Come Together: Finding Your Communities

We all have an innate desire to be witnessed in our recovery process. It may sound corny, but finding safe communities to grow and be witnessed in are of paramount importance. “Find your tribe” is a saying splattered across wellness circles, but the added layer of being sober can make it initially hard to do so. Though it may be tempting to try and go at sobriety alone, or with one other individual like a therapist or coach, the benefits of diving into a sober community are well worth the initial fears and hesitancies. You may have a knee-jerk reaction to the word community, in which case, find a word that works for you, like crew, gang, or one of my favorites: “my people.” 

Why Join a Community?

A community can be defined as a group of people living in the same place or a group sharing similar characteristics, attitudes, or interests in common. Being part of a community–watching how it moves around, changes, and grows in its various iterations is a rewarding experience. To be able to say, “Remember when this group used to…” is a great indicator of longevity–of the group as well as your personal history within it. To feel like you’re part of something larger is another indescribable experience. Sometimes I get that feeling when I gaze at the moon or stars, as cheesy as that sounds, but it’s a feeling that takes me out of whatever existential dilemma or obsession I’m currently hijacked by. In addition to recovery groups, which I’ll go into below, it’s important to balance different kinds of communities around all of your interests if possible, like art, exercise, […]

Recovery In The New Year

“New year, new me,” is a common adage flashed and scattered across social media for ushering in the new year, though oftentimes used ironically or as a joke. The hyperbolic saying alludes to the idea that somehow, because of the turn of the clock, one must magically gather perspective on how they have been throughout the year and get their act together, as if one were broken, as if there were things to fix. This kind of thinking riddles me with low-grade hopeful anxiety. I distinctly recall binge-reading journal entries on a New Year’s Eve trying to remember what it was I did that year and how I was feeling–an attempt to have it make sense and point towards where I thought I needed to charge ahead.

For those of us in recovery, our “soberversary” may hold greater weight than any subsequent navel birthday or new year ever could. This being said, the advent of the new year can be a nice nudge to reflect on the thoughts, behaviors, and actions that have been working and those that haven’t been as beneficial. One of the blessings of sobriety from alcohol and drugs is that you have the sober reference of being able to stop a behavior that no longer serves you. Therefore, you possess the courage to do it again and regain greater clarity on the way you are living. On the other side of fear of letting a harmful behavior or thought-pattern go is freedom, space, and the ability to be more present.

But First: A Sober New Year’s Eve

Prior to meditating on what lies ahead, make sure to have a solid, safe plan […]

By |December 31st, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Sober Autumnal Fun in NYC

Though the Halloween buzz (and your sugar hangover) may be over, the time between now and Thanksgiving can be just as electric and stimulating. Autumn is not only a visually stunning time of year, but also one for sober introspection, cozying up with layers, yummy company, and grounding foods and warm non-alcoholic drinks. However, the upcoming holiday season can be really triggering if you’re not spotchecking your emotions and feelings throughout the day (hours if need be), which may lead you to fantasizing about picking substances up. If the thought of a booze-free autumn gives you chills, rest assured that New York City has got you covered with sober-friendly indoor and outdoor autumnal activities that will enrich your recovery. Read on to get a sense of the adventures available to you in this gorgeous season of color and change, before the magic and mayhem of December hits.

Outdoor Sober Activities

Though it may be nippy and crisp outside, pile on those layers and head outside for visually stunning sights available to in this mad, marvelous city. 

 

Fall in New York City

Group Fall Activities

Despite the touristy and clichéd sound of it, for a group activity, gather friends and go ice skating at Rockefeller Center, Brookfield Place, Bryant Park’s Winter Village, Wollman, Lafrak Center at Lakeside, or City Ice Pavilion (just be sure to avoid Fridays and weekends, unless skating with crowds is your thing). Just note that adjacent to a lot of these rinks can be fully stocked bars (which doesn’t make sense, but what can you do), so check in with yourself (especially if you’re newly sober) as […]

By |November 18th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Feeling Triggered To Pick Up? Here’s What To Consider

Holding space for feelings, especially in recovery, may seem like a tall order on some days and a non-issue on others. This inability to maintain presence with what’s coming up can trigger you to want to use alcohol, drugs, and other substances or engage in other harmful behaviors. I’m here to say there is absolutely nothing wrong with experiencing triggers, no matter how far along you are in your recovery journey. Although cravings can whisk you out of the present moment and into the desperate, hellish realm of grasping and dissatisfaction with what simply is, the state of being triggered is not a sign of weakness or an indication of the quality of your recovery as it can seemingly arise out of nowhere and is, quite frankly, a reminder that you are a human, one who has the courage to be on this radical path of sobriety. The work is learning how to anticipate triggers, befriend them, and know that you don’t have to handle them on your own. It’s important to pay attention to triggers that aren’t directly related to alcohol and drugs, too. If you’re being called to use other substances or harmful behaviors and coping mechanisms, the following information is applicable as well. 

