What led you to get sober?
Almost two years ago, after a really heated argument with my boyfriend, I woke up the next morning and had this epiphany. I thought, “Lindsey, if you keep repeating these same negative patterns, you’re always going to end up where you are right now. It’s never going to go away unless you address the issue.” I would binge drink, I would get emotional, and it would escalate and lead to fights. I saw this a lot in my relationships.
I remember sitting on the floor having this epiphany—and of course I fought it. I was like, “He was in the wrong, not me; who cares, I was drunk.” I made excuses. But I thought, “I’m going to stop drinking for a month and see if it helps.” That month turned into two years.
I relate about the fights, especially in romantic relationships. I had a lot of that—getting really drunk and being dramatic. When I think about it now, the fights are kind of blurry, but I wonder, “What was I even fighting about?”
Yeah, once I started drinking, all those emotions I’d hidden started coming out. I had this boldness because I was drunk; it was like liquid courage to address the issues. But I look back on it and think, “I should have just communicated my problems in the relationship, as opposed to waiting until I was drunk and then it escalates.”
I saw that you recently changed your Instagram account (@lindseygraves_) so it’s not solely focused on being sober, but I was curious what led you to share your sobriety?
After I quit drinking, I took a detox from social media for about nine months. Over those months, I started having all these downloads of information where I thought, “I want to share this! I want to help inspire people. I want people to know that they don’t have to drink.” During this time, I had done so much research about alcohol and the horrible effects of it.
I stumbled upon a She Recovers conference, and I remember one of the speakers said, “Recover out loud. Use your voice; don’t be afraid.” That was a catalyst for me to get on social media and create an account, which was [then] @freeofspirits_, to share about my sobriety and being free-spirited. That was what I was focusing on as opposed to sobriety—that you can live this free-spirited life by being free of alcohol.
What does your recovery program look like—do you do AA, meditation, therapy, things like that?
Especially in the beginning, I did a lot of therapy. I did a lot of reading—“quit lit” is what they call it now. I dove back into the world of yoga and meditation, and that’s really what hit the nail in the coffin for me. I find simple things that bring me joy and peace.
Has the pandemic affected your sobriety?
Not so much, because even before the pandemic I was very introverted. It was kind of nice to have a reason to stay inside. I was doing yoga training, so I was really busy and didn’t have time to think about alcohol.
There were a lot of different circumstances that came up during the pandemic: I got out of a relationship; I moved. I wanted to drink after I got out of that relationship, so that part was hard. But when the pandemic hit, I was pretty comfortable in my sobriety.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed in yourself since you got sober?
I have more clarity about who I am. I struggled with that a lot during my really heavy drinking days. I have more freedom. I thought alcohol made me free, but now I’m really free to explore all these different facets and avenues of myself and not think, “Oh, the alcohol made me this way.” I am this way. I’m kind of wild and free without alcohol.
Being sober has made me more empowered. It’s definitely made me more focused and allowed me to figure out my life purpose.
I love the idea that you thought alcohol was making you free, but the freedom actually comes from not drinking.
I thought, “Oh alcohol makes me free and fun,” but really it just made me grumpy and not sexy. It made me wild in a not fun way.
Is there anything else you want to add?
Sobriety is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made, because alcohol was so a part of my life. I was born in New Orleans, and they say you can take the people out of New Orleans, but you can’t take New Orleans out of the people. We love to party; we love alcohol. I never would have seen myself getting rid of something that I relied on so much.
Here I am two years later. If you just keep going, it’s so beautiful; it’s so worth it.