How I Moved From "Gray Area Drinking" to "Spontaneously Sober"

How I Moved From "Gray Area Drinking" to "Spontaneously Sober"

…And Three Tough Questions I Had To Ask Myself

My name is Amanda. I’m a single, social, thirty-something living in Austin, TX. I’m also alcohol-free. I describe my journey as “spontaneous sobriety” because I didn’t identify as having a “drinking problem” (though, as you’ll read, that doesn’t mean my drinking wasn’t a problem).

A former social drinker (read: party girl), I’ve candidly discussed my alcohol-free lifestyle quite a bit over the last few years. What I haven’t shared in detail is how much I struggled as social or “gray area” drinker.

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Why I Choose Sobriety Over Moderation

Why I Choose Sobriety Over Moderation

When I started to feel like drinking culture was no longer serving me a few years ago, I was admittedly resistant about being “sober” because of the social stigma I held around the label. I didn’t want to be “sober” because I didn’t want to have a “problem”. As it turns out, you don’t have to have an addiction-level “problem” with alcohol for it to be a “problem” in your life.


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How To Rock A Group Vacation When You're (The Only One) Not Drinking

How To Rock A Group Vacation When You're (The Only One) Not Drinking

It’s officially summer, which means many of us are planning an adventure or relaxing getaway. Vacations are traditionally a time to cut loose, relax or explore new places and experience a new culture. For most people, this means gluttonous eating and drinking. I gave up the latter almost 18 months ago and have navigated the waters of sober vacationing many times since - and always with a travel companion (or companions) who were decidedly not sober.

Whether you’re newly alcohol-free, working through recovery, or just trying to be more mindful - getting outside of your normal routine can be a test of your commitment to sobriety. You are surrounded by messages that suggest you deserve a drink to relax or that you need to have a cocktail to be normal. Here are my tops for rocking a group vacation when you are (the only one) not drinking.

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Why Did I Ever Drink In the First Place?

...The Hidden Answer That Actually Surprised Me

Today I received an email from a reader who resonated with my decision to quit drinking (if you’re new here, I stopped drinking back in January of 2017 as an experiment and decided to make it a new way of living. As of today, I’ve been alcohol-free for 463 days...but who's counting? Read more posts on this topic here.). The reader closed their email with this pondering, “Why did I ever drink in the first place?”

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Sober In Austin: My Top Picks for Mocktails and Fun Non-Alcoholic Drinks

I’ve lived in Austin since the Fall of 2015 - it’s a vibrant city known for its funky, eclectic (and sometimes super weird) culture. The city has a little of something for everyone - especially when it comes to great restaurants and nightlife. As one of the nation's fastest growing cities, a host to two major festivals, and a frequent destination for bachelor/bachelorette parties; it isn’t too difficult to find a place to grab a good cocktail in Texas’ capital city. Finding a great spot that offers alcohol-free options that go beyond “virgin” cocktails (which is actually code for club soda and syrup) is a bit of a different story.

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How A Year Without Booze Helped Me Live A More Meaningful & Fulfilling Life

Today is the day - my 365th consecutive day without a single drop of alcohol. No cheat days, no “tastes,” nothing. I’ve written a lot about being sober. A LOT. In fact, if you’ve milled around my blog much, you’d probably think that it was a blog about sobriety, or being in recovery, but it’s not. When I started this blog, the intention was to share my own path to finding a more meaningful life - a life where I felt deeply connected to myself, spirit, and those around me; a life where I allow myself to shine and encourage others to do the same.

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Dry January Prep

7 Pro Tips to Make Your Break from Booze a Success

Committing to staying sober for 30 consecutive days may seem like a lifetime - especially as your friends continue about their lives (or maybe worse, commit to Dry January and fall off the wagon a few days in!). Changing your own habits when others around you are not can be very challenging. However, I can promise - from personal experience - that completing a sober stretch will be extremely rewarding. I completed Dry January in 2017 (which inevitably led to a longer sober stretch for me personally) and have several pro tips to help you make your month without alcohol a huge success. Approaching this challenge with the right mentality and tools is the best way to set yourself up for success.

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Things I Did in 2017 that Made Me Feel Like a Badass

2017 was a year of personal growth and awesomeness for me. This week, I sat down - as many of us do nearing the end of the year - to reflect. While I’ve had some unexpected curve balls that made me doubt myself, I looked back at everything I’ve written, the places I’ve traveled, the relationships I’ve grown, and - most importantly - the work I’ve done personally. I couldn’t help but look myself in the mirror, in all seriousness, and say, “I’m a badass.”

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Let Your Presence be Your Gift

The Art of Loving Where You Are - Especially During the Holidays

The holidays are traditionally a time for reminiscing. As the year winds to a close, we are tempted to reflect back on our past and contemplate our future rather than living in the present. Though purposeful reflection and visualization can be completely productive exercises, this is not typically the tone of what is happening in our own headspace. Rather, we replay situations, reminisce about past relationships, dig up old wounds, or dream of what is to come. While reflection and visualization are meditative states, the alternative is the groundwork for mental chaos.

