500 Days of Sober

I’ve been sober for 500 days, y’all! It feels surreal sometimes. There are moments when I still feel like that 20-something party girl who was dancing on bars and taking body shots off of strangers. I have moments where I ask myself, “Am I really a sober blogger?!?!”. Yes I am! And I fucking love it. While recovery has its ups and downs, I’m grateful for it every single day. These 500 days have been full of happiness, heartbreak, anger, new adventures, and personal growth. Here’s 5 of my recent favorites memories in my first 500 Days of Sobriety:

1. Meeting Laura Jane Grace

I’ve been a fan of Laura Jane Grace’s punk band, Against Me!, since 2006. Back then, she was Tom Gabel. I remember reading an issue of Rolling Stone in 2014 when she came out as transgender. She told Rolling Stone that she was going through HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and would start identifying as Laura Jane Grace. Against Me!’s next album was called Transgender Dysphoria Blues, where Laura candidly shared her experience with gender dysphoria. Against Me! has been huge in the punk community for more than 15 years. They are now heroes in the trans community, as well. Needless to say, I was honored to meet Laura at her book signing in Brooklyn a few months ago. She also agreed to sign my arm, so I could have the autograph tattooed along with a few other rock stars I admire. Laura’s the first woman in my collection of rock n roll autograph tattoos. This was also my first sober tattoo.

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Sober in the City: My Beach Vacation, No Beer Required

As much as I love New York City, I love getting away from it, too. A few weeks ago, I traded 30 degrees on the East Coast for 80 degrees in Mexico. I even set a sassy auto-reply for my email account: “Soaking up the sun and binge drinking virgin cocktails in Mexico.” And binge drink virgin cocktails, I did. I drank my weight in Mexican Coke and limonadas – no hangovers, no blackouts.

In Mexico, I spent time with my aunt, her wife, and their awesome friends as we camped at Rancho Grande on Gonzaga Bay. We paddle boarded, cooked, and enjoyed each other’s company. I even had a little “spring fling.” And oh, he was the best! Gunner had lost most of his teeth, so his tongue hangs out of his mouth most of the time, but he was just the sweetest, tiniest, 13-year-old Chihuahua. We were inseparable for most of the trip.

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Sober in the City: Why I’m Not Ashamed To Say I Go To Therapy

Therapy didn’t come to me as an option until August 2016, when I was just over 9 months sober. During the first 9 months of my sobriety, or as I like to call it – BT (“before therapy”), I talked about what I was going through to anyone and everyone who was willing to lend an ear. My go-to person was my therapy-advocating roommate. She listened to me, gave excellent advice, and found gracious ways to sneak in the whole “you should see a therapist” message. I’d get annoyed, but then after the 100th time, it finally sunk in. I realized that my neuroses weren’t so cute after all.

At 14, I was struggling with some family issues and saw a psychiatrist. She diagnosed me with depression and put me on antidepressants. I tried Prozac. Then Zoloft. Then Effexor. I hated them all.

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Sober in the City: How I Found a Whole New Sober World in Broadway

Back in my party girl days (years, actually), I went to a few concerts. Dozens. More like hundreds. I loved getting drunk and singing along with my favourite bands and musicians. I’d think to myself “OMG! Mick Jagger is like, right there!” Or when I was stoned, I’d think “Man… I’m breathing the same air as Dylan.”

While my passion has always been rock n’ roll, my taste in live music has ranged from bubblegum pop to intense hip hop. There was just something about being around live music that made me alive. And by “alive,” I mean “intoxicated.” I’d drink before, during, and after each concert. Since the lines for drinks were so long, I’d often order two beers at once, proudly “double fisting.”

Depending on what artist I was seeing, I’d throw weed or coke into the mix too. I’d get so drunk and/or high that I could barely remember the actual shows. I’d forget the songs they played, the people I met, and how I got home. Apparently, “feeling alive” meant feeling nothing at all.

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Sober in the City: I Followed My Fear and Found Myself

As I continue into my second year of sobriety, I decided to follow my passion of personal growth. I chopped my hair off, enrolled in Spanish classes and sketch writing classes, and even went on a couple of dates (that’s a pretty big deal for me, but more on that next time).

