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

Counting Your Days of Sobriety

Counting Your Days of Sobriety

Do you keep count of your days of sobriety?  Do you keep track of how many days you have away from alcohol?  📆  Should you?  People fall into one of two different camps when it comes to that question.  

 

One camp says yes…keeping track and counting your days of sobriety helps you.  In the early months it can be a powerful motivator.  That running count can give you the confidence you need to get through the hard days.  It can be a way of measuring your progress, to help you visualize the distance you are putting between yourself and your drinking past.  

 

The other camp says no…day counting can backfire, be counterproductive, and hurt you.  It adds a layer of unneeded pressure.  And really the only day that matters is TODAY…so why would you keep track?  Quality of days over quantity of days is what’s important. 

 

And what is more important…emotional sobriety or continuous sobriety?    If you are white knuckling it through every day…counting those days you are staying away from the booze but miserable…is that enough? 

 

Like anything else in the recovery world I don’t think that there is a right or wrong answer.  

 

Just like there is no right or wrong way to get sober.  Counting days is neither right or wrong.  It’s entirely up to the individual.  It’s entirely up to YOU.  And you may feel one way about it and then change your mind along the way.  And that is OK.  

 

“The importance of sober time is a contentious issue, considered by some to be “just a number” and others, the barcode stamped on your very soul. Fact: your sober date is yours, and this means you can report it however you wish, if at all.” ~ Anna James

 

Day counting is a big deal in some 12 step programs, such as AA.  There are chips for 24 hours, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year…you get the picture.  There are terms thrown around like “new comer” and “old timer”…all depending on how much sobriety time you have.  There are celebrations and cake!  (I like cake! 🎂)  Certain service positions will become available to you after reaching a specific amount of sober time.  Chips, cake, service position opportunities…that all sounds fab!  Right?!  

 

But…let’s say you have 10 years of continuous sobriety…and for whatever reason you go out and do some field research (aka…drink alcohol)…well my friend, then you are back on day 1.  Doesn’t matter if it was one drink or a night of drinks.  You just ‘lost all your time’.  

 

Ouch.  Back on day 1.  But what happened to those 3,650 days you just had? Are they just gone?  As my friend Kate would say…gone, like a fart in the wind? 🐕💨

 

The ‘pro-keeping count camp’ believes that, because you will have to reset your counter and will be back on day 1, that counting sobriety days will stop you from doing that field research.  That you will think twice about picking up that drink.  Doesn’t always work that way though. 

 

Personally I feel like counting days can be a slippery slope.  (Don’t come at me 🤣…that’s just my opinion…and I am just one little person in this great big world full of people in recovery!)  I mean c’mon…we are all human…and alcohol is a sneaky piece of shit.  What if…in spite of the fact that you have 3,650 continuous days of sobriety…you pick up again?  You’ve been stacking those days and now find yourself back on day 1.  Time to reset your tracker my friend.  But wait!  Since you are starting over again why not drink through the weekend…and then restart your tracker.  Or, continue through the upcoming holiday and then restart it.   Before you realize it, weeks have gone by and you have continued to drink.  😔

 

I’m not entirely against counting your days of sobriety.  In fact quite the opposite.  It was a tool I used and a HUGE part of my early sobriety.  HUGE!  Those first 100 days I was checking my tracker daily.  I always knew what day I was on even without checking my tracker app.  Counting those days in my early sobriety was a big motivation for me.  Made me feel successful.  So if you are just starting out, counting the days can be an indispensable tool.  And there are a lot of apps out there that will help you keep track.  

 

After I hit 100 days things started to change.  Counting the days became less motivating for me.  I started finding my motivation in other things…like how I was experiencing less anxiety, I had more energy, my mood was better, I was becoming more active.  After I hit those triple digits I found I didn’t (and don’t) need the daily reminder of how far I’ve come.  

 

I also stopped keeping track of the days because it just started to feel so overwhelming.  With my desire to never drink alcohol again I was proud of the number of days I had gone without drinking…but then overwhelmed by the number of days I still had before me.  🤯 I know…I know…one day at a time.  But counting days was causing me to continuously think about the enormity of my decision to ditch the booze for good.  That is not healthy or helpful.  

