On Your Mind | Bill Stierle | The Emotional Sobriety Solution


Bill Stierle is an expert in human behavior and the author of The Emotional Sobriety Solution: Have More Joy In Your Life In Less Than 30 Days. He argues that many of our life struggles stem from unhealthy emotional patterns and ineffective communication. To fully address that problem, Bill delves into the second half of his new book. He explains how a person can shift out from being a “Nice Dead Person.” Bill also recognizes the shame people struggle with and explains the four points of the Shame Cycle. He also talks about the Four Horsemen of a Relationship Apocalypse. So, don’t miss this opportunity with Bill to learn how people can communicate and express themselves without blame and judgment towards each other.

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Bill Stierle – More On The Emotional Sobriety Solution

Bill Stierle has spent many years as a communication specialist, speaker, and mentor presenting on how a person or organization’s thinking, behavior, and beliefs impact their relationships, performance, and outcomes.

Bill, thank you so much for joining us. I’m delighted to be able to dig a little bit more into the second half of your book Emotional Sobriety Solution

I appreciate the invitation. The last time we were together, we were able to get a chance to communicate past in a path and the opportunity to talk about how we talk about emotions and needs in a better way. I’m looking forward to this part two of our conversation. 

There are three different segments in the last part of the book that we didn’t get a chance to talk about. One of them is the Nice Dead Person and the Corollaries. The other one is The Shame Cycle. The other one is The Four Horsemen of the Communication Apocalypse. I’m hoping you can shine a spotlight on these three different patterns for us. 

Those are three different chapters. Each one of those chapters looks to slow down and give the reader a perspective about how to use language to be more compassionate so you don’t wind up or even catch yourself in the position of being either a nice dead person where you submit to the needs and emotions of others or a monster person where your strategy has been growing up, “If I become upset, the world will bend to my experience.” That’s getting your needs met at the expense of others.

Finally, to be the compassionate person or the feeling need person and learn how to shift out of those two languages, being the nice dead person and the monster person, and catch yourself so that you don’t use that strategy as much. Being able to do that takes a little bit of language and not too many words that we already know and use. It’s using them in a way that reduces conflict or calms our body down. Even if I say, “I feel tired and I need rest inside myself,” I’m giving myself self-empathy but acknowledging what might be so. “I stayed up last night. I worked on a chapter of another book. I feel tired. I need rest.” 

Once I say that to myself, it’s to go like, “That was the thing I chose. I chose creativity ahead of rest.” As soon as I did that, I noticed the smile on my face and felt a little bit better. Did that get my head on the pillow? No. Rest can come in different ways. Rest can come with acknowledging that you need rest. Your body goes like, “Start to relax a little bit while you’re doing this interview.” You don’t have to amp the interview up and run at a level ten interview, the way you would do speaking to a large group. What would you do though is be congruent with what’s happening inside your body. 

The confusion or the question that might go on, “Why am I so tired? I’m not usually like this.” We get so busy that we don’t even remember, “I chose this last night.” 

The thing is that our language moved away from being able to be compassionate and empathetic to ourselves to being good at problem-solving, explaining, justifying, or giving advice. We have a lot of practice there but you and I both know the thing that will piss both of us off is as soon as we tell somebody an issue that we’re having, they say the following sentence and try not to jump out of your seat because it gets you ear cubs, “Do you know what you should do is? Why have you tried this yet?” Don’t problem-solve me in the middle of an upset. Don’t try to fix something when I’m trying to get in touch with my upset. You’re cutting me off from moving through the experience of I happen to be tired and need rest. I’m just sharing what’s happening in my state and experience in the present moment. 

“I might be getting in touch with it for the first time clearly for myself. I don’t want to rush past that. I want to stay in that awareness.”

“I want to be here in that awareness. I finally got in touch with why I’ve been dragging it for the last hour and a half. I was meeting the need for creativity. I was contributing. I was burning my brain on trying to get words on a page.” That’s the choice that I made. I threw the need for rest under the bus. Picked one need, creativity and expression, ahead of getting a fuller night’s rest which I could have chosen. That immediately moves me out of being the nice dead person, “I need to white-knuckle this,” or the monster person, “I want to make everybody miserable because I happen to be miserable.” Those kinds of transferences are language that goes back and forth.

