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  It is an outdated term that the medical and scientific communities don’t even use anymore.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 🤟 

 

 

 

Staying Grounded in Recovery

Staying Grounded in Recovery

What do you do when you get a craving?  When you’re in that moment and your next move may decide whether you pick up a bottle, or not.  And how do you feel when you’re in that moment?  

 

For example…I feel anxious, I feel panicky and I feel nervous.  

 

In a recent therapy session I shared with my therapist that since my recent relapse I have been noticing I am having more frequent moments of feeling anxious and feeling cravings come up.  I don’t know if these feelings are really more frequent or if I am just paying closer attention now…but regardless, the feelings are there either way.  (Side note – Back to 72 days alcohol free as of this writing!),

 

She asked me what I do when these feelings come up?   Did I know what grounding was, did I use any grounding techniques or grounding exercises when I was “in” those moments?

 

I know what being grounded is…I was grounded a lot while growing up. 😆  And I’ve heard the term grounding used with earthing…walking around outside barefoot, which I also do a lot of.  But she was talking about something else.  

 

She gave me some grounding techniques that I had never heard of…that I could do anywhere, at any time.  I’ve used these…and I have found them helpful.  They help me turn my attention away from my anxious mind and off the craving…help me refocus on the present moment.  And help me move into the next hour sober.  I’m going to share some of them with you and maybe you will find them helpful as well.  🤟🏼

 

The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique (or the 5 Senses Technique)

 

Our physical body is how we interface with the rest of reality, the five senses like tethers anchoring us to the moment.

 

  • Look For 5 Things You Can See: Look for the small details, the wood grain on the desk in front of you, the pattern in the ceiling.  Become aware of the glossy green of the plant in the corner. Take your time to really look and acknowledge what you see.  Maybe look for something that you may not have noticed before.
  • Become Aware Of 4 Things You Can Touch/Feel: The clothing on your body, your cotton shirt against your neck. The warmth of the sun on your skin.  The wind blowing through your hair.  The chair you are sitting on.  It may help to vocalize these…”I feel the wind blowing through my hair, I feel the warmth of the sun on my face.”
  • Acknowledge 3 Things You Can Hear: Pay special attention to the sounds your mind has tuned out.  Don’t judge, just hear. The distant traffic. The ticking of the clock.  The roosters outside. (I’m in Hawaii as I write this, there are a lot of roosters outside. 🐓)  The voices in the next room. 
  • Notice 2 Things You Can Smell: Try to notice smells in the air around you, like an air freshener or freshly mowed grass.  If at first you don’t feel like you can smell anything, simply try to sense the subtle fragrance of the air around you, or of your own skin.
  • Become Aware Of 1 Thing You Can Taste: I suggest carrying snacks for this step…because, snacks…duh.  Pop one in your mouth and focus your attention closely on the flavors.  

Repeat, repeat…as many times as needed.  🙌🏼

 

 

Another grounding technique she shared with me was like playing a game of “categories” with yourself.  

Pick a category (types of dogs, fruits and veggies, cereals, jazz musicians, animals, famous people, cars, TV shows, writers, sports, songs, cities, etc.) and name as many items in the category that you can think of.  For a variation name the items alphabetically or try to name an item in the category that begins with each letter of the alphabet.   This can also be a great game to keep kids preoccupied in the car!  

For some more grounding techniques Paul shared some of his here.

Like I said in the beginning…I had a recent relapse.  Weirdly I feel alright about that.  I have found these quick and easy grounding techniques to be very helpful for me at this stage of my journey.  I hope that they may help you too.  

If you have any that you use and would share, please drop them in the comments! 

Until next time, be well.  

Kerri Mac 🤟 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring Your Own Mocktail – Alcohol-Free Dark & Stormy

Bring Your Own Mocktail – Alcohol-Free Dark & Stormy

Drinking alcohol for me wasn’t always bad. There are a lot of happy memories I have from when I was drinking. Fun adventures were had, friends were made and laughter was heard echoing through an afternoon. One of the bars my husband and I go to in the summer has a promotion “when it rains, we storm”, which meant a Dark & Stormy would be $1 while it was raining. Fun right?
But what about now that I don’t drink?
What were my options? Clearly my fun was OVER!
Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

My last day 1 was in August 2018. For those of you from New Jersey, we know that the end of August is often the hottest and the rainiest of the summer. I was trying to prepare myself to mourn that old part of my life when my husband Jay came home and said “I’m making you a dark & stormy because it’s going to rain.” That afternoon he drank traditional ones and I drank the NA ones. It was a tiny action that had a huge impact on me.

