No. 5 - Rachel Brady: From Shots to Shakes
I currently work in small downtown development, which consists of event planning, economic development, and supporting small businesses within the local area.HOBBIES
My hobbies include weightlifting, reading memoirs, writing for my recovery account, taking walks with my husband and rescue puppy, and napping. Yes, I consider napping a hobby, and I’m quite good at it.
The first thing I usually do is call my husband or mom. They are two of the hugest supporters in my life, and I love to share my achievements with them. The next thing I do is treat myself to one of my favorite meals, which usually consists of sushi or ramen. I used to be extremely hard on myself when it came to acknowledging my achievements, so now I make an effort to be proud of myself and give myself credit.
I honestly never thought that I would thrive without alcohol for most of my early 20s because I was conditioned to believe that socializing and dating were alcohol-centric for anyone who wanted to appear interesting. It wasn’t until college where I started to show red flags for alcohol abuse that I slowly realized alcohol and I didn’t necessarily get along. I first considered an alcohol free lifestyle in 2016 a year after graduating college, and after some trial and error, will be celebrating two years alcohol free this month. It has brought me clarity, peace of mind, and has become a priority in my journey towards mental wellness.
One response (to my sobriety) that always confuses me is “Oh, I’m sorry.” Not sorry for offering me a drink, but sorry about the fact that I don’t drink. When someone acts as if not drinking is a punishment or a medical issue, it makes you think about the implication about how normalized alcohol use is.
Honestly, it’s (sobriety) my new normal. I was fortunate to have an understanding and even relieved group of friends and husband, but there still can be some tension when the conversation is dominated by drinking or activities only revolve around bar hopping. I will never miss being hungover, worrying about if I’m good to drive, or waking up wondering what I did or said the night before. It really puts a spotlight on how much your life revolved around alcohol if that was your lifestyle before you stopped drinking. Thankfully, I’ve developed some coping mechanisms and tools that go beyond drinking and benefit my mental state.
I am a sucker for a tasty virgin mojito! Anything involving mint or cucumber is an automatic win for me.
I used to be a night owl, but now that I’m getting older, a Diet Coke or nonalcoholic Ginger Beer is sufficient enough. Thankfully, our friends now know that I’ll either bring my own option over or have something on hand. I’ve set an example for them to remember that not everyone drinks alcohol or is in the mood to drink alcohol, and that isn’t something to shy away from.
The biggest fear I had was losing my social life, being seen as “boring,” and never having fun again. But when I started to dive into the lifestyle, I learned relatively quickly that worrying about the future only does so much for what you can control in the here and now. The party isn’t over, the party just might look different - which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think a lot of us focus primarily as to how our actions will be perceived by others, so at the end of the day, our choices are mostly reflected in how it’ll affect our image. Once you act from a place that serves you, you become much more aligned with activities, friends, and relationships that don’t feel like pulling teeth to maintain.
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