faster! Instead of getting stuck on needing the process to get the results (ie. drinking for “peace”, or journaling for clarity), I focus on getting the results I need and play with the ways I can get there. Really, focusing on our development will make former necessities obsolete. Sometimes we grow to a place where we don’t need them anymore. But that’s not bad. That’s great! Growing isn’t about following a set procedure. It’s about doing what encourages our growth. Constant change and growth will also cause our processes to change and expand. Whatever form of journaling that will involve, or whatever other method that leads to, it’s about doing what works. When the heart feels unsettled and discontent like Lisa’s, that’s our cue to evaluate the situation and contemplate what’s next.

    At least, those are my thoughts on the topic. 😉

  • Beautiful advice as always, Lisa. I am going to share this with my community. Journalling is such a powerful aid on life. I hope life is treating you well. xx

    • Lisa Neumann
      8 years ago

      Thank you Lee. Nice to see your smiling face. I love your new gravatar. You’ve so much going on at your site “Needy Helper” … Wow! Hoping life is well and seeing you are helping many. I love it. Blessings.

  • catlinwellness
    8 years ago

    This post comes at such the right time for me!! Thank you for reposting it, for the beautiful reminder, for the push to get back on track with a strategy that works. Have a beautiful day!! xoxo

    • Lisa Neumann
      8 years ago

      Great to see you. How is work? I know your retreat is rapidly approaching. Would love to catch up. I’ve been busy and a little disconnected from my online people, but connected strongly with those who need me. It’s all good. Much love from me to you.

      • catlinwellness
        8 years ago

        Hey, sorry for the late reply. We were in NC for a couple of weeks anticipating the arrival of our first grandchild! Finally getting my life back in order 🙂

        Yes!!!! The Nourish Your Sobriety workshop is coming up on Nov. 11th. Looks like a really nice group of women will be joining me in East Dorset, Vt. for the weekend. I am super excited. So, I relate to being out of touch… things settle down…ummmmm after Christmas??!! Hahahaha!

        Love back at ‘cha

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