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog
Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

The recipe was originally part of an ebook I wrote for the Cafe RE community. I have also given this recipe to the bar I mentioned before so those of us not drinking alcohol can still get a little stormy!

Dark & Stormy (AF)

Serves 1
Prep time: 3 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 2T lime juice
  • Ginger beer*
  • ice
  • lime wedge for garnish

Pour pineapple juice and lime juice into shaker and combine. Put ice into a short glass and pour the mixture over it. Top with ginger beer to taste. Stir to combine. Garnish with lime wedge.

*I used this ginger beer.

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog
 

Love and Mocktails,

Kate

Bring Your Own Mocktail – Alcohol-Free Tom Collins

Bring Your Own Mocktail – Alcohol-Free Tom Collins

This past weekend I had the chance to teach some mocktails for the Dry July Restore class hosted by Recovery Elevator. The Sunday classes are a little check in and are meant to be fun. And what’s more fun than making some NA drinks?! For the class we made 3 drinks and I’m sharing one of them here with you now.

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

As the warm days of summer settle in, we deserve a classic non-alcoholic cocktail. Welcome: Tom Collins! The sweet, bubbly and citrus combination hits the palate differently when it’s hot outside. On Sunday my husband and I sat in the backyard as the weekend came to an end, quietly drinking these together.

 

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

 

The tart & sweet lemon flavor reminds me of being a kid. My siblings and I would get our pajamas on and then go outside to chase lightening bugs having one last lemonade pop for dessert. Because it was “fruit” (oh the 80s!) ours parents let us have them, everyone pretending they were good for us and us children not knowing the difference. We were happy because we were free to run around.

I hope you enjoy this NA drink as much as I do.

 

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

Tom Collins (AF)

Serves 1
Prep time: 3 minutes

Ingredients
• 1/2 cucumber peeled
• juice of 1 lemon
• 3 drops liquid stevia* (more or less to taste)
• 3 oz. soda water
• cucumber peel and lemon for garnish

1. Puree the peeled cucumber in a blender until smooth.
2. Pour cucumber puree and lemon juice into a shaker, add stevia. Shake it up!
3. Pour cucumber & lemon mixture over ice in a glass.
4. Top with soda water.

*I used this brand

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog
 

Love and Mocktails,

 

Kate

7 Things I Don’t Miss About Drinking

7 Things I Don’t Miss About Drinking

There was a time that I was afraid to stop drinking. I was afraid that I would fail. I was scared about removing something from my life that had been a part of my life for over 30 years. 

 

I thought drinking made me fun…so by quitting I would be boring. I would lose friends.  Which in hindsight was crazy thinking since I drank at home, alone, for the last 15 or so years.  I didn’t have friends…drinking friends or not.  Sounds like the opposite of fun to me now.  

 

In the beginning the thought that I would have to be ‘in recovery’ for the rest of my life was depressing and overwhelming.  Was I always going to have to work so hard?  Was whether or not I was drinking going to be my only real story?  I now see recovery as a gift.  

 

I am truly grateful for my recovery and being in recovery.  I can now take a step back and list off things that without my recovery I wouldn’t have.  Things I’ve gained.  Things I’ve regained.  

 

I can also step back and remind myself of the things I don’t miss about drinking.  Here’s a few of them.  

 

1️⃣  The hangovers.  The bloody hangovers.  This is probably the main thing we can all relate to and the first thing that comes to mind when someone asks you what you don’t miss about drinking.  Peeling your eyelids open, the pounding headache, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, shakes, lack of energy.  There was a time that was my everyday routine.   I would either sleep the day away, finally starting to feel human again later in the afternoon…when I would start drinking again.  Or I would have a couple shots early in the morning to help get me through the day.  My motivation and productivity was at zero.  I don’t miss the hangovers.  

2️⃣  The blackouts.   Waking up and checking my phone in fear…when I could find my phone.  Who did I talk to?  What did I say and do?  Not having a conversation the next day because I very well already had the conversation the night before and don’t remember.  Playing detective the next day.  I was a blackout drinker from day 1.  I don’t miss blacking out.  

