Vogue Magazine recently wrote an article about the benefits of sobriety. Instead of using the term “sobriety,” Vogue called it “abstaining from alcohol.” And appropriately so… there’s a big difference between a non-drinker and a person-in-recovery. The article was about folks who’ve made a provisional, somewhat casual decision to abstain from drugs and alcohol most of the time. Regardless, the message was clear: Is sobriety cool now?
Sobriety as stylish…
Author Jancee Dunn portrayed sobriety as stylish… very on trend. She talked about 2017’s “obsession with wellness.” Our fascination with eating clean, buying local. The growing culture of holistic remedies, organic diets, and sustainable living.
Namaste, and all that.
It makes sense… because, when you think about it, sobriety is the ultimate cleanse. We rid ourselves of toxins in early recovery. (In fact, it can take up to two years for our neurochemistry to return to baseline after an addiction.) So if we have a pressed juice in one hand and a beer in the other, can we truly call ourselves “committed to the lifestyle?”
It’s so often a game, isn’t it? Making healthy choices can feel like a contest: “I’m a gluten-free, no-sugar, raw till 4, plant-based paleo. Oh, and no soy!” We have an intern in the the office on day 13 of “The Whole 30” challenge (no gluten, sugar, alcohol). As soon as she announced her new healthy choice, the rest of us seemed to stiffen. We began to defend our own lunches, even posturing.
According to Vogue, it-girl models like Kylie Jenner and Miranda Kerr are skipping the booze to preserve their glowing completions. They unabashedly order water with dinner, drink Red Bull at the club. They also sleep properly, don’t embarrass themselves online and can articulate first thing in the AM. People are noticing. It’s becoming trendy, and it’s growing in popularity.
Champagne is out, $33.00 designer sparking water is in.
“And after you’ve cut out sugar, dairy, meat, and night-shade vegetables, what else is left, really?”
Seltzer is Oh So Hip…
It’s a smart observation. In a crowded bar, there is something unique (hip?) about sipping seltzer-and-cucumber. And there’s certainly some power behind having the clearest head in the room. Non-drinkers don’t get hungover. They have fitter physiques and more energy. And there’s something undeniably cool about keeping your composure. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been surrounded by over-served someones and received the comment, “You’re just so in control, man. Look at you… you never say anything stupid… so sophisticated… You truly just can’t be bothered!”
I’m just sober, “man.”
So, this is a new perspective… a fresh take on hyper-health and a new way to think about sobriety and recovery. We speak about addiction in terms of “disease” and “sick.” Why not “committing to health” and “getting well?” Will it shape the way we conceptualize the recovery process? Our motivations, expectations and goals?
There’s a case to be made for a healthy lifestyle supporting one’s sobriety. We do something in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) called cognitive restructuring or “reframing.” Here’s an example:
“I’m not allowed to use today… I’m not supposed to… even though it’s all I want to do. This is a burden. I really don’t feel like doing this anymore. If I go the whole day without drinking, then I deserve a glass of wine before bed. I can only hold out for so long.”
Verses, “Today, I get to feel healthy. I have an opportunity to help my skin appear youthful. To feel and behave gracefully. I’m so thankful for my body, and it just works better when I don’t use. Why wouldn’t I want to show off my sophisticated, clever mind?”
Grace in Recovery
We are a society acutely focused on health. According to Vogue, it’s fashionable. Personally, I think that’s just fine. The wellness trend may present its own set of pressures… heightened anxieties about who we should be and what it means to be a perfectly-well-woman (not to mention the issue of access to healthy resources). But our obsession with wellness is valuable when it bolsters recovery ideals and paints sobriety in a positive light.