In the book, I take some time to go, “You said this sentence that happens to be a nice dead person sentence. You said this other sentence. That happened to be a monster person sentence. Why don’t you say this compassionate sentence over here?” Why don’t you try that sentence, how that feels, and see if we can get that to move forward a little bit and that works better? It’s very important.

In the book, I have it as three different circles. I call it The Three States of Waking Up. What we’re looking to get is to try to spend about 60% or 70% of our time having access to empathy and compassion, being the compassionate person. You don’t have to do that all the time but it’s gently reminding yourself that there is a way to be compassionate and empathetic. Meanwhile, knowing that the rest of the world is spending that time in either the nice dead person or monster person moment while you’re doing that and trying to stay in a more grounded space. 

Gently remind yourself that there is a way to be compassionate and empathetic. Click To Tweet

We don’t have to judge people for being in that spot. At the same time when they’re in that spot, we’ve got to up our game to be compassionate and empathetic. They’ll have very little bandwidth for us. They want to tell the terrible story and then they want us to carry the terrible emotions that they experience with the terrible story. I don’t have to carry your emotions. I can be empathetic to your emotions.

Regrettably, the hard part about this is that our language regarding problem-solving, explanation, and justification gets trapped to try to get us, through the problem-solving process, to be more codependent and not fully clear about the emotions that we have. This is why people are more exhausted at 3:00 in the afternoon because they’ve been thinking in a judgmental way for the first six hours of their day. They are burned out. The more you think about judgments, criticisms, labels, and diagnoses, it’ll fry your brain. Your body gets tired. 

Not to mention trying to figure out what to say or do to change another person’s emotions. It’s exhausting. 

By doing that, that allows us to get off that nice dead person, monster person train. We know that we’re end of the rope. We’re getting more in that monster person pace. In the next chapter, I talk about the four horsemen of a relationship apocalypse. That’s when we start tilting and we go like, “I am being a monster person because I am using more of the language of criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and withdrawal. I am using language and strategies because I’m up to my eyeballs in water. I’m drowning with all the emotion that I’m carrying on my body.”

There’s good news to it. The good news part of it is that if we choose to see those four words and strategies as protective, we can then be compassionate. If someone’s using criticism, it’s like, “They’re protecting something over there. It looks like it’s about me but it’s not fully about me. It’s more about their pain and/or suffering being directed in my direction as a protection for them.” That’s the pull. That’s the thing to get ahold of.

On Your Mind | Bill Stierle | The Emotional Sobriety Solution

The Emotional Sobriety Solution: If someone’s using criticism, they’re protecting something over there. Their criticism about you is not fully about you. It’s more about their pain and suffering directed in your direction as a defense for them.


If I’m doing a mediation for a company or a divorce mediation or speaking to a group, someone’s upset about something and they bring criticism, defensiveness, contempt, or withdrawal to their language, they ask me a question, bring a challenge, or something like that. The compassionate response is to look at the criticism and extend to that person a moment that might sound like, “Mr. Jones, I’m guessing you’re feeling aggravated and I haven’t heard you fully. Let me make sure I’ve heard you fully. Did you say this?” Tell them back verbatim what you heard him say and watch what happens inside their body. 

It’s strange. When you make the correct guess of the feeling you need, they then shift and say, “Thank you much for getting me. This is the pain I’ve been carrying.” I was like, “I just named it. You were bringing me criticism and I brought you compassion and empathy. You brought me defensiveness so I’m going to bring you compassion and empathy. If you’re withdrawing and not going to talk to me, I am still going to bring you compassion and empathy.”

There was one time at a city council meeting when somebody came out of the audience. There are about 150 people there. One guy came down. He was mad and I was brought in as the mediator. This group had been arguing for about one year and a half. The meetings would blow up. There’s this big group of citizens. They would come in and take a shot at the neighborhood council. I was there to mediate. This guy comes down points at me and says, “No one told you to be here. No one invited you to be here,” as he’s pointing at me, “You’re not here so this is not a valid meeting. I’m leaving.”

He turns and starts to walk towards the door. I was like, “Sir, could you be feeling angry and you are not getting the consideration you would like with this group?” His back was to me and I was bringing compassion. “I’m guessing you’re feeling aggravated because you are not getting the message about fairness that did not take place during this process.” I kept going, “Could you be feeling angry and furious, and you want some respect and consideration about how hard it’s been for you during this thing?” 

