What is Sober?

 

What is sober?  What is sobriety?  Can we define this? Let’s try!

 

Sober.  First off this word can be exchanged with AF, Alcohol-free, whatever. But what is sober?

 

When we say sober, at least for this blog, we are referring to alcohol.

 

(That’s the drink that put Paul behind the mic 🎙).

 

This topic, especially in the rooms of AA and 12 step programs, can be somewhat divisive.  👊🏼👊🏼  But…the truth of the matter is, it really shouldn’t be.  I think we’ll find out that arguing over what sober IS, and ISN’T, is a silly and almost harmful endeavor. 

 

In fact there are even nicknames for what type of sober you are. 🙃

Our recommendation is don’t get too attached to any idea of what sober looks like, because at the end of the day, it’s not really about the substances, behaviors or actions…

 

it’s the freedom that you have from them. 🦅

 

Do your absolute best not judge others for their definition of sober because as we’ll find out, it’s not as black and white as you think. 

 

Quick side note about judgements 👉🏼 When you judge others you judge yourself (thank you boomerang 🪃 effect), and create separation.

 

In terms of sobriety, Paul has heard some silly stories about people being told they aren’t sober because they drink kombucha, they drink NA beers, or they had beer battered fish and chips for lunch. True story.  Never-mind mind the fact a ripe banana 🍌 has the same amount of alcohol as kombucha and a hamburger bun has nearly triple that.  Are you not sober if you eat a banana or a hamburger or chicken sandwich? 

 

When Paul first quit drinking and began going to AA he thought it was no alcohol, no drugs, no substances, no pills, no prescriptions, no mind altering substances, no MDMA, no mushrooms, the list can go on and on…  

 

But, welcome to the real world, where there are approximately 50 shades of gray, and just as many shades of ‘sober’.   

 

Here are some statements Paul has heard from sober people.
  • “I’m sober, and I drink Kombucha.”
  • “I’m sober, and I drink NA Beers.”
  • “I’m sober, and I eat dishes that are prepared with some form of alcohol.”
  • “I’m sober, and I smoke cigarettes.”
  • “I’m sober, and I use chewing tobacco.”
  • “I’m sober, and I drink 1-10 cups of coffee a day.”  
  • “I’m sober, and take ADHD meds.” 
  • “I’m sober, and take antidepressants.”
  • “I’m sober, and I use cannabis.”  (This has been coined California Sober.)
  • “I’m sober, and I take benzos for my anxiety and sleep.”   
  • “I’m sober, and take opiates for chronic pain.”
  • “I’m sober, and I take sleep meds.” 
  • “I’m sober, and I pull out my eyebrows, I itch, pick and pull.”
  • “I’m sober, and I use plant medicine.”  (Ayahuasca, psilocybin, ketamine, MDMA)
  • “I’m sober, and I have to sexually relieve myself constantly.”
  • “I’m sober, and I eat a fuck ton of ice cream.”
  • “I’m sober, and I love to shop.”
  • “I’m sober and I leave this planet while doing Breathwork or Tai Chi.”

 

Paul has even heard people say, I’m sober, but…they have a couple drinks a year, month, or even in a given week.

 

As you can see, defining sobriety is a fool’s errand. We can’t do it, and we shouldn’t do it. In fact it’s dangerous to do so. If we did, we’d separate, isolate and disconnect ourselves even more.

 

We’re also ignoring the environment we have to live in. We unnecessarily beat ourselves up for not hitting our internal definition of sober. In a meeting one time Paul heard a guy say that he wasn’t sober because he was taking sleep meds. It was consuming him. We, of course, don’t exactly know what his relationship with the meds was like…if he was taking them ‘as prescribed’…but sleep is fucking important. Paul had to take AF Sleep-Eze, and Tylenol PM’s for probably 4-6 months when he first quit drinking. If you don’t get good sleep, the foundation of your sobriety is compromised.  

 

Okay, so those are some Newtonian ways to define sobriety. Those are more about staying away from something, or coming at it from a lens of sacrifice.

