Life after alcohol


The second time he tried alcohol, at the age of 16, Chris Marshall smashed his mother’s car, obtained a DUI, and landed in prison. This didn’t scare him. Marshall liked how alcohol Help soften his social relationships and strengthen his sense of belonging. When he entered the University of Texas at San Antonio, he joined the fraternity and only increased his drinking.

Gradually, however, Marshall’s alcohol misuse caused alarm even his partisan brothers.

“Even in this highly toxic environment, it was evident that I was still drinking more and for different reasons than my friends were,” says Marshall, who grew up in Houston.

When he was 23 years old, Marshall realized he couldn’t quit smoking or even cut expenses on his own. Fortunately, he was still covered under his mom health insurance You may bear the costs of alcohol rehabilitation. Aware Psychologist Help Marshall realize that his Excessive drinking Camouflaging Deeper Problems: Anxiety And the depression.

“This was the first time anyone had said, ‘Hey, you’re self-medicating’ with alcohol, ‘all the dots are connected,” says Marshall.

Marshall’s doctor prescribed many medications for his anxiety, depression and asleep Issues. Over the next two years, Marshall was not only alert, but also able to cut back on his prescription medications.

With hindsight, Marshall now sees that he relied on drinking as a crutch to feel close to others and to project a certain identity to himself. “Alcohol is really a social currency,” he says.

James Murphy, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Memphis, Tennessee who studies addictive behaviors, says finding help as Marshall did is key to eliminating alcohol abuse.

“Your recovery is more likely to be successful when you have a lot of support, from professional counselors, friends, support groups, and family,” Murphy says.

At the same time, he says, new habits are like Processing, The right medications and new activities can spark “passion, curiosity, and joy” and help sobriety.

Busting the “sober is boring” myth

New ideas can sometimes help crystallize a path away from alcohol.

Tawny Lara describes her former self as a “party girl waitress” who, like Marshall, started drinking in her mid-teens. Drugs were a part of her scene, too. Now a writer and public speaker living in New York City, Lara sobriety fondled several times before finally getting tired of all the “mental gymnastics” to justify it.

Every night it was basically the same: We start drinkingEmotional meltdowns, fast food at 2 a.m., Remnants In the morning. ”“ Now, my life is full of self-awareness and potential. I have more time and money to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. “

Lara’s new sober lifestyle also paved the way to fully embrace her essence: her sexual ambivalence. She talks about sober sex and is releasing a book soon.

Lara says that at first she found the sobriety “extremely embarrassing. I thought there was a flashing sign above my head that read,” This girl doesn’t drink. “

The truth is, “Most people do not care or pay attention to what other people are drinking.”

Soon Lara also realized that people who asked curious questions about why she wasn’t drinking “tend to stop drinking.”

“I used to think sobriety was boring, but now I see being a party girl was boring,” says Lara.

Visualize sobriety

One of the keys to a successful sober life is drawing realistic social scenarios.

Go to the events with a goal in mind, says Murphy of the University of Memphis. “If your goal is moderate drinking, you have a very specific plan for the amount and type of alcohol you will consume, and how you will dispense the drinks. If your goal is chastity, remind yourself whyYou are making that choice. “

Practice how to turn down drinks, says Murphy. What non-alcoholic drinks would you order? What is your plan if you experience severe cravings? It can also help with the alignment of some “safe” people who will respect your position.

Know that you can get away from the party or even leave at any time, Murphy says. “You are under no obligation to tell people why you are not drinking.”

Lara agrees. “Never compromise Psychological health In order to go to an event, “she says.” If you are extremely anxious about a first date or party where there will be wine, it’s okay to hold back or leave early. Everyone who cares about you will understand. Sobriety is about taking care of yourself, not making people happy. “

Now she likes to be sober on big occasions, like concerts and weddings. “I actually remember the conversations and the moments that happened.”

Helping others heal

Marshall grew up in a religious, non-alcoholic family. In black culture, medicine and mental illness Often they are considered weaknesses. Overcoming this stigma added to the challenge of Marshall’s recovery.

“ The hardest part is that you may not realize at first that although your sober life may not feel satisfied right away – you may feel more anxiety, pain and less joy – you have chosen a path that will gradually increase your level of well-being – over time.

Once sober, Marshall became a licensed substance abuse counselor for 8 years. Worked in a detoxification facility for 18 months.

“I became a ‘wounded healer’ and became an assistant,” he says. Then it became clear to Marshall that the same type of agent kept repeating over and over again, with nowhere to go and no one to hang out with without alcohol.

So in 2017, Marshall opened Sans Bar, a hangout in Austin, Texas, with only non-alcoholic drinks on the menu.

“It is beautiful that people decide for themselves that they will not drink alcohol, celebrate being alive, and make informed decisions,” he says.

Some companies reserve happy hour at Sans Bar so people can enjoy the social environment outside of the office, but “no one says anything stupid or stupid”. The Sans Bar even went on tour, with “pop-up” bars from Alaska to New York City.

It includes strategies that are helpful for people starting a sober path breathing Techniques and “prompt browsing”, prof Meditation A technique for visualizing temptations as waves that you can skip. Prescription medications may help curb cravings for alcohol or reduce the enjoyment you get from alcohol.

Marshall believes that total sobriety is a journey as much as a destination. His personal motto is “As long as you try to be gradually better, you cannot fail.”



Chris Marshall, Austin, Texas.

James Murphy, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Memphis, Tennessee.

Towne Lara, New York City.

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.