recovery

Sans Bar DC - A Monumental Event! 5.4.19

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5.4.19 | 7-10pm | the viva center DC

The Sobriety Collective and The Viva Center DC proudly present Sans Bar DC, a monumental event in our nation's capital! As a stop on The Sans Bar National Pop-up Tour, Washington DC could not be more stoked to have a night of authentic connection with delicious spirit-free beverages. Music includes tunes spun by Raveclean's DJ FM - more details to come so follow us on Instagram @sansbardc for all the latest news and special offers.

Get your tickets today!

6 Myths About Getting Sober You Might Actually Still Believe

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by Erin Gilday

Whether you are newly sober or just sober-curious, you’re inevitably going to have ideas about what you think sobriety looks like.

These ideas about sobriety and what sobriety looks like will come at you from all angles, whether you want them to or not.

Some of these ideas will come from friends, family, acquaintances, TV shows, addiction literature, self-help groups, or the dank basement that is your subconscious. Some are even going to reach you via the wisdom of crappy internet memes or late-night Facebook posts.

Not all of these ideas are helpful. Many of them aren’t even true.

You already know that your mindset is one of your biggest assets in getting sober. And if you’re mindset is being influenced by, well...bullshit...then it’s going to be tough to stay clean.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the most unhelpful and untrue myths out there about getting sober.

Sobriety Myth #1 - You Won’t Have Any Friends

This is a biggie.

By the time your life is semi- (or fully) consumed by addiction, pretty much every aspect of your life is tied up in thinking about, acquiring, and/or using your substance of choice. This very often includes what’s left of your social life.

It’s easy to let the friendship question make you second guess your decision to get sober.

The questions start: Who will you hang out with when you get sober? What will you even do together? How do you make friends sober?

Here’s the truth: you will probably have to get new friends when you get sober but they’re going to be better friends.

The friends you used to drink or use with are probably not going to know how to support your new lifestyle. Most of them aren’t going to get it. They’re going to feel attacked and threatened by your sobriety. They’re not going to want to suddenly quit using and join you in sober friendship mode. And being around people who are still using is probably not going to work for you - especially at first.

That’s the bad news.

Here’s the good news: You will make new friends when you’re sober, and they’re going to actually be better friends because of it.

These friends aren’t keeping one eye on the bartender or one eye on their cell phone, waiting for that text. These friends aren’t going to disappoint you when they lie to you or steal from you or use you. These friends are going to want to hang out with you first and foremost, and not just as an afterthought.

You’re going to make new friends because now that you’re sober, you’re going to have a ton of free time to do other things: join an exercise group, take a meditation class, attend meetings (of whatever kind), volunteer, go back to school, pick up ecstatic dance or learn taekwondo.

You’re going to meet people at these things and the vast majority of them aren’t going to be addicts. A couple of them might even be your friend.    

Sobriety Myth #2 - You’ll Never Have Real Fun Again

You’re right.

You’re never going to have “fun” blacking out and waking up in your own body fluids ever again.

Addiction might not look like “fun,” especially as it progresses, but for a lot of addicts, the intention to have some “fun” (and enjoy the stress relief that goes along with it) plays a large part in using.

That intention just doesn’t usually work out for addicts.

Unfortunately, many “normal” people who use drugs and alcohol casually are able to have fun using, so it makes sense that our ideas about fun are tied up in drugs and alcohol. The mainstream version of “fun” - going out, taking a vacation, going to a party, watching the game, getting together with the girls - almost always involves substances of abuse.


You go out, you drink. It’s expected.

Here’s the truth: you will have to re-learn how to have fun without your substance of choice. Mainstream society isn’t going to really support you on this.  

It will take a little while to remember how to have fun sober. If anyone is telling you otherwise, they’re not being totally honest. It’ll take a minute, but you will remember how.

Whether it’s painting or singing or playing with legos, we’ve all had fun in our lives without substances, even if it was a long, long time ago.

You’ll get that back. The fun you have will be reliable, safe, within your control, and pure. And you’ll remember it in the morning.  


Sobriety Myth #3 - Sobriety Will Destroy Your Love Life

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(A note for couples: If your significant other is active in their addiction and they’re not willing to get sober with you, see Sobriety Myth #1. Just like the platonic friends who you use with, you’re probably going to have to get rid of addicted significant others, and that is going to put a wrecking ball through your love life for a bit. I’m sorry. It’s worth it.)

