THE HIP SOBRIETY MANIFESTO.
1. You don't need to hit rock bottom. 9 out of 10 folks who struggle with alcohol (in the US) are not clinically addicted. We have an idea that we need to be falling down and lose everything to address our relationship with alcohol. Not true. If you're worried about your drinking, if it's causing shame or fear or keeping you from the life you feel you should be living, that's more than enough to begin. And the sooner you start, the easier it is.
2. Am I an alcoholic? is the wrong question. You don't need an online questionnaire to determine whether or not you have a drinking problem. The only questions you need to ask are (1) whether drinking alcohol is getting in the way of your dreams in this one life you have been given, and (2) how much longer you're willing to settle for that.
3. Everything you want starts here. The decision to stop drinking and the work that went in to make that happen laid the foundation for me to build the life I’d always had buried inside me; the one that always felt just out of reach. Nothing I’ve achieved in the last six+ years else would have been possible without it. Everything that I wanted was on the other side of drinking—yoga teacher trainings, quitting my job and starting my company, writing, finally acting (and feeling) like a fucking grown up, getting out of debt, genuine happiness, energy!, better skin, better sex, an actual meditation practice, travel, healthy supportive drama-free friendships, self-confidence—all of it made possible by one decision to quit drinking. This holds true for you. Everything you want—everything you dream of—starts here.
4. Sober is the new black. More and more of us are waking up to the reality that drinking is not sexy or sophisticated or adult. It is the exact opposite of those things. Drinking makes us look like shit, kills our self-confidence, sucks our time/money/energy, ruins our health, works against every single goal we have for ourselves, and keeps us stuck and stunted. By just trying on sobriety or questioning our drink-centric culture, you are profoundly ahead of the pack and among good company. Remember: 70-80% of adults drink depending on where you live; drinking is basic. Sobriety, and the refusal to partake in alcogenic culture, is subversive, rebellious, and edgy.
5. It's not a sad consequence. It's a proud choice. There is a common held belief in our society that sobriety is the consequence of our actions or inability to control our liquor. I don't see it that way. Discovering that you can’t tolerate a neurotoxic, carcinogenic poison isn’t a consequence—it’s a privilege; it’s your body intelligence talking to you loud enough to hear.
Regardless of how we come to it, sobriety is our decision, and one that most people don't consider an option for themselves - regardless of where they fall on the spectrum of addiction. Those that choose the path to stop drinking willfully choose to stop drinking—because there is always the alternative to spiral further. Sobriety isn't something that you have to do. Sobriety is something that you get to do. You decide you want more for yourself, you decide that your more won't be found in a wine glass, and you get the fuck after it. And proudly so.
6. You need a holistic approach. It's not about just cutting out the addiction or "just stopping.” It's also about what led you to the addiction in the first place and what keeps you going back to it. Complicated love lives, poor nutrition, stress, anxiety, crap friendships, consumerism, lack of purpose, unresolved family of origin issues, disenfranchisement, poverty, tight or unmanageable finances, lack of connection, fear, shitty jobs we hate, depression, unprocessed trauma, lack of meaning, unfulfilled dreams, never ending to-do lists, never-meausuring-upness—all of these things and so much more drives us to run for escape in the first place. To truly break from addiction—without transferring it to something else or just white-knuckling through it—you need to address the drivers that led you to it in the first place, and the addiction and related complications. Furthermore, you need to develop an entire arsenal of healthy coping mechanisms to use in place of the shitty ones you are using now. There is no one silver bullet here. To truly be free, you must holistically address the underlying cause and the addiction.
7. Your only label is your name. There are hundreds of reasons to reject the labels "alcoholic" and "addict.” First, most of us aren't clinically addicted in the first place and don't meet the qualifying criteria. Second, regardless if we do "qualify,” labels do NOTHING positive for us. They stigmatize us, keep us stuck in an old story, and perpetuate an idea that we are flawed or different. Yes, you need to admit that it's a problem and you can't do it anymore. That almost goes without saying. But you don't need to identify as anything to stop drinking. This is about moving beyond where you are. Not staying put.
8. It's not incurable. The idea of "incurable" comes from a notion that cured means we can drink "normally.” Bullshit. Cured is never having to drink again. Cured is not wanting or needing alcohol to enjoy life. Which is totally fucking achievable because humans are built to evolve. We can change. We can rewrite our past and our story. We can rewire our brain with meditation and chanting and yoga and food and CBT and Kundalini and a whole host of other modalities and practices from what we now know of neuroplasticity. Epigenetics tells us we can even change our gene expression. We are by nature an evolving species, and our cure is in this evolution beyond the need or desire to drink.
9. Failure is a good thing. There is a lot of fear around the idea of "what if I try and I fail?" We think it means we are worse off than we thought, subject to a life alternating between sobriety and addiction. The truth is that most of us stumble along the way to sustained sobriety. It’s far more normal to fail in attempting sobriety than it is to succeed right out of the gate.
Failure is temporary, and it's what the road to success is paved on. Think of how many times the people we glorify as huge successes failed along the way—Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Arianna Huffington, Oprah!. Anything worth doing is inherently a challenge. It's at these points—these stumbles—that we learn our deepest lessons, that we learn what is working and what isn't, that we learn about ourselves. The only thing to be scared of is not trying something in the first place. To evolve, we must dare to fail. And when we fail, we must remember we are that much farther ahead than when we started.
10. Your hangovers go away. Your social life doesn't. Just because you stop drinking does not mean your life ends. On the contrary, your life is just beginning. You can still do the things you loved to do before, the only difference is that you have natural real self confidence to aid you, real happiness to support it, and you remember everything. Just think of this: more energy, more money, more time, better looks, more self-confidence, and a life that doesn't revolve around a bar scene - but rather things of real substance - makes for a fucking badass, powerful, vivacious you. And a very big life.
11. It's not scary. Okay, kidding—it’s scary. But: not forever. At first it’s terrifying as fucking fuck; it feels like a death and the end of all things and the worst case scenario. COMING HERE, reading this page and looking at it for the first time—this is the worst part. Once you step into it, once you put your toe in the lake and start pulling back the layers, it gets better, and easier. I promise you as scared shitless and shaky as you feel right now is as bad as the fear gets. I promise you that it is only the death of the things that are no longer serving you. And that it is the beginning of so much more. It is the beginning of you.
12. You're not weak or powerless. You are STRONG and POWERFUL and YOU CAN DO THIS. Just by coming to this site, just by reading this page, you are far beyond where most people find themselves. So few of us stop to examine our lives, and even fewer take action. Honey: You Can Get It. So get it.