This week continued down the path of new experiences when I took my first improv class. I’ve flirted with the idea of improv for awhile now, but the thought of emitting that amount of vulnerability scared me to death. I used to hide my vulnerability by binge drinking a ton of whiskey, but this year, I’ve decided to face it head on. I found a class at The People’s Improv Theater called ‘Improv Your Public Speaking.’ I hesitated, but finally signed up for the February 13th class as a Galentine’s Day gift to myself.

On my way to the class, I was sick to my stomach with anxiety…

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Sober in the City: I Want To Drink To De-stress, But I Can’t. Now What?

Last Friday, I worked 8 hours on my feet at my retail job in SoHo. As much as I love people, it’s emotionally taxing to be “on” for an entire day with a smile on my face. Towards the end of my shift, I was pretty grumpy. On my train ride home, my grumpiness continued when I realized the train had no seats left. I had to stand for 20 more minutes, shoulder to shoulder with stinky strangers in a crowded little box.

I stood there with my eyes closed, picturing myself taking a bath while drinking a big glass of wine. This delusional thought was so relaxing, I may have even smiled. When the train slammed on its brakes, and I had to get off at my stop, it brought me right back to my reality: I. Can’t. Drink. Wine was never even my drink of choice, I was always more of a Jack Daniels straight from the bottle kind of gal (#classy).

I stood there, with my eyes closed, picturing myself taking a bath while drinking a big glass of wine. This delusional thought was so relaxing, I may have even smiled.

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Sober in the City: Yoga is Not a “Cure-All,” But It Helps

This past Friday night, I attended a Yoginis Only (aka Women Only) yoga class at SWEAT Yoga in TriBeCa. This vigorous, heated flow was taught by the lovely Sarrah Singer. She guided a diverse group of students through an hour-long practice while we rocked out to an all-female playlist: 4 Non Blondes, Madonna, Meredith Brooks, Lady Gaga, and of course, Beyonce.

Back in my party girl days, my Friday nights consisted of pre-gaming (drinking in preparation for more drinking), getting dressed up to impress potential hook ups, hopping from bar to bar, then driving home drunk at 2:30am. My Saturday mornings, predictably, were full of headaches and regret.

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Booze Free Activities in Jersey City

(This blog post originally appeared on Growing in Jersey City)

I used to drink a lot. Like…a lot. I’d spend so much money on alcohol and have nothing to show for it other than a hangover, random bruises, cringe-worthy Facebook photos, and way too many transactions being posted in my bank account. Since I’ve stopped drinking a little over a year ago, I’ve found a few ways to have fun here in Jersey City without booze:

1. Get a Braid at The Hair Room ($20)

I get my hair colored and cut at The Hair Room (Grove & Montgomery) because I felt an instant kinship to the owner, Anatalie David, being a fellow Texan. Not only do I feel at home in Anatalie’s adorable salon, but they offer quality services for a good price and one service being offered is $20 braids. Make an appointment, get a fabulous braid, and walk around feeling like the beautiful bad ass that you are. A $20 braid will last longer than a $20 buzz from happy hour. Don’t forget to tip your stylist!

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7 Lies I Told Myself (So I Could Keep Drinking)

When I was struggling with admitting the truth about my drinking problem, I spent a lot of time in a magical place called Denial. It was a diverse, overpopulated place filled with delusion, ignorance, and fear. I didn’t just camp out there, I moved in. I paid rent. I unpacked. I decorated. Living years in denial was expensive. Financially. Emotionally. Mentally. And physically. I lied to myself daily. I told myself that I was fine. I told myself that I was happy. The thought of addressing my drinking problem, giving up alcohol, and living a life without booze sounded next to impossible.

I didn’t know anyone who was sober. All I knew about sobriety was what I saw on TV or in movies: someone who’s lost everything and they have to go to AA to rebuild their lives. I told myself that I wasn’t one of “those” people. It was nice to pretend that everything was fine and that I had a healthy relationship with alcohol. That was a big fat lie. Here’s a few other lies I told myself so I could keep drinking…

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One. Year. Sober.

I did it. One year sober. Holy shit. I can’t believe it. This has been a really hard year. And being sober has made it harder in some ways. I’ve had to actually face my problems instead of getting drunk and pretending that they don’t exist. But now, I can’t imagine being any other way.

Being sober is hard, but it’s totally worth it. Here’s a few things that I accomplished this year that I don’t think I could have without sobriety:

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