Welcome to The (Not) Drinking Diary Series, today I’m chatting to Ruby Warrington (founder of The Numinous and sober (curious) events Club Soda NYC and High Sobriety).
Ruby Warrington is a British journalist and author, currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Formerly Features Editor on the UK Sunday Times Stylemagazine, in 2013 she launched The Numinous, a cosmic lifestyle platform that bridges the gap between the mystical and the mainstream. Ruby works regularly with brands on a consultancy basis, while her writing features in publications on both sides of the Atlantic. Other projects include “sober curious” event series Club SÖDA NYC and digital spiritual mentoring program Moon Club. Ruby’s first book, Material Girl, Mystical World, is out now with Harper Collins.
Ruby is awesome! And she’s doing lots for making sobriety and a sober curious attitude cool. I went to Ruby’s first sober curious event in London Off the Rocks back in January (in my very early sober days!) and am looking forward to her next event in London on September 7th.
Read on for her not drinking diary …
Name: Ruby Warrington
Location: New York
1.Tell me a little bit of your drinking story …
For the past seven years I’ve been following what I call a “sober curious” path, meaning I’ve been questioning everything I thought I knew about booze. Meaning questions like: What would life feel like if I never drank at all? Why drink at all, when I know it (usually) makes me feel like s*it? Why is alcohol so … everywhere? Do they all think about drink as much as me? How come I become boring, an outsider, a weirdo, a problem, if I say I’m not? Why are there still times I can’t not? And the big one: Does all this make me an alcoholic?
2. What led you to think differently about drinking?
In my middle thirties, it became harder and harder to ignore the simple truth: alcohol was a major contributor to the overall mood of anxiety and unhappiness that had begun to cloud my days. This coincided with the time I had my first experience of meditation, and began investigating my passion project, an online magazine called The Numinous.
I also began to notice how much more confident and inspired I felt when I stopped drinking for extended periods, and decided I wanted to feel that way all the time.
3.How would you describe your relationship with alcohol now?
My path has meant I’ve been able to completely re-categorize alcohol, and I now see it for what it is: a potent, toxic and highly addictive psychoactive substance, that can have its uses, but which is to be treated with extreme caution!
This means the occasions it feels appropriate to use it have shrunk to practically none—maybe four or five times a year.
4.What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since your approach to alcohol shifted?
I’ve been challenged by people in the recovery community, who think my “sober curious” approach is potentially a dangerous conversation. For many, there is no middle ground when it comes to addiction, and I am very aware of the fact this cannot be stated often enough. It has taken years of conscious effort and dedicated, not to mention deep, deep self-enquiry using many of the spiritual tools I cover on The Numinous, to reach a point where I no longer have obsessive / addictive thoughts about alcohol.
I’m also aware that there are many things unique to my situation that have made this possible for me, and that total abstinence is the only answer for others.
5.What lessons have you learnt about life (and yourself) since your relationship with alcohol has changed?
The biggest one is around what I call “the confidence paradox.” Like a lot of people, I drank to feel more confident, but I’ve realized I’m actually more confident without booze—when I have one hundred percent clarity about who I am, what I’m thinking and feeling, what I want to say, and what I need in any given situation.
6. What benefits of cutting down on alcohol or stopping drinking have you experienced?
How long have you got!
Every area of my life has improved without booze. I sleep better and have more energy, ongoing digestive issues have healed, I have more confidence, more clarity and feel more inspired, my family relationships have improved, and I’m more connected to my sense of self.
7.Are there any resources that have helped you to cut down or stop drinking?
Starting my Club SÖDA NYC event series has been key, as it’s meant having an open and shame-free conversation about alcohol and the nature of addiction. So freeing!
Various books have really helped: The Biology of Desire and This Naked Mind, being two that really helped me get perspective on what alcohol is and why we become addicted (L’s note: you can read my interview with Annie Grace – author of This Naked Mind here).
On a practical level, yoga and meditation have been key.
8.How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?
20 minutes of TM (transcendental meditation), hot water and lemon, oatmeal with chia seeds and all kinds of crazy supplements, and about a litre of green tea!
9. What’s your favourite thing to do (hangover free & not drinking) at the weekend?
Wake up! Nothing feels better than waking up refreshed after a full night of proper deep sleep, and knowing you have the whole day ahead of you to use as you please.
10. When it comes to your own personal development, what is one thing that you’re working on or learning right now?
How not to be a workaholic. Cutting alcohol out meant at first I filled the extra hours I used to spend either drinking or hungover with work I’ve been extremely productive the past few years as a result, which is great!
But I’m now relearning how to relax and switch off without booze.
11. What is the one thing you’re obsessed with at the moment that’s making your life better?
Not replying to emails I don’t actually need to reply to (see above!)
12.Any go-to people we should follow for inspiration? (Health, Fitness, Life, travel you name it!)
I love yogi and fitness babe Shona Vertue, who’s also speaking at my next sober curious event in London on Sept 7th. She has people stop drinking for 28 days as part of her wellness program The Vertue Method.
13. And finally, thinking differently about your relationship with 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?
Stay focussed on what feels great about not drinking, rather than all the reasons you’re not.
Framing not drinking as a positive lifestyle choice (“I am choosing to feel more confident, happy, and alive”) vs an act of denial (“I am not allowed to drink”) has helped me stay the course.
It’s also vitally important to surround yourself with people who support you and your drinking choices, and make you feel good about yourself. This may mean not seeing some of your old drinking friends, but if you’re serious about changing your habits, then see this as what I call an act of healthy “higher selfishness.”
Ruby’s next London event, High Sobriety, is on September 7th. An evening discussion and Q&A on what it means to live a fabulous sober (curious) life, followed by mocktails and raw cakes by The Hardihood!
Follow Ruby Warrington (The Numinous) on Instagram, Twitter and check out her website The Numinous (I love the horoscopes!).
Be sure to explore the other Not Drinking Diary interviews where people open up about their relationship with alcohol. There is a new Not Drinking Diary every Tuesday.