For you single people out there, I know what you’re thinking.

How will I ever date sober?

Here’s the truth: There’s a lot of catches out there who prefer sober dates.

Congratulations! You have just dramatically improved your dating pool by weeding out people who don’t value sobriety.

Yes, dating can be awkward and doing it sober makes it slightly more awkward. But you’re able to get a much better read on people when you’re sober and you’re able to spot the red flags you would have missed while using coming a mile away.

The intimacy you built with your date over dinner? You’ll know it’s real because you’re building it sober.

The decision to go home with your date? You’ll know it was a clear-headed, consensual one because you made it sober.

The adult fun you have at their house? You’ll know you were at peak performance because, yep, you did it sober.

Sobriety Myth #4 - You Won’t be Able to Handle the Stress of Life Sober

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Drugs of abuse trick us into making us think that they are helping with stress. They’re not. They’re actually altering our brain chemistry to produce more stress in the long-term.

In reality, addiction is making our stress worse and leaving us less equipped to deal with life as it comes without turning to drugs and alcohol.

Here’s the truth: Consistently dealing with stress in only one way - by using - robs us of the opportunity to learn how to deal with it in new ways.

Whether it’s mindfulness, exercise, counseling, artistic expression, music, conversations with a friend, going for a walk, doing breathing exercises, working on a fun project, or watching ASMR videos on Youtube, there are literally hundreds of ways to deal with stress that you probably haven’t tried.

Learning a new skill is tough but you can do it. You’re stronger than you think.

Sobriety Myth #5 - You’ll Have to Become a Completely Different Person

A lot of people have an idea of a “sober” person in their mind.

For some, it’s that preachy aunt who has been rabid about NA since the early 80’s. For others, it’s that dry drunk coworker who is sober now but is still a pain in the ass at staff meetings. Some people think of that “perfect angel” they know who does hours of selfless volunteering at the church thrift shop now that they are born again and sober.  

It’s no wonder some people can’t see themselves getting sober. With role models like these, who can blame them?

Here’s the truth: You can get sober and still be yourself. 100%. You’ll actually become MORE like yourself as you get sober.

There is no one way to get sober. Forget the ideas you have about what a sober person looks like. You don’t need to become someone else to get sober. Yes, you’ll learn some new tricks, but you’ll actually expand into who you really are once you let drugs and alcohol stop calling all the shots.

You’ll find that some people in early sobriety do try to “be someone else” as they try to adjust to their new identity and reality. From the outside, this can look and feel forced and it can turn sober-curious people off.

Others will be a bit too overzealous in their total adoption of group think. Whether they’re part of a religious institution or some self-help organization, these people will appear to lose of bit of their old selves in the process of getting sober. This is usually temporary and by no means universal. For some people, it works best this way. If that doesn’t work for you - skip it.

In sobriety, YOU DO YOU.

Sobriety Myth #6 - You Don’t Deserve Sobriety

You don’t hear a lot of people say this one out loud, but, boy, is this a doozy.

Being caught in the spiral of addiction sucks. You disappoint other people - but especially yourself - a lot. You have a massive amount of negative self-talk brewing on the daily. You’re sure to criticize yourself before someone else beats you to the punch.

If you’re dealing with other mental health issues - and most of us are - you might be getting an extra helping of self-loathing.

It’s easy to start feeling like you, not the drugs, are the problem.

You’re not.

Here’s the truth: We all deserve a life free of addiction. We all are capable not only of learning how to function but actually THRIVE without drugs and alcohol.

You’ve made some mistakes, sure, but don’t believe the hype. You’re a human and you’re no better or worse than the rest of us.

There’s nothing written in the stars that says your life has to be this way. You won’t always feel this way. It’s temporary. Millions of people just like you have come back from this - and worse.

Bust Your Own Myths

This list is a start, but it’s not exhaustive. There are so many other sobriety myths out there that stop people from pursuing sobriety.

If you’ve got any other myths holding you back, write them down. Sometimes just looking at them on paper is enough to realize they’re ridiculous. If that doesn’t work, share them with a friend or counselor and see if they can help bust them for you. Sometimes an outside perspective is all you need.

