As I was moving through my own recovery, working with multiple therapists and coaches, I kept encountering a practice that I completely resisted: going back to where the memory started, to "undo" it or "recreate" it. It felt formulaic, and not unlike the part in Law & Order when they bring in the Asian psychologist and he gets the child to play with a Barbie and all of the sudden the child remembers her brother killed her auntie.
It would go down something like this. I'd tell coach/therapist/doctor of a block or a terror I had, they'd ask me to close my eyes and go back to the first time I felt this way, and my answer of "always" didn't satisfy them. So I'd fish in my mind and normally end up pulling a memory that would make them happy and stop asking me to go back in time. Sometimes I would lie just to get them to stop. Read More
A little less than a year ago, I got what I would describe as the WORST email someone in recovery from substance abuse could get.
"Dear Holly, You are fucked up. You will always be fucked up. And you can't yoga your way out of how fucked up you are. You may have fooled all your other friends and the people you work with and surround yourself with, but I know the truth." Read More
A few days before Christmas last year, I sat in my therapists office, sipping in the lavender flavored air and her warm sage advice. I was in a good place. My job wasn't killing me too much, I hadn't had a hangover in what seemed an eternity, I was in yoga teacher training and continually becoming a more dedicated and regular practitioner, I knew what self love meant (really!), and my apartment was clean (this is a really big benchmark for adulthood for me). I actually remember sitting there across from her feeling…together.
We were talking about my upcoming trip home for the holidays to my mother's house. I told her that while in the past these holiday gatherings had tended to undo me in the worst possible way, and that I was actually looking forward to this time home and this big holiday affair. I was severely optimistic because this time, I was a grown up. A spiritually progressed grown-up by Oprah standards.
This year would be different because I was different.
So three days later as I sat in my childhood home living room in a ball on the floor sobbing uncontrollable hate tears, a string of "fuck-you assholes" hanging thick in the air somewhere between my mother and sister and I as they continued on unaffected in their game of cribbage, their normal "there she goes" giggling eye roll routine only stoking the hate fire further - I couldn't help but wonder.
What. The. Fuck. Happened. Read More
I wanted to talk about this down the line. When it was neat and tidy. A story of where I used to be and how I made it through as opposed to a story of where I am and how I struggle. But the point here is to be real. The point is to encourage you to be able to talk about your dark parts so you can bring them to the light. The point is to encourage everyone to talk about our collective dark parts. So we stop putting on a fucking show. So we stop feeling alone and different and less and afraid. To tear down the picture-perfect-social media façade so we have an equal playing field and stop competing with each other with things none of us actually has anyway.
We have a tendency to talk about things once they are pretty or at least prettier. But for us to all heal, for us to address the things that are true to us, the things that make us human and unique and special, we need to be able to talk about them as they are. Not as we wished they were.
So here is a whole lot of shit about the thing that feels the least pretty in my life: my relationships with men. Read More
We often don't realize how many fears we have, or how much we allow these fears to run our lives. Because they are uncomfortable. Because they are FEARS. Because it's just so much more comfortable not going there. Because what can we do with them anyway?
What I discovered that day and what remains to be true is this: What we don't own, owns us. And if we want to live a fearless, empowered, free, happy life, we must start owning our shit. Because you don't slay dragons by pretending they aren't in the cave.
Here is a list of fears from my first fear cleanse in January 2013. I share it today for a few reasons. First, to assure you that you're not more fucked up than I was. Second, to illustrate how severely possible great change is when we are ready to do the work. Read More
I swam into the holiday a little flat on gratitude. I'm not sure what it is but sometimes the amount of Barbie bodied yogis on Instagram pretzeling themselves into positions 99.9% of us will never achieve from beaches we'll never travel to with the words "Practice Gratitude" pisses me off. Which - if you read anything I post - I REALIZE says more about me than anything else, and isn't, umm, very yogi like. That lesson isn't lost on me. But let's be real, I don't always practice what I preach. I aim to, but I am FAR from perfect, and I embrace my judgy inner-bitch when she comes out (she's just there to teach me something…).
Anyway, as I went into the week planning my posts and thinking just exactly what words of wisdom I would share about gratitude in this very special week dedicated to thankfulness, I found myself exhausted, annoyed, PMS-ing, hating on and judging the grateful beach yogis. So I skipped the forced bullshit post and reasoned with myself that the capacity for gratuity comes and goes, and it would return, and I wouldn't be marred for not posting something about gratitude... Read More
I had my last last drink on April 13, 2013.
There is no way to describe what has happened in those months since. As far as I'm concerned, my life can be cut up into two boxes. The life before I learned what it meant to not drink, and the life after. The former a slow progression through a tolerable life with a severe longing for something more and a clear sense of never having or being enough. The latter not just the escape from that…the latter truly the having of things that I had always assumed were just not for me.
