Hi, my name is Amanda and I’m not an alcoholic. In fact, back in my drinking days, I was what you would have considered a run-of-the-mill social drinker. I drank just like everyone else in my social circle: a glass of wine with dinner here or there, happy hours, social events. But, as a single, thirty-something - the social events were plentiful. There’d be dinner and drinks with friends and a round of bar hopping on Friday night followed by brunch on Saturday to recover before being productive (or at least attempting to) for a few hours and going back out Saturday night.Read More
Plus, my best tips for upping your sleep hygiene game and getting great sleep without a nightcap.
I took prescription sleep aids for more years than I’d like to admit. I had tremendous anxiety when it came to the thought of not being able to get to sleep. I was easily frustrated by my mind that would not seem to quiet itself enough for me to rest. Long story short: I know what it’s like to struggle with sleep. I know how tempting an “easy solution” can feel when you think you’re a “bad sleeper”.Read More
Real talk: I’m not a seasoned travler. I spent my summers in the Midwest going on weekend driving vacations. I didn’t get on a plane until graduate school and didn’t leave the country until after I’d turned 30. I’m only just getting into the groove when it comes to knowing what types of travel I’m into. Sometimes, travel seems intimidating and I’ve been grateful to have so many willing travel buddies to guide me and share experiences with me over the past few years.
In the last few months, however, I’ve really been slipping into a season of introversion and desiring to spend more time with myself and those with whom I have really close soul connections. When it became quite obvious recently that it was time for a getaway, I made the conscious choice to travel alone. I booked a last minute trip to Tulum, Mexico (read more about my travel experience and recommendations here) with the clear intention of reconnecting with my intuition, which I’d lost sight of during a recent season of business.Read More
I visited Tulum for the first time in May of 2017. I’d heard so many wonderful things about this destination being the boho-travelers dream. However, the all-inclusive resort I stayed at for a friend’s wedding was nothing like the Tulum I’d been told about.
Just two years later, in May 2019, I decided to venture back for my own solo exploration of this magical beach destination. The purpose of my trip was to unplug, rest, relax, and experience the culture of this beautiful place. If you’re in need of a refreshing solo trip, Tulum is your destination - here is my guide.Read More
How a Breakup with Booze & Boys Helped Me To Truly Love Myself
I walked into the dimly-lit theater and apprehensively took my seat. At 31, this was the first time I’d ever treated myself to a movie solo. My thirty-first year would be full of many firsts. This was my first of many dates with myself.
The catalyst behind this newfound relationship with little old me was born out of necessity. It was only a few months before that I’d made the decision to take a break from alcohol. A “party girl” in my 20s, I’d had a sudden sense that my life might be better without it. So, as terrified as I was to navigate the world without a substance that had given me the confidence to date in the first place, I listened to my intuition and broke up with booze.
Little did I know that eliminating alcohol from my life would fuel one of the most intense and important periods of personal growth I’m sure I will experience in my lifetime.Read More
…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.Read More
In my last post, I wrote about how saying “no” to others is really saying “yes” to ourselves. But knowing when to say “no” and knowing how to say it are difficult - especially when someone puts you on the spot or is relentless in their request. Saying “no” in these situations can make us feel uncomfortable, uncaring, disinterested. But “no” is really none of those things; it’s simply a boundary we set that says, “this isn’t for me”. Personally, I find that practicing how to best say “no” is a valuable way to prepare me to do it gracefully when needed. I feel like I’ve finessed this process during my 9-5 and am able to confidently and kindly decline sales calls and offers kindly (even when they're rather persistent)...but I realized recently that I hadn't fully transferred this skill over to my personal life. When I thought about it, the tactics I use to say "no" in my professional life translate rather well to personal situations as well. Here are my best tips for helping yourself to say “no” gracefully:Read More
My name is Amanda and I am a recovering people pleaser“yes” person, and be everywhere / do everything gal. Saying “no” makes me feel kind of uncomfortable. Case in point: I recently made the conscious choice to say “no” to a seemingly simple request. Saying “yes” would have been the easy, people-pleaser thing to do, but I’ve been working really hard to become protective of my time and, based on my own criteria, the request was a “no”.
Since I’m (always) being honest, I’ll admit that I didn’t handle the “no” very gracefully...I felt compelled to explain myself and when the other person wouldn’t take “no” for an answer... I snapped (eek). Losing my cool is a sure sign that I have some reflection to do (I know, I know; we’re all human, but I am human who has gotten freaking good at self-reflection and unpacking things that disrupt my good vibes).Read More
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.