As you continue on your journey, I hope you keep finding more myths to bust - and surprising yourself about how awesome sobriety can be!


erin gilday

Erin Gilday is a copywriter and content marketer specializing in addiction treatment. She is a former substance abuse counselor and social worker. She loves her cat, The X-Files, classic movies and organizing for social justice. You can find her on LinkedIn.

Happy Brain, Happy You: A Celebration of Recovery

In honor of Suicide Awareness and National Recovery Month, Dr. Julie Lopez will moderate an evening of storytelling about human struggles, resiliency, and survival.

Hear from a panel of leaders and survivors within the mental health and recovery movements, including Laura Silverman of the Sobriety Collective and Christie Dondero-Bettwy of Rock Recovery. Anyone who has experienced addiction, suicidality, eating disorders, and other mental health concerns will be able to hear, share (if desired), and honor their experiences in a safe and empathetic group. Additionally, Dr. Julie will provide insight into how trauma can influence these subjects.

Light food and beverages will be served.

Volunteer positions are currently open for this event! All volunteers will receive free admission to one of our Holistic Professional Group's monthly workshops, where professionals in the wellness sphere are able to network while learning more about diverse approaches to mental health.

Register here.

11 Lessons Learned in 11 Years of Recovery

Originally published on  Workit Health ; republished with permission on  Shatterproof .

Originally published on Workit Health; republished with permission on Shatterproof.

The year was 2007. Phones were clunky and the opposite of “smart.” iPods were relatively new, MapQuest directions were printed, Amazon.com was a bookseller, Senator Barack Obama prepared to hit the campaign trail, the new ABC show Grey’s Anatomy was taking the country by storm, and Laura Silverman (aka yours truly) checked herself into an intensive outpatient program for alcohol abuse after six years of heavy binge drinking.

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The year is now 2018. Phones are pocket-sized computers. Amazon runs the world (and you can access it from your phone, natch). Former Senator Obama is now former two-term U.S. President (miss you, Barry!). Grey’s Anatomy is still around. And Laura, our protagonist, celebrated 11 years of continuous sobriety on July 14th.

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Switching over to first person now that I’ve set the stage for you. Without further ado, here are some nuggets of wisdom, lessons, and tools I use in over a decade of recovery - in meme and GIF form. It is 2018, after all ;)

1. I’m sober, not boring.

I go to concerts and sing loudly on karaoke nights. I date. I bowl. I play with my nephews. I go out on girls' nights to fancy dinners. I ice skate and rock climb and dance (like Elaine from Seinfeld).

And I wake up the next morning blissfully hangover-free. It feels fan-freakin-tastic.

2. Personal growth is necessary - and (sometimes) painful.

 

One of the things I have to work on daily is my need to people-please. Being bullied for years as a kid tore down any self-confidence I had; all I wanted was to be liked by you. To be your friend. To not be at the bottom of the social barrel.

But now? I still fall prey to wanting to be liked (even at 35 years old! I see it happen the most via social media). And I have to actively take a part in my daily recovery by knowing I’m whole and enough and beautifully radiant, inside and out, just as I am. With or without your approval. That’s personal growth. It sure ain’t easy.

3. Move that body!

Walking in nature, practicing yoga, hiking, weight lifting, busting a sweat. Releasing those endorphinsand feeling accomplished.

Honestly, the best way to get out of my head is to turn on some tunes and go for a walk outside. I always feel on top of the world and more peaceful in and post-workout...

I go to concerts and sing loudly on karaoke nights. I date. I bowl. I play with my nephews. I go out on girls' nights to fancy dinners. I ice skate and rock climb and dance (like Elaine from Seinfeld).

And I wake up the next morning blissfully hangover-free. It feels fan-freakin-tastic.

4. Exercise that brain!

Mental health is just as important as physical health. They are very much intertwined.

Exercise makes me feel more positive and happy and empowered. Feeling those feelings boosts my mental health, and makes me more inclined to want to continue taking care of my physical body.

This is why I love yoga so much. I get to amplify my physical, mental, and spiritual health. #NamasteSober

5. #MocktailLife

Gone are the days of just water or soda. (Those are still viable options.) Just the other night I had a delicious ginger/coconut/passion fruit NoJito . And it was glorious. I like to feel glamorous and holding a drink (especially in early recovery but even well into now) can give me more confidence on a date or at a work event. Booze-free, full of flavor, no consequences.