He is right at the door. He is about ready to leave the building. He snapped back around and said, “That’s right.” “What would you like us all to hear right now so that we can at least get one of those things that you’re requesting?” He said, “I want you to hear,” and then he told four sentences. I turned to the chairman and said, “Could you say that back to him right now?” I had coached him to be compassionate.

The guy goes, “Mr. Jones, you heard this. We haven’t heard this part of your story very well and you would like me to hear it one more time.” “Yes,” the guy said. I looked at him and said, “Is there anything else you’d like us to hear? We would prefer you to be in the room because your voice in this neighborhood council is valuable.” He walks down and sits down. Was it a trick? No, it was compassion and empathy. The guy was in pain.

It seems like magic because it’s different than the traditional response to those four horsemen of the communication apocalypse. To name them, we’ve got defensiveness and criticism. What’s the poisonous one? 

Contempt is the poison. It is like, “You don’t love me anymore.”

When that doesn’t work, it is then withdrawal. These are the four that we see. Once you have those four words on the template for looking at that, you can see it in about every upset or argument you’re going to have with somebody. 

One of the things that was nice in the book, and you might’ve seen this, is that I said, “If someone’s bringing you criticism, here are the five sentences that work best. Here are the five sentences for defensiveness.” It’s a weird thing but to say as an author, I cared about every sentence I wrote. I cared about word placement. I said, “This is one way I can say it but here’s a better way to say it.” I said, “If this one doesn’t work, then this one is probably going to be the next. If that one didn’t work, probably this one is going to be the one.” I wanted to give the reader and the practitioner the tools and the ability to pull something off the page, the opportunity to put it in their mouth. 

The next time it shows up, I don’t know if it is tomorrow because there are conflicts everywhere. It happens all the time. “Use it tomorrow. If it doesn’t work, see if there’s another one of the fives that’ll take a run. Add it in and wait for the magic to take place.” The person says, “Yes, you finally get me. You get me from the heart space. You’re not trying to talk me out of my idea. You’re not talking me out of my pain. You’re helping me to connect and resolve or restore what I experienced.” 

It’s the idea of the solvent or the solve inside that you’d put on a wound. When you return compassion to someone after they’ve given you defensiveness, criticism, contempt, or withdrawal, it is a healing offering. It doesn’t work every time. You can’t make the other person accept your compassion but at least you know you’re gasoline on their emotional fire. 

It is what problem-solving does, which are rules, duties and obligations, punishments, or bribery. It’s all that language. The defensive needs the criticism.

If I respond in kind, it’s going to explode.

When somebody brings criticism, you can’t say, “Don’t talk to me that way.” Violence is coming next. “Speak more professionally.” “You judged me as not professional. I’ll show you not professional.” They’ll take their language out for a spin. It’s one of the challenges that we have. Even though human beings have done a wonderful job at building language in a certain way, we have built it in a way that has favored problem-solving, productivity, and efficiency ahead of empathy and compassion for what’s going on inside the person’s body. 

Even though human beings have done a wonderful job at building language in a certain way, we have built it in a way that favors problem-solving productivity efficiency ahead of empathy and compassion for what happened inside the person's body. Click To Tweet

As we’ve talked about in our first conversation, we haven’t been trained to live from observation. We’ve been trained to live by belief and dogma. One of those beliefs and rigid dogmas we have is, “You made me angry. You hurt my feelings. You are offending me. You are scaring me. That’s wonderful. That’s terrible.” Every time we hear that, it’s programming the brain to believe that my emotional state is being caused by someone or something outside of me.

It tricks me into trying to be responsible for having caused somebody else’s emotions. That’s exhausting if I’m going to try and figure out what to say or do to fix somebody else’s emotions. If we can get this template that you’re giving and we have in a few other places where we can start to think in terms of the actual observation, “Whatever comes out of my mouth is always going to tell you more about what’s going on inside of me than it’s ever going to tell you about the world or the people around me.”

I am so glad you mentioned it that way. There’s one guiding sentence that can help us orient our brain to do it and the ability to adopt the quality of listening that most people are saying the same sentence over and over again. It’s a wonderful mindset to hold in to keep us in observation. This mindset sentence is when a person is opening their mouth saying, “I’m not going to take it anymore. I’m leaving,” here’s what they’re saying, this one key sentence, “Please, come. Help me understand my pain!” They’re asking. It’s an invitation to be compassionate and empathetic.