What unfolded was something beyond my wildest dreams. What unfolded was what happens when you decide for you and only you, and when you clear the space to make YOU happen.
Whatever benefits alcohol seems to provide I assure you they are trite in comparison to the possibilities of the life that stands beyond. Saying goodbye to the junk was saying goodbye to the life I had accepted as good enough and hello to a life that continues to unfold in magical, reality defying ways.
If you are looking for a little inspiration of what is on the other side...read these 19 things I have done in 19 months.
When I turned to the Healthcare system as a patient - the same system I had dedicated my life to fixing - and discovered first hand how ill equipped (not equipped?) it was to guide me out of a condition that was CLEARLY impacting my health - alcohol addiction and drug addiction - I set out to not only fix myself, but to fix the problem in general.
Only holy shit...it's not a problem. It's an epidemic. Addiction is A $225 BILLION dollar a year epidemic, and alcohol abuse alone is the 4th leading cause of preventable death (1 in 10 of us will die from our drinking habits).
So I did what a lot of people do when they don't like what the market offers - I went out and created my dream model. While Hip Sobriety in no way desires to go after the whole pie, what it does aim to fix and bring awareness to the parts of the problem that significantly impacted my own personal experience. The parts that would have made my life so much easier if they existed not only when I was in the throws of addiction, but much earlier on, when alcohol and drugs first started to deter me from what I wanted to achieve in this life. My dream is to create something for Holly of 2012, so that the Holly's of 2014 and beyond never have to face what I did again.
With that...here are 7 Essential Aims of Hip Sobriety**.
**Hip Sobriety is a severe Type A whose obsessed with Listicles. Read More
If sobriety is whispering sweet nothings in your ear and you're finding yourself in a fear state, you're not alone. You're in fact in majorly good company, because to some degree, most people that drink have some fear around their relationship with it.
Here are 11 common fears people have that keep them from exploring the sober side of things, dispelled. Read More
It's funny the things that we are afraid to admit.
I have no problem telling people about my sex life (or lack thereof), my poop habits, my deepest insecurities. Let's talk about how much coffee and pastry I consume, how much I struggle with not ending every sentence with the word fuck, or how terrified I am every day I sit down to work on Hip Sobriety. I have this eye fungus from my mascara that won't go away. Sometimes I'm too lazy to brush my teeth. I still text ex-boyfriends and tell them I miss snuggling with them. I look at my ass in mirrors way too much. I don't have health insurance.
I shamelessly and unapologetically admit all. Weellll, mostly all. Okay fine. All except for how I really feel about addiction, sobriety, recovery, relapse, AA, stigmatization, 12 steps, that I fiercely reject the label addict...
So you know, all. All except the risky things. All except the reasons I started Hip Sobriety in the first place.
In the past five weeks: I killed my cat, overdrew my checking by some $15,000, STUPIDLY saw that guy that treats my like crap yet again (surprise, he treated me like crap, yet again), gained ten pounds (it's muscle?), commenced my fifth month of couch surfing, a boy in my yoga teacher training yelled at me in Starbucks that he doesn't like me because I'm a drama queen who never stops crying, the girl leasing my apartment broke the antique table that took me two years to find, all my plants died, and my mom dropped my brand new computer - the one I failed to buy insurance for - on a tile floor. Read More
Spoiler Alert: Sobriety is Fabulous.
It's the biggest secret to my success quitting. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The skinny jeans at the end of the diet.
If you are thinking about leaving the drink behind, and are worried that you're also leaving behind a best friend, a social life and gaining a new stigma, here are 12 ways to help you reframe it into your fabulous adventure. Read More
I don't think I've ever had a relationship that ended with a handshake. I'm not the type. I've heard of people who just fall out of love and walk away. Like Tipper and Al Gore. That's not me. At least, to date it hasn't been. My break-ups are decidedly of the Whitney Houston/Bobby Brown genre. Maybe not that bad. Read More
On Saturday I walk out of my room here in Rome at 4pm, on my way out the door to start my day after waking up at noon. Loud audible sigh of disappointment, dramatic entrance to the kitchen, I look at my flatmate with big guilty eyes. "I'm LAZY." He laughs. "Yes, I know." Internal scream, I roll it back. "NO I'M NOT. I'm resting. I worked 80 hour weeks on 5 hours of sleep. For years. I DESERVE THIS. God and Rome want me to sleep. You don't understand." He laughs as he walks out the door. I hear him laughing down the 10 flights of stairs to the street on his way to being productive.
Me, lazy? I was kidding. He was not. Read More