Welcome to The (Not) Drinking Diary Series! I’ll be chatting to people on alcohol and on life; about their sobriety, mindful drinking and/or alcohol free period.
I met Mia over Instagram (where else?). Mia keeps a brilliantly honest instagram account, find that here, and is in the process of launching her own blog … (watch this space). She is a teetotaling NYC broad who values and enjoys taking care of myself and believes that choosing not to imbibe is the ultimate health choice. However, this wasn’t always the case & in her own words:
“I spent my 20’s dancing on top of New York bars, pouring drinks and getting drunk more nights out of the week than not.
I preached how “balanced” I was because I was a yoga teacher and I would take the occasional weekend off from drinking to attend a yoga retreat or to complete some trendy juice cleanse. “Balance” was my excuse to do whatever I wanted. I could eat whatever, drink whatever, smoke whatever, as long as I said “baaaaalaaaaaance”. I was the epitome of the healthy girl dancing on the vast spectrum of a drinking problem.”
Mia’s relationship with alcohol looks a lot like mine, “oh we’re cool … nothing has changed except me…” keep reading for more of her story & enjoy!
Location: New York, NY
1.What led you to think differently about drinking?
I knew for years that there was an issue. I knew that what I was doing and how I was behaving was not in my best interest. I had been drinking regularly since the age of 15. When I moved to NYC in 1998, I was 21 years old and working in a Coyote Ugly-esk bar. I was always a go-getter and super productive and I made my way through two degrees as well as becoming a yoga instructor. Working in that bar was where I really got my drinking wings. I was pretty much getting paid to hang out with my friends, be the life of the party and go shot for shot with the customers. Everyone I knew drank like me. I was no different, but deep down I knew it wasn’t right for me. I talked a lot about quitting, but in that atmosphere it was nearly impossible to stop.
I eventually went on to get my third degree and became a Registered Nurse (another big drinking crowd). This is when my drinking style turned from the Coyote Ugly days to more “adult” drinking. This is also when I became an unsocial drinker. My drinking then started looking like a bottle of wine while sitting on the couch and watching Netflix. The fact is I wasn’t doing all the things I wanted to do with my life and I became bored and lazy. I was skipping workouts, eating like shit, fighting with my husband, being reckless with my time and quite frankly not being a cool friend, wife or daughter. My lifestyle was not healthy nor was it attractive. Bottom line was I knew I was playing small and I knew I wasn’t living to my fullest potential.
I always had this premonition that I would be sober by the age of 40. I don’t know where that came from but I finally had had enough about a month after turning 39.
Whatever it was, it made me truly open my eyes and I took full responsibility for where I was in my life. It wasn’t hard for me to stop drinking, because for some miraculous reason I was not addicted. What was hard for me was filling up all the time I now had in my life, and figuring out who the hell I was without the social crutch of alcohol.
2.How would you describe your relationship with alcohol now?
Oh we’re cool. I don’t mind being around it. I still hang out in bars occasionally. We still have it in our home. My husband still drinks occasionally but has cut back a lot. All of my friends still drink. Nothing has changed other than me.
My husband and I live in the East Village, which is known as a young, hip, party neighborhood of NYC. I hate walking around at night because intoxicated people scare the shit out of me now. I am still shocked at how volatile alcohol makes people and it makes me cringe thinking about all of the sketchy situations I have put myself in over the years. I have never been scared to walk around NYC until I got sober. That was a weird revelation for me.
3.What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since your approach to alcohol shifted?
Honestly, I wouldn’t call this lifestyle change a challenge. Drinking itself actually made life challenging.
My life started when I stopped drinking.
Life became exponentially easier to live. Every single relationship I had got better. I worked out a lot of the shit I was carrying around. I got a grip on my emotions. I am no longer so angry or hypersensitive. Things that use to put me over the edge while I was a drinker don’t bother me. It’s fascinating how alcohol can create such drama in our lives and we don’t even realize that our drama is because of the alcohol and what it is doing to our bodies on a cellular level (no matter how little someone may drink).
4.What lessons have you learnt about life (and yourself) since your relationship with alcohol has changed?
I’ve learned that I am actually quite a happy and laid back lady. I’ve learned that I am a clear thinker and that I can handle stress and when emotions do hit, or I enter a stressful situation, I can work it out quite quickly without it completely destroying my day. It also takes a hell of a lot more to freak me out now.
5. How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?
The quiet of the morning is my favorite part of the day. I get up at 5am no matter what. I have my coffee, meditate, stretch, journal. It’s not necessarily what I do in the hours before work, it’s that I get those quiet hours before my husband and dogs wake up. If I don’t get my quiet time every day, I get extremely cranky.
6. Do you have any rituals you always make time for?
I love to exercise. I am coming off a shoulder injury that has set me back about 5 months, but I am slowly getting my strength back. I am currently obsessed with the Pilates reformer. I also love DIY spa days. I will turn my bathroom into a little steam room and I’ll whip up some face and body masks, sugar scrubs and fill a hot, salty bath.
I also meditate and journal.
Otherwise known as my 3 daily non-negotiables:
1-Sweat my bitch out
3-Write in my fuck you journal
7. What’s your favourite thing to do (hangover free) at the weekend?
It is such a luxury when my husband and I don’t have anything planned and we can wake up, walk our two spoiled little dogs and then crawl back into bed with a cup of coffee and take our time catching up.
8. When it comes to your own personal development, what is one thing that you’re working on or learning right now?
Not taking things personally. Knowing that not everything is about me. Not everyone’s bad mood, or behavior, or side ways comment is because I did something wrong. I am an extremely sensitive person with a sometimes overly hard exterior. I can come off very guarded when in actuality I am quite open and big hearted. It has taken nearly 40 years, but I think I finally got a handle on this one.
Also, I now love being around women. I was always a guy’s girl. They were easier and trustworthy and definitely less dramatic. Now that I am sober and a hell of a lot more secure with myself, I only want to surround myself with women all the time.
9. What is the one thing you’re obsessed with at the moment that’s making your life better?
Wow, I’m obsessed with everything right now. I am over the moon with the community I have found via IG. It is incredible how many amazing people with similar and differing stories have come together to share themselves in this very public way. I have the utmost respect for the sober community and all the individual stories and journeys. I feel so much gratitude when I open my email and someone I have never met, writes to me telling me their story and how my words helped them in a positive way. It slays me every single time.
I am also obsessed with all things self-care. Right now my laundry list for getting naturally “high” are mushroom teas, colonics, infrared saunas, cheap massages, expensive massages, facemasks, oils, sage, sleep, meditation, daily sweat, journaling, supplements, superfoods, herbs, tonics, real life connections, good vibe tribes, passions and sober sex. All of which will be discussed on the website.
Oh and podcasts! There are not enough hours in the day to listen to all the amazing podcasts that are out there.
10. And finally, thinking differently about alcohol can be challenging and isolating, is there any advice you turned to or do you have any words of wisdom for people reading this?
Seek out things that inspire you personally. If it’s a person who inspires you, reach out to them. I have found that people in this sober community are extremely willing to talk about their struggles and their successes.
One of my many inspirations were strong, sober women with loud voices making their own way through this lifestyle. I listened. I watched. I took note. I reached out. I still do.
You have to do the work by putting in the time and effort to find your inspirations. Follow all of your curiosities. You never know where you will end up.