 

Here are some better ways. 🙌🏼
  • Sobriety is freedom.
  • Sobriety is everything.
  • Sobriety is living authentically.
  • Sobriety is not being a slave to a substance, behavior or action. 
  • Sobriety is you living your life how you want to live.
  • Sobriety is living with a connected head and heart.
  • Sobriety is being able to recognize beauty, art, and appreciate sunsets.
  • Sobriety is a different vibration.
  • Sobriety is hope.
  • Sobriety is you taking off the chains.
  • Sobriety is you…meeting you.
  • Sobriety is a manageable life.
  • Sobriety is “downgrading additions.” Sarah Hepola – Blackout 

 

If you remove alcohol and aren’t ready to say goodbye to everything else, go slow, take your time, and listen to your body. There is no right or wrong way to do this, and there is no generally accepted definition of sobriety. 

 

So then what?  Do we have to accept them all?  Well, just like it’s a good idea to accept all skin colors, it’s the same with defining sobriety. What really matters here is the person is trying to make a change.  Even if the change is a mental thought form swirling in the brain, it still is something that exists.

 

We’re going to make this simple, at Recovery Elevator, we accept all versions of sober. We accept all versions of you. 

 

***Taken from Recovery Elevator Podcast, episode 380, host Paul Churchill*** 

 

 

BYO Mocktail- Keeping a Gingerly Tempo (AF)

BYO Mocktail- Keeping a Gingerly Tempo (AF)

The other day I was texting with a longtime friend, just the usual, sometimes nonsensical, back and forth of friends who have a solid foundation. While she was catching me up on her husband and son, she mentioned that her son’s favorite mocktail right now is a Don Johnson. Being a curious person, I took the bait and asked “What’s a Don Johnson?” 

It’s a Miami vice with no socks! (🚫rum)

Best night ever

 

And then I snorted so hard with laughter, I scared my cat. But this got me thinking about the mocktail traditions I had as a kid. I believe that we all experience exposure to alcohol in our youth and it begins to form the values we have around alcohol. 

 

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

 

My family mocktail was a Shirley Temple. On Saturday evenings my father would make my mother a Campari and soda and then for us kids, a Shirley Temple. We would then sit dow as a family and have a little pre-dinner chat. As an adult I can see what my (extremely tired) parents were doing. They wanted us to sit down and talk to them, but also not have to exert a lot of energy at the same time.

 

Best night ever

 

To this day, I love to sit and have a pre-dinner drink. I find it the best way to quiet my busy mind. I used to think that I needed vodka to also quiet my mind, but I know better. So in keeping with traditions established in our youth, I’m updating the Shirley Temple, adding in some ginger and lime to spice it up, but keep it fun without the booze.

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

 

 

Keeping a Gingerly Tempo (AF)

Serves 4
Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Ginger Beer
  • 1 cup sparkling water
  • 3 T lime juice
  • 3 T grenadine
  • cherry and limes for garnish

Combine all ingredients (except garnish) pitcher. Stir together. Put 2 cherries in the bottom of the glass. Pour over crushed ice (my ice maker has decided to stop making crushed ice, please trust me, crushed is best!)

Sangria

 

Love and Mocktails,

Kate

PS- When I told the friend she was the opening subject of my blog, she wanted me to add the following “Your friend is an aspiring film writer with a penchant for tennis skirts and an endearing laugh. She tells amazing jokes.”

BYO Mocktail: St. Patrick’s Day-Rita

BYO Mocktail: St. Patrick’s Day-Rita

Normally I post my mocktail around the 15th of the month, but this month I delayed my post for 2 days so we could talk about

St. Patrick’s Day…

Ready?! Let’s go!

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

 

When alcohol is a central focus in your life, every day can be seen as a day to drink! For me, when “drinking holidays” arrived, this was truly my time to shine. It was when everyone else drank like I did on the daily! I could be me, I could be free…. I could have a 3 day hangover… I could have UBI bruises (Unidentified Beer Incident)… I could have lost a phone… I could have…

In Cafe RE this week, someone posted about how in the past they used to drink to their Great Granny O’Reilly and tell everyone at the bar about their Irish heritage. Until they did an ancestry test and discovered they are only 2% Irish! I assume if you’re here, you are thinking about cutting out alcohol, so I feel comfortable asking: How many times have you convinced yourself that something was true to justify the way you were drinking?

 

Best night ever

 

As we step away from alcohol, we have to build our own tool belt of sobriety tips and tricks to whip out at a moments notice. My biggest tool (and the whole reason I’m here writing this mocktail blog!) is:

 

BYO MOCKTAIL!

Having your own drink is, to me, by far the most important thing when socializing. And St. Patrick’s Day can be a doozie! Everything is green, everyone it seems is drunk and you can almost feel the bad decisions being made.