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5 Surprising Things I Did Sober in 2017...And the Lessons I Learned

I once lived life thinking there were situations -  like vacations, weddings, or concerts - you couldn’t possibly tolerate (or want to attempt) sober. I once believed that doing any of these things, by choice, without drinking would be nothing short of torture. However, I’m living proof that it is possible. You see, I’m a former party girl who - somewhat by accident - ended up spending an entire year sober. I didn’t hit a rock bottom or have a doctor’s order, I simply came to the realization that my life revolved - a little too much - around drinking, and that didn’t feel right. So, on a mission to find a different meaning in life, I made the decision to quit drinking for an entire year, but to go on living my life as seamlessly as possible.

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Sober & Swiping: 4 Tactics for Navigating Dating Apps when you're not Drinking

I logged into my first dating app a little over two years ago after moving to Austin, TX. At the time, I was living it up on the social scene and meeting a match out for a drink was the norm. Then, in January of 2017, I decided to do an extended period of sobriety. What went from a 30-day stint to a 90-day stint turned to a whole year. This left me with two options: go on zero dates for a year or figure out how to date sober. While I seriously considered the first option, I didn’t truly know if I’d go back to drinking after my year-long hiatus. So, I decided to choose the latter option and figure out how to date sober.

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Four Drinking Mentalities that are Keeping you from Living your Best Life

I can say, with certainty, that I lived my best life in the last year. I can also say, with full clarity, that the single most important step I took to realize that life was cutting out alcohol. Without the presence of booze I have been healthier, happier, more productive, a better friend, and a stronger person. Have I always hit the mark? No, absolutely not. I’ve had bad days and lazy days and days where I said or did the “wrong” thing. I’ve had days where I was selfish, judgmental, or rude to others. I’ve had days where I was sad, lonely, unsure, or anxious. The beauty is, I found that I was able to bounce back to a space of peace, clarity, and happiness much more quickly without the presence of alcohol.

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Prosperity Tips I Can't Wait to Try

It’s funny how the Universe will make sure you’re in precisely the right place at precisely the right time if you’ll just let her. Now that I sit back and reflect, the Universe has been guiding me to think differently about money for quite some time. Ironically, I’ve been guided to career paths and volunteer opportunities where I have quite literally been the resident expert on financial topics. Yet, all this time, I’ve been living as an imposter when it comes to my personal financial practices.

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How to Vacation Sober: Five Myths you Must Stop Believing

How to Vacation Sober: Five Myths you Must Stop Believing

Sober vacation. Precisely the phrase I Googled as I packed my bags for a seven day trip to Mexico and Cuba. At 31, this was not only my first international trip, but also my first bona fide adult vacation...and I planned to do it sober. So, there I was, turning to Google to confirm my decision and make a gameplan (totally normal, right?). Here are the top five drinking myths I had to debunk before embarking on my sober vacation:

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Sober in Havana: My Recommendations for Navigating the City without a Cocktail

Sober in Havana: My Recommendations for Navigating the City without a Cocktail

I just returned from a three-day vacation in Havana, Cuba...and I did it all stone-cold-sober. Most people thought I was crazy to travel to a city known for their amazing rum and not have a single sip of their famous nectar, but I did it and it and it was an absolutely wonderful trip. For those wondering if Havana is a practical sober vacation, I can assure you: it is. Here are my pro tips for navigating the city of rum, alcohol free including my sober strategy as well as the spots I hit up while exploring there.

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Falling in Love with the Light: Reflections on my 75th Day without Booze

I listened to a great podcast episode of The Good Life Project with writer and poet Mark Nepo a few weeks back. I'd originally listened to the podcast because I recognized his name from an episode of Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. During the podcast conversation, Mark said something that struck me, "Addiction is when you fall in love with the strike and not the light." 

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31 and Fun: Celebrating my First Sober Birthday in Over a Decade

31 and Fun: Celebrating my First Sober Birthday in Over a Decade

I you read my recent post about my experience with Dry January, you'll know that I've opted to go at least 90 days into 2017 without drinking. When I set the challenge for myself, I knew full well that this would mean no drinks on my birthday. Though the idea was scary at first (and many thought I might cheat), I embraced the challenge and new way of being and prepared to celebrate my first sober birthday in over a decade. Here is how it turned out:

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Dry January: What I Learned During my Month without Booze

My unhealthy relationship with alcohol began over a decade ago. I started drinking my senior year of high school. I had actually been afraid to start drinking, but my fear of not fitting in was much larger. When I realized there were parties and sleepovers going on that I wasn’t being invited to, I quickly began to see alcohol as a social tool.

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