51 days ago today, I gulped down my last $6 quad latte. (Yes. I said quad.)
It wasn't an easy decision to come to. Coffee has been my best friend, my lover, my everything since I can remember - since high school times. And it's become even more important to me since I stopped drinking alcohol. It's been my special drink, my little privilege. One of my last fucking vices like sexting and saying really bad words a lot.
But somewhere along the way, because it was so important, because it was one of my last vices, it became a terribly unhealthy relationship.
Here is how, and why, I quit. Read More
The first time it happened was in Italy, 3 short months after I had stopped drinking altogether. A hot little Italian waiter (who I'd later make out with - fuck yes, Italy) and I were flirting as I ate my way through two entire pizzas. Near the end of the meal he told me he had a special treat for me, and returned with a glass of dessert wine.
It sat there. I stared at it. He stood there. He stared at me. He smiled, and did that thing with his hands that is the international symbol for "please go ahead and drink it." I blinked. Time stood still. The first thought was crap, I don't know how to say "alcoholic" in Italian. The second thought was, I wonder if I can ask him for a cappuccino instead. The third thought was not a thought at all, but that aching I get in my tummy when I am afraid I'm going to hurt someone's feelings.
Me: "Non grazie."
Me: "No bevo alcol."
Me: "No bevo alcol!"
Him: Sad face.
I smiled politely, thanked him again, and told him I'd take a cappuccino. He persisted. "Not even a little?" No. Not even a little. Read More
One of the biggest parts of my healing, one of the biggest blessings I have found on this path, is the art of understanding that all that came before today was simply there to bring me to today - exactly. Is the art of understanding that these perceived blocks on my path and these perceived faults in my journey, were really JUST THE PATH, were really JUST THE JOURNEY. It cannot be broken down into good or bad, dissected into failures and losses and the good stuff. It just is. And coming to terms with the fact that it just is, has freed me of my past, freed me of my pain, freed me to be here now reap the reward and the lessons of those perceived failings.
Here are five big things I could regret and feel a ton of shame around, that I have instead accepted as just part of the beautiful package that is our unfolding. Read More
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
One of my favorites for calming me down and restoring balance when I feel out of control emotionally and raw. The Sunian Antar is the Kundalini Meditation I turn to when I'm on the verge of saying hate words. When I'm tired and want to cry and just need a hug. When I feel like curling up in a ball.
It brings balance through stimulating the glandular system and normalizing the breath and balancing the mid-brain (survival brain). It’s EXCELLENT at calming you down and bringing a feeling of safety and root. The best part? I can be done in less than 3 minutes. 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
If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that this past Monday I started - for the second time - May Cause Miracles by Gabby Bernstein - a 40 Day fear cleanse based on the principles of A Course In Miracles. This post is meant to help you understand how it helped my overall recovery process, and give you an overview on how it works so you can decide for yourself if you'd like to try it. 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
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
What if I told you that every single relationship that exists in your sphere - from your cheating ex-boyfriend, to the girl that bullied you in the 3rd grade, to your deadbeat disappeared father, to the boss that backstabbed you and stole your idea, to the flight attendant at the Houston airport that kicked you off the airplane and called you racist because you took a picture of her when she was refusing to upgrade you back to first class after you had been laid-over in Honduras for 48 hours, to the co-worker that seems endlessly and confusingly competitive, to the sibling that seems to know exactly how to make you a raving psychotic anger monger - were there by design?Part of the universal plan to give you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it? There to show you the parts of you that you have forgotten to see, or have refused to see? There to build you into the most beautiful, kind, forgiving, loving version of yourself, one encounter at a time? Read More
Quitting drinking for me was not so much about quitting drinking. It was about doing something I never thought possible. It was about doing away with a set of negotiations and compromises and limiting beliefs that stood in the way of so many fucking doors. A doing away that would lead to more and more doing aways. A success that would lead to more and more success. A realized bullshit fear that would lead me to realize all the other bullshit fears that stood in the way of going after it ALL.
I read this essay by Debbie Millman when I was new to sobriety and standing on the edge of THAT life, the one that I had always longed to have, the one that I felt was for someone else or maybe, just maybe, was really meant to be mine. And it is a piece I continue to come back to again and again when I forget what I am capable of.
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
The foundation to my success in sobriety and living a purpose-full, happy, healthy life is this: Meditation. Not kale.
The one thing I recommend to anyone thinking about sobriety, personal growth, and/or change, is to start to cultivate a daily meditation practice. I can't say it enough - It is foundational to what you are building and the life you want to manifest for yourself. It is especially foundational to sobriety.
If you are looking to start somewhere and are confused about what meditation is or where to start with your own practice, this blog will help you get going. 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