“You’re a jerk. Please help me understand my pain.” They’re the speaker. They’re saying what the pain is. They’re bringing the pain forward. Pain is a given. Suffering is optional. That’s the way to get ahold of it. We, as human beings, struggle because pain is a part of the process to let us know that things aren’t going well. Whether we stub our toe, bang our finger, or all kinds of ways that our body feels pain, suffering is optional. “I stub my toe because you left the vacuum cleaner out in the living room. Now, I’m suffering.”

“I’m such an idiot. I’m so clumsy. Whether I’m blaming myself and piling on me or I’m blaming you and piling on you,” that’s where the suffering comes in. 

The suffering is language-based. I am layering my suffering through my interpretation of responsibility/ “My toe still hurts but to put a little bit of stuff on it, I’m going to assign blame, judgment, shame, or criticism on someone else. Now, suffering occurs.” It starts ruminating in the brain and then going over and over again. “I should have. I need to do this. This thing is so important.”

No, those are all suffering, “I want to get better, language-wise, to celebrate the things that go well and mourn the things that don’t go well.” You and I can stay in a place of celebration. We feel delighted because our need for learning, connection, sharing information, and contribution to others is being met. All of a sudden, you saw my whole body light up. That’s delighted, energized, inspired, and grateful for the opportunity for your readers to read.

My body is moving up but it also has the opportunity to move down, which might sound like, “We only have so much time left. I feel disappointed. We didn’t get to this other piece of information I feel disappointed about,” and then we can fill in the disappointment, contribution, care for people, the need for freedom, or choice that people can have by using better language, having better emotional sobriety and safety in their conversations.

Our language is designed so that all the words are there to have an orchestra of emotional expression. We have a range of emotional experiences. Most of the people you check in, “How are you feeling,” are saying, “Good. Sad. Mad.” They have 6 to 12 words that they have access to. Take it out for a spin. Take annoyed or exasperated out. Try that out for a spin. It feels helpless once in a while when you realize the state of the world. Feel and say it, “I feel helpless. I would like more peace in the world.” 

On Your Mind | Bill Stierle | The Emotional Sobriety Solution

The Emotional Sobriety Solution: Our language is designed so that all the words are there to have an orchestra of emotional expression.


I keep encouraging people to face the fear that they’re going to risk something by being honest. Let them know that in essence, there isn’t any danger in them being honest about what they’re feeling internally. Someone might try to use it as a weapon against them but it doesn’t have any potency once I’ve stated it myself. 

For example, somebody says, “I feel fearful,” or they’re experiencing fear and I guess the word fear, I say, “Let’s find out where that fear’s coming from. Is it coming from physical safety or emotional safety? Are you feeling fearful about acceptance or kindness? Are you fearful about getting your need for acknowledgment meant or around your self-worth?” Bring the fear on but let’s go ahead and troubleshoot what need is causing that fear so both of us can move through it and say, “I get what your brain is saying, what your language is telling you, and what your past life experiences have validated about the need for physical safety or emotional safety not being met by speaking up. I can see that fear sitting right there.” The eyes of judgment and criticism are coming in our direction.

Once the need is identified, the individual and/or the person you’re working with can work together to meet that need or at least acknowledge that we’re working towards meeting it if we can’t meet it at the moment.

We’re working towards it. One of the most fearful things that people have is public speaking. Why is public speaking at the top of the list? It makes sense that if you’re up in front of people, you don’t know how to get emotional safety when you come off the stage from either praise or criticism. You don’t know how to deal with either one of those things. You think praise will be easy. It’s not.

“You were great well great.” “What kind of great am I? Give me some specifics so I can receive it. Otherwise, I’ll get puffed up over here and then the next person will give me a dark comment over here.” Once we’re in touch with more needs, we can learn how to speak up, get more groundedness, have some more trust and reassurance, and then things tend to go better.

I want to recommend to people tapping into your book because when we talk about The Four Horsemen of the Communication Apocalypse, you’ve got a breakdown of the kinds of sentences that will work best when someone brings on their defensiveness toward you or someone presents you with criticism, contempt, or someone says, “I’m withdrawing from you.” Each of those four, as you notice the pattern of language coming out of the person, has a different set of suggested statements or observations and questions that you have found work better for each of the four. 