What Is A Trigger?

 A trigger is an internal or external stimulus that can cause you to want to go back to an old behavior, such as abusing alcohol or drugs. That triggers come with no formula can be frustrating, especially if you feel like you’re in a good place in your recovery, but it’s helpful to begin to categorize the two main types of triggers–internal ones that originate […]

You’re At A Sober Living. Now What?

Once you’ve decided that the next step in your recovery journey after addiction treatment or rehab is heading to a sober living, a lot of emotions, questions, curiosities, and concerns may arise–all of which are normal. This decision is a monumental step in helping cement the foundation of your newfound sobriety and one you want to take full advantage of when you decide to go for it. For a general overview of sober livings and how to choose them, see the earlier article on this blog Transitional Living: Aftercare In Recovery, which outlines what to look for in a sober living, such as costs, accommodations, rules and regulations, in-person impressions of the space, as well as strict ethical guidelines. You’ll want a facility with safe, targeted, and holistic residential recovery services that don’t simply focus on one aspect of recovery, but on seeing you as a person with varied needs. 

What should you do after deciding on a facility that feels like a good fit for you? What will readjustment to this new environment entail and how will you go about navigating your time in that space? Read on for some guidance and tips on what self-care within a sober living can look like and how to make the most of your time there. Some of your greatest recovery growth may occur within the confines of a sober living and the simplicities it can offer, which is a beautiful thing.

 

Navigating Structure And Free Time

Rules and Requirements 

An effective sober living is one that has the right amount of structure for you and this can look different for everyone. Many […]

By |September 24th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Recovering The Body While Living Sober 

In the trenches of substance abuse, the body becomes an effective punching bag, whether the user intends to consciously inflict harm on it or not. Depending on the extent of using, the body may feel beyond repair. Sobriety, however, affords you a chance for your body to undergo a variety of changes and your experience of – and relationship to – your body will inevitably change as well. These changes widely vary from person to person based on the specific substances that were used, the severity of use, as well as the unique constitution of our individual bodies. However, not all changes come easily or quickly, and may require a great deal of time, space, patience, and additional help despite the body’s natural intelligence and inclination to heal. 

I didn’t realize how obvious my tendency towards self-flagellation was in early sobriety until my first mentor told me to “put down the bat and pick up a feather,” which baffled me at first, then made me feel a bit ashamed to have someone call me out like that. This is to say that putting down alcohol and drugs was the first step for me to gain sobering clarity around the ways in which I spoke to myself and treated my body. To the reader I say congratulations on taking the first step to eliminate alcohol and drugs out of the picture so your body can begin to restore itself and you can further nurture your relationship to the body.

 

Physical Benefits of Sobriety

There’s an abundance of positive physiological effects on the body from getting sober, such as an improved immune system (fewer colds!), better sleep, clearer […]

Sober Summer Fun in NYC

For some, the siren song of alcohol and drugs may be louder in the summer as drinking and partying moves outdoors, but with a plethora of sober-friendly summer activities in New York City, the temptation of a cold boozy drink or fear of picking other substances up need not keep you from taking part in the amazing things happening in and around the city. Here is a sampling of sober-friendly, fun-yet-relaxing summer ideas, events, and opportunities available to you and your friends and family in this dazzling metropolis.

 

Outdoor Sober-Friendly Activities

The warmth of the sun on your skin, music wafting in from the distance (or nearby on a stage), and a delicious ice-cold booze-free drink in hand–all of these are a few of the gifts of summer and freshly available for your enjoyment in sobriety. On those days when you’re feeling social, outgoing, and may want to not only be around friends, but also feed off the energy of large outdoor crowds, heed the suggestions below for an energizing outdoor experience.

 

Booze-Free Beach Trip

With an abundance of unique beaches to choose from in New York City, most accessible by public transportation, get ready for a day of relaxation and rest with the soundtrack of the ocean (no Spotify playlist needed). Head out early to nab a favorable spot and remember to pack substantial sun protection, nutritious snacks (as well as a few guilty pleasures), and a cooler (so as not to be tempted to the boozy options readily available). 