 

3️⃣  The anxiety, the shame and regret.   3:00 am was the worst.  I would get up and drink…if I could find the bottle I hid…just so I could fall back asleep.  I never really   thought I had anxiety until I stopped drinking and it went away.  I don’t miss not sleeping properly, I have never experienced sleep like I have since I quit drinking alcohol, it really is incredible.  I don’t miss the anxiety, the shame and regret.

 

4️⃣  Apologizing…over and over…again and again.  It’s true that action speaks louder than words.  But I truly was sorry that I drank, again.  I truly was sorry that I said I wouldn’t, but I did.  I don’t miss sounding like a broken record with the apologies.  

5️⃣  Always thinking about alcohol.  I don’t miss thinking about alcohol all the time.  Have I got enough? Should I go and get some more? What if it runs out?  Is it too early in the morning to go buy more?  The mental energy spent when drinking is exhausting.  I don’t miss always thinking about alcohol.  

 

6️⃣  The harm to my health and physical appearance.  My skin looked like shat.  I had bags under my eyes.  I looked years older.  I ate junk food in excess.  I had high blood pressure.  I couldn’t sleep.  I had no energy.   When you’re actively drinking you don’t necessarily realize the toll it’s taking on your body, or you just don’t care. But when you remove alcohol, it becomes pretty obvious how it was affecting you physically.  I don’t miss harming my health and good looks.  😉

 

7️⃣  Disappointing the people I love, disappointing myself.  Not to say that after ditching the booze I never disappointed the people I love or myself again.  Because that is just not true.  I am human after all.  But I can say I stopped the groundhog days of doing it.  And once I was able to let go of the shame I was able to believe that I am not a failure because of my failures.  And I was able to start rebuilding relationships…the most important one being the one with myself.  I don’t miss repeatedly letting those I love down.   

 

There’s more I could add…but I’ll stop there.  I feel the longer I am in recovery the longer my list will get.  Some days it is easy.  Other days I have to use more of my tools.  It’s not saying no to alcohol, it’s saying yes to a better life.  And there are wonderful things on the other side…you just have to trust yourself you CAN get there.

But it really is worth it.

Until next time, be well.

Kerri Mac 🤟🏼

Bring Your Own Mocktail – Alcohol-Free Strawberry Mojito

Bring Your Own Mocktail – Alcohol-Free Strawberry Mojito

Hi! I’m Kate and I’m here to give you the mocktail content you didn’t know you needed or wanted. Every other month I’ll be here with a new recipe for you to try.

Back in my drinking days I was a huge fan of cocktails. You name it, I drank it. It might have been that I turned 21 just as Sex and the City was surging in popularity and we cannot deny the hold that show had over a Cosmo. Or maybe it was my bartending in a cocktail heavy bar. Either way, I loved (and still love) cocktails.

There’s something romantic about sitting with friends and sipping a cocktail at sunset. I was worried when I quit drinking that it would never again be an option for me. All I wanted was to be included with my friends and enjoying that moment. Enter: The Alcohol-Free Cocktail or Mocktail.

For the first recipe, I’m keeping is really simple for you, just 5 ingredients and a flash to make.

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Bolog
 
Do I have your attention? Ok, let’s go!
Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

Strawberry Mojito (AF)

Serves 1
Prep time: 3 minutes

Ingredients
• 4 strawberries, hulled & quartered
• 10 mint leaves (torn)
• 1 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute*
• 1/2 lime (~ 1 tablespoon)
• seltzer, lime flavored
• strawberry slices + mint leaves for garnish

Place strawberries, mint and sugar together in a glass. Use muddler (or back of a spoon) to smash and combine ingredients. Add the lime juice. Add crushed ice. Top with seltzer. Add garnish, enjoy.

*I used this sugar substitute.

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

If you like this recipe, leave a comment below. Let me know any other recipes you would like to see remade without the booze by dropping a comment.

Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog
Recovery Elevator Mocktail Blog

 

In July I will be teaching live a class of mocktails during the run of the RESTORE course. If you want to interact with me and learn some fun summer drinks make sure to sign up when registration goes live.

Love and Mocktails,

 

Kate

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