When we talk about The Four Horsemen of the Communication Apocalypse, you've got a breakdown of the sentences that will work best when someone brings their defensiveness toward you. Click To Tweet

It protects you as you are facing those horsemen. It protects you from those voices. It gives you a response that is kind, compassionate, empathetic, and protective all at the same time. Empathy turns into both a shield and an ability to have a connection at the same time as having protection, which is fantastic. It makes a big difference. 

It offers healing and connection. The next thing that I want to make sure we get into because it’s a bit involved is The Shame Cycle.

I appreciate that we’re talking about this because The Shame Cycle and the experience of shame is something our society is struggling with greatly. It seems like if somebody is getting their need to speak up, express themselves, and talk about a point of view, even if it’s at the expense of others, it causes some people to feel empowered, worried, scared, and a little overwhelmed and helpless. I’d like to talk about the four different points of The Shame Cycle. What I’d like the readers to read to visualize is that imagine that there’s a wheel.

On Your Mind | Bill Stierle | The Emotional Sobriety Solution

The Emotional Sobriety Solution: The shame is what our society is struggling with today because it seems as if somebody is getting their need to speak up and express themselves and talk about a point of view at the expense of others. It causes some people to feel empowered yet make others feel worried and scared.


At the top of the wheel is the word Control. At the bottom of the word of the wheel is the word Release. Control is at the top. Release is at the bottom. On the right-hand side is the word Rebel. On the left-hand side of the wheel is the word Submit. This is such an unsettling conversation but illuminating at the same time. Many of our conflicts are stuck between these points of view. As soon as I say them out loud and you and I start working on these and poke it at them with a stick, it’s one thing to see it but it’s another thing to diffuse it. First, we’re going to see it and then take a few moments to diffuse it.

As a person who has worked in drug and alcohol rehab for a number of years and does high conflict mediation, my tuning of my ears is to listen to these four things for these are coming. For example, somebody struggles with alcohol, let’s say. The control sentence that they would say when they first get into the rehab might be the sentence, “I’ll never drink again.” They’ve said it fifty times during their rehab process. It seems like the word Never has got some problems to it and drink again struggles with some truth.

The person who’s in a relationship with this person listens to the sentence, “I’ll never drink again,” and immediately feels a little bit helpless. They have to almost release a little bit here. They have to back down. They want to trust what the person is saying because they love and care about them. At the same time, they want to be supportive but as soon as the word never shows up inside their body, they’re sitting in doubt and skepticism in a release state waiting, even if it’s 1, 2, or 3 years later, for the person to start drinking again because they’re in a released mindset. 

They might say, “You told me this before. We’ll see this time. I’m not sure. You’ll never drink again, sure.” Notice they’re releasing. They’re going to go, “We’ll see.” Who’s the prisoner and who’s in jail? They both are. The person who’s in jail watching the criminals is still in jail. They’re still in a different jail. They’re supervising the people that are in there. The Shame Cycle is a little bit like a prison cell of language. The person that says the sentence, “I’ll never drink again,” 3 or 5 months later, they’re at a party with their friends and they think, “Just this once.” That’s a moment of rebellion. Rebellion is a get-out-of-jail-free card. Who put themself in jail? They did. They said the words, “Never drink again.” This once says, “I can handle this.” 

By the end of the evening, they had somewhere between 3 to 7 drinks, went into the release place, and said, “How could I have? What’s wrong with me? I’m an alcoholic. I shouldn’t have done this.” That’s the sentence. All of a sudden, they wake up the next day and they have to submit and own or take accountability piece and say, “I’m sorry, I’m an alcoholic. What’s wrong with me? It’s just my life.” Here’s the next sentence, “I’ll never do that again.” They’re back up at the top of the wheel again. “I promise.” They might even put a little ice thing on the cake.

All of a sudden, it’s like, “I’ve cycled through my language.” 1 month, 1 week, 6 months, or 3 years later, they’ll say to themselves, “No one will tell me what to do. This is my life.” They’re rebelling in a new way. They have one drink. By the end of the evening, it’s 3 to 7 drinks. It almost doesn’t matter whether they start drinking again or they bring some alcohol home and start to drink in isolation because no one will see it. “I’d rather be a shamed person at home than a blamed person at a bar going home drinking.” Do you see the difference between the depression and internal noise versus the external noise? It’s built into The Shame Cycle.

Help us break out of this.