Coney Island is famous for it’s amusement park Luna Park and buzzy boardwalks with a plethora of concession stands, vintage shops, and stellar […]

Transitional Living: Aftercare In Recovery

In the world of addiction recovery modalities, transitional living is an all-encompassing, umbrella term for stable, alcohol and drug-free living facilities that can range from sober livings to halfway houses. These spaces might make sense for recovering individuals after they leave an addiction treatment facility (like detox or rehab), especially if they are uncertain about independent living. Forty to sixty percent of people treated for substance use disorders relapse, according to The National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) [1]. This statistic alone, though not surprising, is high. One should take care after leaving treatment to ensure that they have a supportive environment in place, reducing as many internal and external triggers as possible.

Transitional living can be a beautiful bridge to long-term sobriety, lessening the chances of interacting with triggering people, places, and things, as well as softening the edges of what may be a precarious adjustment otherwise. Recovering individuals receive structure, support (from both professionals and peers), and accountability, as well as the freedom to leave the grounds with safe parameters in place. This article will explore different kinds of transitional living, as well as what to look for when considering your options.

 

What’s In A Name: Halfway Houses and Sober Livings

Halfway Houses

While some may use the terms halfway house and sober livings interchangeably, there are marked differences between the two. Halfway houses initially started up in 18th century England to house children who engaged in criminal activity, and similar houses opened in the United States soon after to provide a space for those recently released from prison [2].

Most halfway houses are state-funded and require that residents […]

The First Year – A Sober Woman at 22

That I got sober at 22, and that it stuck, is still a little surprising to me five years later. Most of my partying occurred on a liberal arts college campus tucked away in Connecticut, and when I tried to continue that radically permissive lifestyle six months after (barely) graduating, it failed beautifully. Sobriety didn’t happen in one fell swoop, but over those six months of slipping: cue demoralization, despondence, and despair. This is not meant to be a cautionary tale, but rather, an exploration of that first year: its confusing messiness and simultaneous clarity. I was mostly curious about what life would look like when I wasn’t hijacked by the pursuit of substances at each moment of every day. I see what I learned and what I’d do differently. My sober time (>5 years) now surpasses the number of years that I used (~4.5 years), and the longer I keep at it, the more I realize certain recovery slogans resonate, while others feel irrelevant and require a kind of precise unlearning. “Take what you like, and leave the rest,” is one of my favorites. Sober living isn’t easy, but it’s easier than the runaway train of using and its inevitable wreckage.

 

From Unmanageability To Sobriety

I woke up in Bellevue in July 2013 after yet another blackout episode, thinking I’d discreetly slip out of the hospital gown and vow to never, ever, end up in this scenario again. It was my fourth drinking-related ER visit in four years, and it felt like Groundhog Day. I’d rationalize each trip by saying I should’ve eaten more beforehand or hung out with the friends who would’ve put me […]

Spring Fever: Sober in New York City

Being sober in New York City boasts its own unique set of challenges. Perusing recovery in a bustling & cosmopolitan city brings both opportunities and obstacles alike. While it may seem like everyone spends their days working and nights drinking and partying, there is a growing community of people in the Big Apple who are turning towards an alcohol-free life.

Whether someone self-identifies as in recovery, in a program of harm reduction, clean, sober, or sober-curious, NYC has a whole slew of options and communities that offer fun, relaxation, spiritual growth, and physical fitness, and don’t involve alcohol or substances. Here is a list of communities and non-drinking activities that can aid you in your path of recovery.

SOBER COMMUNITIES

They say the opposite of addiction is connection.  Whether it’s connecting with yourself, another person, a group of people, or a whole community, New York City has no shortage of people, places, things, and ideas to connect with. For those who are looking to alternatives to the traditional 12-step route, NYC’s recovery fellowship options are nearly limitless.

Sober communities offer their members a chance to network and gain insight into their own addictions through the bond of shared experiences. These 12-step alternatives and alternative recovery communities make the path to sobriety more accessible to those who find that the 12-step approach doesn’t fit into their own recovery plan.

BIGVISION

BIGVISION is a nonprofit that organizes free sober events/activities for young adults (18-35) in recovery from substances, ranging from adrenaline-fueled activities like Outdoor Trapeze and Indoor Go-Karting, to creative workshops like knitting […]