Who wants a green treat to bring to their best friend’s, brother’s, dog babysitter’s, plant sitter’s, cousin’s, co-worker’s St. Patrick’s Day party?!

 

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

 

 

The St. Patrick’s Day-Rita (AF)

Serves 1
Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 celery stalk, rough chopped (save the leaves for garnish!)
  • 2 oz (1/4c) lime juice
  • 1 oz (2T) orange juice
  • 2 oz (1/4 c) simple syrup
  • celery salt for rim

Combine first 4 ingredients in blender and blend until celery is puréed. Strain through cheesecloth or dish cloth, reserving liquid & pressing liquid through. Put liquid back into blender, add a handful of ice and blend. Rim the glass with celery salt and pour into glass. Garnish with celery leaves and drink!

Sangria

 

Love and Mocktails,

Kate

BYO Mocktail: The No Regrets (AF)

BYO Mocktail: The No Regrets (AF)

Happy 2022! I hope everyone survived the end of 2021 with at least a smile on their face.

Growing up, my grandfather owned a liquor store. It was a family run business, my uncles all worked there as kids and my one uncle worked there his whole life. They raised their family in a small beach town in New Jersey. So it was a mom and pop shop through and through.

Yes! A liquor store…

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

 

However when my grandfather passed away and they were closing the store, our family had the problem of a surplus of glassware. So each child and grandchild received some special glassware.

I have found there’s two ways of thinking when it comes to barware once you’re sober. The “get rid of it” group and the “repurpose it” group. I personally fall into the latter and love using my old glassware with a new purpose. Because today’s mocktail is best served from a Champagne glass I’m using some Perrier-Jouët glasses that I’m sure were part of a promotional package, but now have deep sentimental meaning to me. I have no regrets holding onto these glasses and using them over and over again.

Sangria

Don’t get me wrong, those plastic wine glasses that were bought so I wouldn’t break *another* glass were thrown away. The cheapie wine glasses, also garbage.

But the special glasses remain, there’s just a lot less of them now

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

The No Regrets (AF)

Serves 4
Prep time: 60 minutes (including cooling time)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • NA wine*/prosecco/seltzer

Combine first 3 ingredients in sauce pan. Cook on medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool. Divide evenly among 4 glasses, top with your NA beverage of choice.

*I used this.

Sangria

Your sobriety is just that, yours. So do what keeps you sober and just keep moving forward.

 

Love and Mocktails,

Kate

5 MYTHS ABOUT SOBRIETY

5 MYTHS ABOUT SOBRIETY

Are you thinking about giving up alcohol?   What is stopping you?  

 

Maybe you know that you have a problem with alcohol, that it is no longer serving you, it’s causing wreckage throughout your life…but the thought of quitting makes you nervous and scared?

 

Maybe you are sober curious.  Alcohol hasn’t really caused any problems  in your life but you still would like to see what living a life free from it would be like.  

 

And maybe you’re hesitant because of some of the myths, misconceptions and rumors floating around out there about what living a life without alcohol is like.  Societal stigmas exist everywhere.  And although there have been great strides and growth in the AF (alcohol free) movement in recent years it is often the fear of feeling stigmatized, labeled or judged that stops people from seeking out a life free from alcohol.  

 

Don’t fall victim to the many myths about sobriety.  Let’s look at some of them.  

 

1.  YOU HAVE TO LABEL YOURSELF AN ALCOHOLIC

 

FALSE 👎🏼 👎🏼. 

 

First of all, what is an alcoholic?  It is an outdated term that the medical and scientific communities don’t even use anymore.  Instead it’s called alcohol use disorder (AUD).  AUD can be diagnosed as mild, moderate or severe…and the bar for mild AUD is pretty low.  Which makes it not surprising to me that a large chunk of my friends and family exhibit it.  

 

Second of all, you don’t have to label yourself as anything…labels are for file folders.  

 

Personally I am neutral when it comes to calling myself an alcoholic.  It doesn’t bother me.  I can take it or leave it.  But the word carries so much stigma and people have such a specific image in their head when they hear it…that it turns people away from getting help.  

 

Before I get hate mail from the ‘alcoholics’ out there let me continue.  I know that for some people identifying as an alcoholic is an important part of your sobriety…and there is nothing wrong with that!  GO TEAM ALCOHOLICS!  📣

 

2.  YOU “HAVE” TO GO TO AA

 

FALSE 👎🏼 👎🏼. 