 

Counting your sobriety days…or your days away from alcohol…is a very personal choice.   And the way you do it, if you decide to do it, is also entirely your choice.  If you’re counting because you feel it is expected of you…then don’t.  👎🏼   If you are motivated by waking up in the morning and seeing the number on your tracker go up…then do. 👍🏼 

 

Even though I don’t count my days anymore I am forever grateful for this simple strategy that helped me during my early days of sobriety.  The most important thing I hope you will remember is that no matter what your day count is…it is YOU that counts!

Until next month, be well,

Kerri Mac 🤟🏼

 

The Power of Nature

The Power of Nature

Nature.

I can get lost in it.  It’s where I can recharge my soul.  And it’s one of my most used tools in my recovery toolbox.  I feel better when I spend time outdoors.  And when you feel better you are less likely to ‘relapse’.  BONUS!  

 

One of the great things about nature is that it is EVERYWHERE.  I think that’s important to remember…especially during times such as these…with so much quarantining and isolating.  IT’S EVERYWHERE.  We are spending so much time indoors and online, when nature can help our brains, our bodies and our recovery.  

 

Just a few of the favorable rewards we can get from nature are:

 

  • Being in nature reduces stress and anxiety!!  Hell yes!  Better than anything you can find in pill form!  And free!  Calming nature sounds (even outdoor silence) can lower blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which calms the body’s fight-or-flight response.

 

  • Find yourself feeling a little crabby and cantankerous?  Get back to nature!  Research in a growing scientific field called ecotherapy is showing a strong connection between the time we spend outdoors and our moods.   

 

  • You will see an increase in your focus, concentration and creativity…which in early sobriety, as your body adjusts to a life without alcohol, is common to see the opposite.  

 

 

  • You’ll see an improvement in your short term memory.  

 

  • Less loneliness and boredom….which can often be ‘relapse’ triggers.  

 

One of my favorite things to do outdoors is Geocaching!  Have you heard of it?  It’s like a treasure hunt. 🧐🗺  And it’s worldwide.  I try and do it on all my travels.  One of the things I like most about it, other than I just find it a lot of fun, is that it helps me get out of my head and my thoughts.  I’m just out in nature looking for that next smiley face. 😊  (If you’re a cacher too, you know what I mean.😉)  

 

I also LOVE to hike. 

My husband and I have 3 large rescue dogs…

Acelyn, Bobo and Noggin. 

I call them my pound puppies. 

When the weather allows it we

take them and go hiking every

Sunday we can.  

 

 

There are tons of outdoor activities that will help you add a little more nature to your life.  Some suggestions…

 

  • Go for a walk, a bike ride
  • Create a backyard garden.
  • Find a quiet grassy hill, or bubbling brook, and meditate.
  • Look up the local parks in your area…and visit them!
  • Take a nap in the park.
  • Skip rocks.
  • Look under rocks.
  • Go birdwatching!  Another fav of mine that I’ll do for hours in the morning from my very own backyard.  I live on a greenbelt and have a creek in my backyard…so LOTS of birds! 
  • Take up outdoor photography. (This is on my list!) 
  • Rock Climbing
  • Fishing
  • Solo backpacking or camping.  (Also on my list!)
  • Go look for wildflowers.
  • Sit and listen to the wind in the trees.
  • Find the end of a rainbow.
  • Hug a tree!  (Like my daughter and granddaughter are doing in this picture! 🤗🌲)

If you can't make it outside then try listening to nature sounds, not exactly 

the same but it can have a similar effect.

 

I love this quote, by Eckhart Tolle, from Stillness Speaks.    

“When walking or resting in nature, honor that realm by being there fully.  Be still.  Look.  Listen.  See how every animal and every plant is completely itself.  Unlike humans, they have not split themselves in two.  They do not live through mental images of themselves, so they do not need to be concerned with trying to protect and enhance those images.  The deer is itself.  The daffodil is itself.  

 

All things in nature are not only one with themselves but also one with totality.  They haven’t removed themselves from the fabric of the whole by claiming a separate existence: “me” and the rest of the universe.  

 

The contemplation of nature can free you of that “me,” the great troublemaker.”

 

That last line nails it…”The contemplation of nature can free you of that “me,” the great troublemaker.”

 

“Free you of that “me.” 

 

On top of all the benefits I listed above getting out and being one with nature can help you get out of your own head.  To just be yourself.

Do as the deer and the daffodil, do.    

 

I’d love to learn how you spend your time in nature. 💚

Until next time, be well.

Kerri Mac 🤟🏽

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