What led you to the decision to get sober?
There were times over the years where I thought about it—where I would take breaks from drinking. Then there was a period before I stopped drinking when I was moderating it. No matter how infrequently I drank, it became evident to me that it was a dangerous game to play; there was a really fine line for losing control. Like a lot of people, I had a night where I drank way too much and realized the solution was to stop these workarounds of ways to keep drinking.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed since you got sober?
Because I stopped drinking, I was able to invest in other aspects of my life and in my health. The change that I’ve seen from being sober is having the capacity to make other changes—and then with that capacity has come a lot of other things.
Is there a program you do for your sobriety?
When I think of recovery I don’t think of recovery from drinking, but more like processes of healing—and healing as something that we all do as humans.
For healing, it’s things like being able in sobriety to start therapy. In the first six months to a year of not drinking, I was present with depression and other issues; it took more perspective to realize that they had been there, but I hadn’t been present with them. My exercise practice started after too. I started taking care of my physical health in a different way—even changing how I eat.
It was a year into my sobriety when I really began meditating regularly, but that has definitely been a huge practice. Now instead of drinking when I’m overly anxious, I can meditate, or I can physically exert myself, or I can eat food that makes my body feel good. So no formal recovery program, but a lot of these tools are part of the process.
Yeah, alcohol was holding me back from doing many of the other things I wanted to do. I couldn’t start working on a lot of things until the alcohol was gone.
Yeah, but also, there’s a practice of self-compassion of thinking: at that time in my life, that was the tool I’d learned for self-survival. I wasn’t taught healthier tools before that, so it was how I was taking care of myself and what I needed to survive. It was a strategy that wasn’t working for the best, but it was what I had at the time.
Is the pandemic affecting your sobriety at all?
No, not my sobriety. I don’t think, “Oh, I wish I were drinking.” But the thought I do have is: “Wow, if this had been 10 years ago and I was drinking, what would this look like? Would I have these boundaries of staying safe and staying quarantined? Would I get drunk and go into the world? Would I be on a totally different schedule?”
I wonder if I’d just be drinking through this time.
I feel that way too, and also because of the way that it affected my mental health; emotions were so overwhelming. I feel like I’d be having a very hard time right now—not that it’s not hard anyway.
Yeah, there have been a few times where I’ve been really overwhelmed and really in emotions and I’ve thought, “Oh, yeah, this is what I used to escape from.” It’s been tough, but all of this reveals how much we can grow as people.