Sober in the City: Bad Days Happen

Today was exhausting. 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 8 hours straight 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 – like always. I had to stand for twenty more minutes, shoulder to shoulder with stinky strangers. I acknowledge that these are prime examples of first world problems. But as someone in recovery, the slightest thing can put me over the edge.

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

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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.

Click here to read the full article on WorkItHealth.com


 

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:

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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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My Evolution from Drunk, Misinformed Voter to Sober, Empowered Voter

Stoner Liberal to Binge Drinking Conservative to Sober Democrat

For nearly 15 years, I self-medicated my depression and anxiety with drugs and alcohol. While dealing with the narcissism of depression and the side effects of substance abuse, I was too self-absorbed to empathize with anyone’s problems that didn’t directly involve me. That included my family, friends, and especially politics. Now that I’m almost a year sober, my growth as a person has amplified my political awareness. I always kind of knew who I was politically, but I was easily swayed into other camps – just like I was easily swayed by any drug or drink that crossed my path.

[The full article is published on The Huffington Post. Read the full piece here.]


 

How I Coped with Death. Sober.

My nana passed away last month. We knew it was coming. She’d been sick for a few years now and her health was rapidly declining. A few days before she passed, my dad called me and said “This is it. She’s probably not going to make it through the night”. She ended up making it through two more nights before peacefully passing away in her sleep on Sunday, September 11th. I got the news via text from my dad while I was at work. I took a few breaks to hide in the office to cry, but I managed to remain somewhat intact so I could finish my shift.

As soon as I got off work, I didn’t know what to do. I felt lost. Dizzy. Disoriented. I called my best friend from back home (who now lives in Denver), Keegan. Thankfully, he answered. I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth because I was crying so hard, but I word vomited the following (or something like it):

“My Nana just died and my roommate’s out of town and I’m walking around the city alone and it’s September 11th and I’m staring at One World Trade and the energy here in the New York City is just really weird and I miss my family and I don’t know what to do and I want to drink but I can’t drink because I’m fucking sober. Should I go to Texas?” He calmly talked me down and gave me the advice I needed to hear. “Go home. Relax. Think on it. Go to Texas if you feel like that’s what you need to do”.

So I did. And here’s a few other things I did to cope with death sober:

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When Being a Party Girl Stops Being Cute

(This article also appeared on Huffington Post.)

The photo above is me passed out in the grass at 3am. I was 27 years old. While I don’t remember anything about the celebrations from that night, I remember telling myself that I “needed to celebrate” being back home after a 3 day weekend in LA. I blacked out completely. I somehow ended up in my front yard.  I vaguely remember my roommates picking me up and carrying me to my bed. We laughed about it the next morning. One of my roommates sent me this photo and I posted it on Facebook because being a party girl was, like, soooooo cute. I continued to drink this way for two more years.

Some would argue that being a party girl (or boy) is never cute and I’m sure they have valid reasons for that. I would argue that – in moderation – there’s nothing wrong with having a phase in your life where you have a few too many drinks on the regular, act silly with your friends, and hook up with someone you barely know… as long as you’re safe about it. Yes, you read that correctly. This sober woman supports others getting drunk, safely.  My toxic relationship with alcohol has nothing to do with other people’s relationship with alcohol.

My body was clearly giving me signs that the party girl lifestyle wasn’t for me anymore. These are some of the red flags I ignored for years, and wish I hadn’t:

 

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Scare Your Soul – I Survived Wendy’s

Back in my fitness instructor days, my Instagram account proudly endorsed the #eatclean movement to the point of annoyance. I, like many other fitness professionals, thought that this hashtag would inspire people to make nutritious food choices. While it may have inspired some, I’m finally realizing that using phrases like “eat clean” could be down right insensitive and borderline damaging.

In case you missed my last post, I recently participated in Scare Your Soul, a challenge that encourages you to live outside of your comfort zone for 3 days.  On day 1 & 2, I tackled my body image issues. I wanted day 3 to remain on the same body positivity path, but I was stumped as to how to go about it. My roomie / editor, Alisson, suggested that my third and final challenge should be eating processed foods for a day, every meal. I cringed and said “Nope.  No way. There’s no way I can do that”. Then I realized that’s exactly what I needed to do. She encouraged me to do this because she thinks I’ve become a pretentious food snob (this is how we talk to each other, we’re very close) who only eats artisanal, organic, hipster foods. She suggested that maybe eating like I used to will remind me where I came from, and get me back in touch with my roots.

Feedback taken.

Challenge accepted. Let’s eat dirty.

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