I’m glad you gave us the off-ramp right there. The first step in breaking The Shame Cycle or what I would affectionately call getting off the gerbil wheel is something that I talk about in Chapter 1 but here it is at the end of the book. We have to apply our skills of observation. “I see that that other person is on the shame cycle and they’re trying to get me to be the second mouse on the shame cycle so they can stay on the shame cycle too and they have somebody else on it.”

Here it comes. Misery loves company. It’s like, “I’m going to invite somebody else to be there. I will burn through several friends to get them on the shame cycle with me so they know how it feels and what I’m going through.” Shame is trying to create a shared experience. “I’m trying to get somebody else to experience the shame, blame, guilt, and language. I’m going to take it out on my loved ones.” 

To get off of it, Step 1) Observe. Step 2) Provide empathy and compassionate sentences to the person on each step of The Shame Cycle, all four steps, control step, rebellion step, release step, and submission step. I want to bring compassion and empathy. I’ll hold my hands up for the ones that are not seeing this visually. I have one hand as I’m speaking in a compassionate way and then the other person saying the same sentence. “I’m sorry. Watch what I do next.” Here it comes.

Observe and provide empathy and compassionate sentences to the person on each step of the shame cycle on all four steps to break the shame cycle. Click To Tweet

“I hear you feel disappointed because you’ve had the same experience again. Is that correct?” “Yes.” I did not take their apology. I most certainly didn’t say, “You’ll do better next time. That’s got it. I’m here for you.” You’re getting on the gerbil wheel thinking you’re going to slow down their gerbil wheel. There’s no way to slow down their gerbil wheel. They’re trying to get other people on it. It’s observation, compassion, and empathy for each of the steps. In the book, I write down sentences for what that might look like.

What does it look like when somebody says, “I’ll never drink again. I promise?” I say, “Could you be feeling optimistic and you want some healing and you’d like to resolve some of the pain and suffering you’re going through? Is that what you’d like to do?” “Yes.” Drinking is not the problem. How they’re getting their needs met, managing their emotions, and trying to use alcohol or whatever substance to manage emotions instead of being compassionate to their emotions or thoughts are the problems. It’s big stuff. I’m so glad that you brought this in because this is a good thing to wrestle for sure. 

On Your Mind | Bill Stierle | The Emotional Sobriety Solution

The Emotional Sobriety Solution: Drinking is not the problem. It is how getting your needs met is the problem. How you manage your emotions or how you try to use any substances to manage emotions instead of being compassionate to your own or compassionate to your thoughts is the problem.


I like the summary statement you make here near the end of that chapter where you talk about a person in the practice of emotional sobriety. I would say when a person has continued to be a student of this practice of emotional sobriety, that person will not be able to hear blame or shame. They will hear the complaint about what need was not met. With compassion, they can feed back to the person. When you put the spotlight on the problem that they’re laying out for you, rather than joining them on that hamster wheel, it’s magical and powerful.

The way you summarize that gave me chills because that’s spot on. You’ll see somebody use a blame or a shame strategy. You’ll stare it down with compassion and go, “There’s a lot of pain going on over there. Could you be feeling angry because you would like fairness and for some reason you have a thought that fairness wasn’t met?” The person says, “What did fairness look like?” They’re working on their problem instead of trying to drag you on the wheel going, “They’re trying to drag me on their wheel about fairness or hijack me a little bit.” It’s so important.

One of the primary things that I work with people on is to keep practicing this observation that whatever comes out of my mouth is going to tell you about what’s going on inside of me. If I’m sitting here, like in this moment, I’m in such a sweet spot in my career and I’ve got a prominent author with me and we’re talking about wonderful stuff. It’s not possible for insult, anger, or criticism to come out of my mouth because there’s none of it in me. All that’s in me is this wonderful feeling of gratitude and appreciation for what’s going on.

What we can observe is that anytime there’s anger, insult, or upset coming out of a person, it means there’s a pain, fear, or sadness in them that they don’t know how to express in any other way. If it’s anger coming out of them, they’re using it to distract from or numb the pain, fear, or sadness inside of them. If you can use practice and a template like the emotional sobriety solution to start to shine a light on that for them, you’ve got a real powerful practice for yourself for interacting with people from that compassionate, connected, healing place. 