6. Take things one moment at a time.

To get anywhere with my sobriety, mental health, spiritual health, and just, well, life, I have to take things, as they say, one day at a time. Thinking in terms of “forever” will inevitably stress me out.

That doesn’t mean I can’t have goals or ambitions. But there’s no sense in agonizing over the future or regretting the past. Staying present is what it’s all about.

7. Stay grateful.

A daily gratitude practice—whether it’s just a mental acknowledgment of what I’m thankful for or writing a list—is crucial.

They say the sign of true gratitude is not in having what you want, but in wanting what you have.

8. Smile.

I love smiling. Have you seen my smile? It’s radiant if I do say so myself.

That doesn’t mean I’m always happy. If you’re always happy, how can you be grateful for true happiness? (see #7.) But I find that even a fake smile can turn into a real one; and a real smile is infectious.

If you can use your smile and aim it at a stranger, and they do that to another, and another, and another... imagine the impact a small, simple act of kindness can have on the world.

9. Surround yourself with love and support.

 

No matter if you choose a program (12 step, SMART, Refuge, LifeRing) or trail blaze your own path, find a support system of friends, loved ones, and professionals that works for you.

If you want or need it, don't be afraid to ask for help. Reaching out is a sign of strength, not weakness.

10. Be proud of how far you’ve come, no matter where you are in the process of recovery.

In the wake of Demi Lovato’s relapse, I thought it was only right to pay homage to someone who fights on the front lines of mental health and addiction recovery daily. We have lessons to learn from her - and that’s that this is a process and we must always support each other.

Maybe you’ve slipped, maybe you’ve stayed sober or drug-free without one lapse; maybe you keep trying. This is a process and you should be proud of where you are, forging your own path.

11. My sobriety goes to 11 (years).

*Raises mocktail* Cheers!

 

From Blackout to Brilliance - Dispatch 11 Years Later

Scroll down to see photos and a writeup from my SOBER experience at Saturday's Dispatch concert at Merriweather Post Pavillion. As the title of this post says - I've come full circle. From blackout to brilliance. This might just be my future memoir title. <3

I have all the feels. @dispatch at @merriweatherpp was rainy, cold, and unforgettably AWEsome in the truest meaning of the word. 💫 💫 💫 💫 I was the band's lead volunteer via @propeller.la. Dispatch is a very socially conscious band and they support many nonprofits doing wonderful work. We learned how to be active bystanders and safely intervene in situations of sexual harassment or abuse concerts for @callingallcrows. We sold gorgeous @nalgene water bottles benefitting @reverb_org - in an effort to reduce sing le use plastics at music venues. We educated our fellow concert goers on @nativegiving. 💫 💫 💫 💫 And as you can see, we met @bradcorrigan and @chadwickstokes!!! If all that wasn't enough, I had to take the opportunity to tell Brad my 30 second story. Of how 11 years ago on July 13th, 2007 their @thegarden show was the last night I ever drank - and how I just celebrated 11 years on July 14th. Brad hugged me, gave me a high five - and a natural high because I was freaking out (on the inside). 💫 💫 💫 💫 My crew was truly phenomenal. We powered through monsoon level rains and wind and did our work happily and proudly. We got to experience @rayezaragoza and @nahko_and_mftp. Omg their violinist 🎻 is out of this world. And his hair! But I digress. 💫 💫 💫 💫 Dispatch's set was unreal - and to top it off, I won top volunteer status and the chance to see the encore from the photo pit (hey @michaelraymondsmith!). My face hurt from perpetual smiling. 💫 💫 💫 💫 So did my Dispatch experience come full circle? 💫 💫 💫 💫 Fuck yeah, it did. / 🎤 #dispatch #dispatchband #merriweatherpostpavilion #mindfulness #selflove #boozefree #selfcare #meditation #buddhism #sobriety #mentalhealth #witchy #sherecovers #theuniverse #theyogalife #thesoberlife #gratitude #recoveryrocks #recovery #soberAF #recoveroutloud #thesobrietycollective #soberissexy #alcoholfree #holistichealth #sobertribe #sober #Tt