This year I turn thirty and celebrate my sixth year of sobriety. After spending over half of my twenties without alcohol, I can declare with wholehearted confidence that sober culture is radically, wildly, profoundly more fulfilling than drunk culture could have ever strived to be. Goodbye party days, sober is the new drunk.
Long gone are late nights spent chasing a “good time,” losing my phone in bar bathrooms, being the wobbly chick your friend has to prop up against a wall, throwing up in corners and waking up in strangers’ beds. Let’s just say I held the reigning title of that girl for a few too many years. I was the kind of partier who wouldn’t go home until the lights shut off, the town shut down and everyone else was sleeping. I thought if I stayed out long enough, something better would come along. Spoiler alert Y’all, it never did.
I remember stumbling around my college campus with a gallon jug of red wine under my arm, peering into my neighbors’ dorms, wondering why I was the only one up at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday. Throughout my early twenties, I lived with the gut-wrenching fear that something was missing from my life on a deeply existential level– and I went searching in all the wrong places to find it. It didn’t matter how many cities I lived in, how many new people I met or how many “epic” memories I made, I was always left craving something more.
My personal evolution couldn’t have happened without moving through the darkness to find the light. I’m grateful for the fuckup years because they amplified my desire to live bigger. It may have taken quite a few face plants, blackouts, and meltdowns before I blossomed into the green juice toting, namaste dropping, dream slaying, sober badass that I am today, but coming from a place of destruction has given me a 360° perspective on life. One day, after a whole lotta trial and error, you grow into who you’re meant to be.
The best part about sobriety is that as a part of a worldwide tribe of radical humans that celebrate self-growth and positive living– I’ve never felt the divide between “sober person” and “not sober person.” I simply feel human. To be honest, I’m less interested in the label than I am the culture surrounding sobriety. Sobriety is a movement towards mindfulness. It has little to do with drinking, and everything to do with becoming a healthier, happier, higher version of yourself. For me, sobriety was a stepping stone to a more meaningful way of walking through the world.
Without drugs or alcohol, you’re stripped butt naked– free to explore your pure and authentic form, without artificial stimuli. Your senses are heightened. You become aware of your natural body rhythms. Emotions, doubts, and fears surface, and you grow from them. Mindful living is about so much more than alcohol or sobriety. It’s about empowering yourself to take control of your wellbeing– body, and soul. It’s about putting your foot down and choosing a better feeling existence from the inside out. It’s about seeing, feeling and experiencing life with a clear mind and a wide-open heart.
Now, instead of happy hour, I go to yoga class. I take ginger shots instead of tequila shots. When I turn up, it’s a dance party in the middle of the day in the sunshine because I love life that fucking much. At night I drink tea, read books and connect with who I am without veils. I make love with intention, nurture soul deep relationships and wake up with the sunrise. I’ve replaced “social drinker” with social adventurer, social explorer, and wholesome thrill seeker. And the best part is, I’ve discovered what it feels like to be vulnerably, courageously, passionately whole and alive.