 

You also don’t HAVE to go to AA…but it’s perfectly fine if you do!    When I first decided to get sober…many moons ago…AA is the first place I went.  I think that is how it was for a lot of people, because there was a time that AA was all that was out there.  

 

AA is not part of my program currently, but it was as recent as a couple years ago.  I even held a service position for an entire year!  

 

What matters most is finding what works for and is the best fit for you. As long as it is keeping you sober, that is all that matters. 

 

3.  IF YOU ARE SOBER, OR CHOOSING TO LIVE A LIFE WITHOUT ALCOHOL, YOU MUST HAVE A DRINKING PROBLEM.  

 

FALSE 👎🏼 👎🏼. 

 

You don’t have to have a severe drinking problem to want sobriety.  You don’t have to have a drinking problem at all.  

 

You can just want to feel better.  Maybe you’ve decided that alcohol isn’t bringing anything positive into your life so you are just going to remove it from your life.  It doesn’t have to be awful to want better.  

 

Anyone, anywhere, with any kind of drinking habit can make the decision to stop drinking…there is no prerequisite for how bad your drinking has to get first.  

 

4.  YOU HAVE TO HIT ROCK-BOTTOM TO GET SOBER

 

FALSE 👎🏼 👎🏼. 

 

You don’t have to hit rock bottom to want sobriety.  You don’t have to be suffering from the repercussions from drinking to want sobriety.  You don’t have to have lost everything…the job, the money, the house, the friends, the family… to want sobriety.

 

And can you really even say what your rock bottom would be?  Everyone’s rock bottom  doesn’t look the same.  

 

5.  SOBER LIFE IS BORING

 

FALSE 👎🏼 👎🏼. 

 

This preconceived notion could not be further from the truth.  Alcohol numbs our senses and feelings.  And guess what… when you numb the bad, you also numb the good.

 

Remove the alcohol and discover how much more time you have, how much more money you have.  Discover and rediscover hobbies and interests you once had.   You will discover your FOMO turn into JOMO.  

 

If you find that sober life is boring I hate to say it…your life is boring.  Make some changes.   Sobriety provides a greater amount of opportunities for freedom and fun than a bottle of booze could ever offer.

 

It’s not a no to alcohol…but yes to a better life.  Sobriety…there is probably no healthier, kinder, loving thing you could do for yourself.  ❤️

 

Until next time, be well.  

Kerri Mac 🤟 

 

 

 

BYO Mocktail: The First Thanksgiving Sangria (AF)

BYO Mocktail: The First Thanksgiving Sangria (AF)

Hello again all!

We are starting that descent into the holiday season which can often cause anxiety for those of us in sobriety. No matter how much time you have there can be triggers everywhere that threaten to derail you.

First up: Thanksgiving.

 

For all my Canadian Sober friends, yes I know REAL Thanksgiving was last month.
Sangria

 

I quit drinking in August of 2018 and pretty much on October 1st of that year I started panicking about what I was going to do for Thanksgiving. My husband Jay and I spend Thanksgiving with his family, and it was always filled with wine, specialty cocktails and after-dinner shots. That year was different, I had been trying to get sober for 2 years and the determination I had for this round of sobriety felt stronger.

 

So, I turned to my favorite place on the internet… Pinterest. Frantically searching for the best mocktail that looked enough like an alcohol-filled cocktail that no one would really ask too many questions. I wasn’t ready yet to talk about the fact I had quit drinking, so my plan was just to fake it for a little bit longer. There were so many different recipes for Sangria! Taking ideas from a few recipes, my own imagination and taste buds, I created Sangria minus the booze.

 

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

 

I wish I could go back and tell Past Kate that it would be ok and that no one really cared what I was drinking, they were just focusing on what they were drinking on Thanksgiving. That first holiday, I’m pleased to say, for me was a success. When my sister-in-law asked “What are you drinking?” I confidently replied “Sangria!” and I didn’t have to lie.

Today I’m giving you The First Thanksgiving Sangria.

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

The First Thanksgiving Sangria (AF)

Serves 8
Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium apples, diced
  • 2 medium pears, diced
  • 2 medium oranges, skins removed, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups brewed green citrus tea (cooled) *
  • 1 750 ml bottle non-alcoholic sparking apple cider

Using a large pitcher, add the fruit, cinnamon sticks, and tea.
Stir to combine and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Pour into your favorite fancy glass, adding the sparkling cider as a topper to taste.

*I used this tea.

Sangria

 

Love and Mocktails,

Kate

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