I have been sober for 15 1/2 months now, and I must say, as the time goes by I love sobriety more and more. I’m not someone who had an obvious “problem”. A little weekend drinking. A joint with friends here and there. But the more conscious I became, the more obvious were the negative consequences.
Sobriety is so much more wonderful than I could have known. And I’m increasingly grateful for my sobriety. Here are my top 10 Reasons WHY…
1. In Sobriety I Can Always Count On Myself
When I used to have a couple (or more) drinks, I didn’t quite know how I would behave. I would become vulnerable to my own more destructive urges. I would be reactionary without thinking. Sometimes I would say or do things that I regretted the next day. My physical balance, my judgement, and my sense of self was weakened. In short, I couldn’t count on myself to be there for me. And it hurt sometimes. It hurt to abandon myself. In sobriety, I’m always there for me. I feel so much more safe and secure.
2. Sobriety Has Made My Intuition More Powerful
The clarity that comes with sobriety resounds on many planes. It’s kinda weird… it’s like I know things. I don’t know how I know them, but I know them. I’m a clear channel. This means that when I set an intention or goal, very quickly it is met with the circumstances for its fulfillment, with seemingly no effort on my part.
Also, I have a sense of what’s going on with others, or the best course of action in a given situation, without obvious reason. There’s this intuitive knowing. I find I rarely have scheduling issues. When there are a series of appointments I need to make, they line up really organically with my schedule without conflict. It’s kind of freaky/amazing.
3. In Sobriety My Immune System is Really Strong
What flu? I don’t get sick, a cold, even a sniffle now. My immune system is so fricking strong I have actually not gotten sick once since I got sober. I don’t get flu shots. I don’t take any kinds of medication. I basically just feel really healthy and capable of fending off germs. Sure, this might change. But it seems significant that I teach hundreds of yoga students each week, I must encounter all the germs in this city. But they don’t seem to get through.
4. Being Sober Means I Don’t Feel Disgusting
I am disgusted by brunch in restaurants. Why? Because of my memories of hostessing brunch and the disgusting smelling bathrooms from peoples’ hangover diarrhea. I know I know. I can’t believe I’m writing this either. It’s just so gross. Almost as gross as doing that to your body. To this day I avoid brunch at all costs. I’ll have my avocado toast at home, thank you. Drinking and drugs can really make you feel like a disgusting puddle of toxic shit waste.
5. Being Sober Saves Me Tons of Money
I remember one night at the Rose Bar at Gramercy Park Hotel I went up to buy a round of Prosecco for my friends. At $20 a pop I was about to drop $60. Then I impulsively got the lady next to me waiting at the bar one too. Bam! $100 with a tip. Probably spent $50 on a late night meal and $30 on a cab home, in addition to other drinks and things. Then probably the next day I wasn’t going to sub an extra yoga class and make more money cause I was hungover. Maybe I even bought myself some pointless “present” cause I felt bad. Drinking & using is spency yo.
6. Sobriety Helps Me Evolve Much Faster
My entire life is devoted to self realization. To waking up. To filling out my highest human potential. To living out loud. To experiencing true love. To being free. Regularly ingesting mind/body-altering substances slows this process and dims the lights on my potential. I have evolved so much in the past 15 months. I feel so much more honest, brave and alive than I ever have before. Thanks sobriety!
7. Sobriety Has Made Me a Kinder Person
Last September at the Yoga Tune Up(R) Leadership Summit I did an hour-long presentation entitled “Positive Community Building”. It was an impassioned presentation of my top 6 tenets to build a positive community as a movement educator. At the end of the presentation, one of my peers, a fierce little Japanese Woman named Kyoko came up to me. She held my hands and said “Ariel, I love you.” She paused just looking in my eyes, then, “I have always respected you. But I used to be afraid of you. But something changed in the last year, and I’m not anymore. I love you.”
I hope it’s okay with Kyoko that I recount this moment. I don’t think she knew that I had been sober almost exactly a year at that time. And I think this was the most profound moment of validation in my sobriety so far… Because I knew what she meant.
Before becoming sober there was a meanness in me. It didn’t come out all the time. But it lurked behind the scenes and could edge into my tone or behavior when I felt threatened. In sobriety I have felt this meanness melt away. My heart has grown stronger. Kindness has filled me. It feels wonderful.
8. Sobriety Has Made Me Happier
BY FAR. Yes, alcohol is a depressant. Even in small doses. Pot numbs you out. intoxicants compromise your ability to produce and sustain your own joy. I feel a tremendous difference in my joy and wellbeing since becoming sober – and it’s cumulative. The longer I’ve been sober the more my happiness has settled and stabilized.
9. Sobriety Has Given Me Control of My Life
Before becoming sober I was at the mercy of many things, and often felt tugged around by the influence of other people and systems. I carried unexplained shame and guilt. I often felt out of control. Since becoming sober it’s not that I think I’m the boss of everything, but I have this peaceful authority. And where I know I don’t have control, there’s a respectful surrender within me. It’s okay. I’ve still got my own back.
10. In Sobriety I Am Less Likely to Hurt Others
I was in a very scary car accident six years ago when I was hit by a drunk driver on the 10 Freeway in LA. I was lucky. My car was totaled, but I walked away. The driver of the other car had been out at a bar with friends and on the police report he said he had “Three Blue Moon” which likely meant “nine Blue Moon”. His car cracked the side of my bumper as he passed me on the right to exit, he was driving so fast that it caused my car to spin headfirst into the center median, again spin and hit the back end, before it came to a stop with other cars squealing and zooming around me.
I was beat up, but I survived. After that I could never look at drinking the same. The seemingly small decisions we make, that we think only affect us, can have tremendous disastrous effects. I have endangered others in the past because I was drunk or high. And I know many families who are slowly being ravaged by drug and alcohol use. The parent is there, but not really there.
This is no small thing. The dangerous consequences of drug and alcohol use are real. And they aren’t worth it. Especially when there is SO MUCH TO LIVE FOR.
Title Photo: Sitting on Long Beach while the sun set in September 2017 with Rhonda Braun (who took the photo) after I did the “Positive Community Building” workshop at the Yoga Tune Up(R) Summit. Here we sat for a few hours before catching the plane from the Long Beach Airport home…
[I write this post in loving memory of the beautiful, vibrant, glowing soul Bridget Ingham. Thank you for inspiring me with your incredible strength and vitality Bridget. All my love.]