It is such a joy that you talk about it this way because that was a big part of my experience when I first shifted over to a compassionate need-based narrative. With my clients shifting over to a compassionate and needs-based narrative going, “What need is causing this upset,” it makes parenting easy. It makes relationships much easier to guess or try to pursue what the need is causing the upset. You don’t have to work as hard. Your kid is upset, “What need is it?” Stop trying to fix their emotion because that’s not the problem. Their emotions are fine. Their needs? That needs some work.

Shifting over to a compassionate and needs-based narrative makes parenting easy. It also makes relationships much easier. Click To Tweet

I like the idea of how well it’s laid out in a way that is to my eye and ear compatible with a number of different therapy techniques or models like The Internal Family Systems Model, where Richard Schwartz wrote about internal family systems. He has a book titled No Bad Parts. The core of that is the understanding that every part of me has developed in response to a need that I was going through at that time. Here you have a book with the emotional sobriety solution that has me make the observations about the emotion that’s going on that’s connected with a need that’s not getting met and how to make a request for pulling that into awareness and working towards resolution. It’s a wonderful overlap. 

I’m delighted to hear that it’s landed that way because I wanted it to be practical and examples. I wanted the readers to have a chance to practice some sentences before I gave them the answer, like challenge a little bit. Try this sentence out. If this person says this sentence, what might be a feeling and need that is driving this sentence? Gently do that, get your brain used to focusing on the world and interactions in that way, and watch what happens so it goes better. 

It does give me a nice template for laying on top of several different things where people say, “Here’s your part. Talk to your part. Have a visualization with this part.” If you can add the emotional sobriety solution and that very clear template about identifying the observation, emotion, need, and request for the need to be met, it fits beautifully. I’ve already seen it make a difference in people’s lives in my sessions. Thank you for that work. 

On Your Mind | Bill Stierle | The Emotional Sobriety Solution

The Emotional Sobriety Solution: Have More Joy In Your Life In Less Than 30 Days

I appreciate it. I look forward to more interviews like this at any time you’d like. I am working on a couple of other books that are the next levels of this so that we can take some of those out for a spin. Let’s keep walking the journey and sharing the ability to get to the people that know these things so that they can experience the next level of emotional safety, emotional sobriety, and some resilience so they can deal with junky things that people say or do. 

Stay connected and have better relationships. It’s wonderful. Please keep me posted. Give us the preferred website for people to reach you. 

My website is BillStierle.com. If you go onto Amazon, it’s The Emotional Sobriety Solution. There are two books on there. There is a hardback that is color-coded that color codes the feelings, the needs, and the requests in the book. I color-coded the book so the reader would go, “He’s pointing the words out here to put them in specific places.” The paperback there is coming along. I’ll do a recording of this so the audio will be available. That’s where I am in the process of things. I’m looking forward to hearing the feedback and we’ll keep walking the path.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to be with us. I look forward to the next book. 

More to Come. Thanks a million. 



Bill Stierle has spent many years as a communication specialist, speaker, and mentor presenting on how a person or organization’s thinking behavior, and beliefs impact their relationships, performance, and outcomes. As an expert in human behavior, Bill provides life-changing tools and techniques to his clients that allow them to grow their businesses and transform their personal relationships.

Throughout his career, Bill has supported Fortune 500 companies, top business schools, A-list celebrities, governmental institutions, and individual business people to refine their effectiveness, streamline their systems, and energize sales teams to dramatically increase their bottom-line profits. Bill provides his clients with simple and implementable takeaways that build a natural rapport with the speaker and the reader. His wisdom and insights can also be found in his book, The Emotional Sobriety Solutions


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About Bill Stierle

On Your Mind | Bill Stierle | The Emotional Sobriety SolutionBill Stierle has spent over 33 years as a Communication Specialist, Speaker, and Mentor presenting on how a person’s or organization’s thinking, behavior, or beliefs impact their relationships, performance, and outcomes.
As an expert in human behavior, Bill provides life-changing tools and techniques to his clients that allow them to grow their businesses and transform their personal relationships. Throughout his career, Bill has supported Fortune 500 companies, top business schools, A-list celebrities, governmental institutions, and individual business people to refine their effectiveness, streamlined systems, and energized sales teams to dramatically increase their bottom-line profits. Bill provides his clients with simple and implementable takeaways that build natural rapport between the speaker and the listener. His wisdom and insights can also be found in his newly released book, The Emotional Sobriety Solution.


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