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.Read More
I had a conversation with an acquaintance this past week that really tried my patience. While my relationship with this individual had been wearing on me for some time, our interactions of late - while less frequent - had really taken a lot out of me. So, this week, when I most felt the desire to react from an unloving, ego-driven, place; I took it as a sign to take pause and call upon the tools I’d been diligently adding to my toolkit over the past few years…I took the opportunity to practice these four steps to find peace when someone is testing your patienceRead More
I found myself holding space recently for a friend who was going through a confusing time in a romantic relationship which she felt might be coming to an end. I felt deep compassion for her because I’d been where she was; sitting in a gray area of uncertainty and anxiety…
What I wished for my friend (and what I wish for anyone going through a similar situation) is that she would come to know these four important truths about relationships:Read More
How to make the most of the single life & prepare yourself for the relationship you want.
I can attest that as I've become more intentional with how I spend my time as a single gal, I've become more understanding and aware of why this time exists. To say I'm grateful would be an understatement. My singleness has provided me with tremendous opportunities for personal growth; I've accepted them all as graciously as possible. I know, with certainty that this time has made me a stronger individual and prepared me to be more present in all areas of life; especially to be a better partner. As a result, I know I have a lot to give and will add value to all relationships - romantic or not - and I seek for the same in others.Read More
...And Why I Wonder If They’re Changing Modern Dating For the Worst
Last week, I deleted all dating apps off of my phone...this isn’t the first time. It isn’t that I’m not interested in dating or finding “the one,” I simply couldn’t commit to the dating lifestyle that I felt dating apps encourage or the energy-investment they required. I’ll begin by saying, I think I have one of the most optimistic outlooks on life out of anyone you might meet. For the most part, I approach life from a glass half full, sunshine and rainbows, anything is possible, the Universe is working in your favor point of view. But, I’ve also committed to cutting out or minimizing behaviors, habits, and relationships that don’t contribute to the positive-energy, high-vibe, mindful lifestyle I strive to live.Read More
...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?”Read More
Who really wants to hit rock bottom? To find yourself curled into the fetal position on a floor somewhere, sobbing uncontrollably from pain, heartache, and distress so deep that you’re willing to do something radical to heal from it? Praying to whomever it is that might be listening, pleading for assistance to help you recover. This is the scene I’ve heard described over and over by wise mentors, teachers, and students alike. And, while I’ve certainly had low points and found myself crippled over, sobbing uncontrollably, I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced this tremendous breaking point as others describe. While I could be relieved that I’ve not experienced a rock bottom, it’s actually left me quite fearful that it could be just around the corner.Read More
Somehow, I managed to spend nearly an entire week in the same room with some of the most revered minds in personal development. I was literally feet (if not inches) away from influential writers and speakers like Deepak Chopra, Brené Brown, Shawn Achor, and Simon Sinek. PINCH ME. IS THIS MY REAL LIFE RIGHT NOW??? Yes, I’m happy to say it is. Each of these awesome human beings has either A) Been interviewed by Oprah or B) Had a wildly successful TED Talk, or C) both (in addition to their crazy speaking and writing careers). They have each made tremendous contributions with their work, so you better believe I absorbed every ounce of what they said like a little sponge and took pages of notes.Read More
“Amanda, people don’t change,” said one of my mentors as we chatted over a hot tea. This was the second, maybe third time I’d heard this adage in the past few weeks. Now, for the second, maybe third time, I chose not to accept it.Read More
While reading this weekend, I found a really interesting perspective on what I would call the “spark” in a romantic relationship; the rare, but awesome chemistry you feel when you’re both attracted to someone physically and stimulated by them intellectually. For me, the spark is a reason to be excited and curious; it's a sign of connection. For some though, the spark - while still exciting - is a reason to remember past wounds and be skeptical.Read More
I had a conversation with a friend recently about someone she knew in high school. After describing him and how he’d taken on a “too big for his britches” attitude, she said, “I’m really proud to say that I’m the same person I was in high school.” Although I understood the heart of her message, I clung momentarily to the initial shock of the statement. She looked at me for affirmation, but I was frozen. My mind flipped through an imaginary list of all of the ways I was drastically different than the person I was in high school. My head spun as I counted all of the lessons I’d learned - typically through necessary struggle - since I was in my late teens and early twenties. Heck, even since I turned 30. I came back to the room, barely able to find my words. I wanted to say, “I couldn’t be more of a different person than I was in high school.” It was true. But, through some great blessing, I found something more appropriate for the moment.Read More