For the past almost year I have drafted and trashed about one thousand posts on Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and the 12-steps, each time telling myself that the point of this site is to provide more options and not to criticize the ones that exist, and further to steer clear of that nasty AA debate trap - leave it to sites like The Fix to tackle and keep this site to the meat of Hip Sobriety's mission which is to offer readers a place to explore paths to sobriety in a positive, optimistic, hopeful, beautiful, modern space minus the rhetoric and minus the infighting. To empower and build and to leave each to their own devices and own conclusions (with a lot of my loud opinion thrown in, of course.)
But time and again it comes up, and time and again, I find myself searching for the right thing to do and the right words to say. Because while my experience in AA was a shit-show and my resulting opinion of its efficacy - both from those first-hand accounts and the amount of time spent researching it over the past few years - is less than dismal, I strongly believe that arguing whether or not AA works distracts us from the real problem at hand. Read More
When I started HIp Sobriety last summer, the intention was to create a website not just dedicated to blogging about addiction recovery, but a space that would become a haven to anyone looking for an alternative, positive, empowering roadmap out of addiction. My vision was resources and tools, online classes, e-books, coaching, bootcamps, video blogs, and of course, a written blog. The blog for me was originally a place to air my dirt or my angst or my truth. I didn't quite care about how well it hit or how well written the pieces were, I simply cared that I was getting something out of me and on to paper and out to the world.
Somewhere along the way, the innocence was lost. Because somewhere along the way, I started to receive feedback, and started to consume that feedback. 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
This piece should be called irony. Because the thing I am most nervous to make a statement about is the exact opposite of the one I was afraid to as I began this journey.
Years ago I was terrified of the stir I would create and rejection I would face if I ever had to admit that I couldn't control my drinking. Admitting I was an alcoholic seemed to be the most terrifying thing I'd have to do. And now on this side of things, a non-drinker who not only refuses the alcoholic label and identity or that it is an "incurable disease" and thinks the word should be put to death, I find myself quietly skirting the issue entirely, terrified.
The funny thing about terror though, is that it normally shows you where you must go.
And oh, here I go. 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
While this post is intended for the newly sober at Thanksgiving, it's actually a great post for ANYONE looking for a more peaceful, healthy, and flowing Thanksgiving holiday - sober or not - and is also a great post to keep in your toolbox for any high-stress social situation. 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.
A year or so ago I was out to cock- and mock-tails with a friend when out of no where the placebo effect of my virgin whatever washed over me. Possessed not-drunk drunk, I looked him square in the face.
Me. "Want to know something I've never told anyone?" Read More
An alcohol cleanse is a low pressure way to not only examine how substances may be negatively impacting your life, but also a great way to explore the benefits of sobriety without the long-term commitment. While I recommend doing it for 30 to 40 days to reap real benefits, CBS's #14Days On The Wagon challenge - a call for America to experience life without alcohol for 14 days (October 6 - 19) while learning about addiction and recovery from the experts - is a perfect opportunity to try an alcohol cleanse in the company of a societal movement.
If you are interested in taking up the challenge, are thinking about planning your own alcohol cleanse, or are already in sobriety and just looking for ways to fortify non-drinking you, here are 10 tips to help you make the most of the experience. Read More
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.
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
What we won’t investigate, what we will all fail to do, is question what we did as a society. We will – undoubtedly – completely fail to acknowledge that we still treat addiction as a private matter, a choice of the abuser (see Matthew Perry’s recent interview with Peter Hitchens (“people don’t want to stop”, said Hitchens)), a shame, and an anonymous affair. We will not question that our best “treatment” option is offered in basements and was developed before the break-out of World War II. We will scream “how could he have not been helped!” and cry a thousand tears for this tragedy, and yet we will not examine or question our own personal relationship to substances, or the addictive habits of those who are closest to us.
We will say “he needlessly suffered alone”, and we will totally fail to draw the correlation that addiction and recovery are inherently meant to be suffered and worked alone. From my perspective, Philip Seymour Hoffman had a disease that is encouraged to be treated alone and anonymously. So Philip Seymour Hoffman died alone and had it not been for his star, it most certainly would have been anonymously. Read More