Zero Proof: Drinking, A Love Story


In the latest episode of Zero Proof Book Club, Shelley and I discuss Caroline Knapp’s memoir “Drinking: A Love Story.” We gush about Knapp and her writing and talk about our sometimes complicated relationships with our own families, friends, and more.

Listen to the new episode here, at ZeroProofBookClub.com, and follow us on Instagram at @zeroproofbookclub.


Pairs well with…

  • Bubbly strawberry lemonade

To pair with this week’s podcast episode, we’re drinking strawberry lemonade (we love Simply Lemonade with Strawberry) mixed with ginger ale. Super simple. Simply refreshing. Just in time for spring! 🍓❤️


About Drinking: A Love Story

What to expect: An extraordinarily candid memoir published in 1997 that changed the quit lit genre for good.

I drew these hearts around author Caroline Knapp before I Googled her and learned she died of lung cancer in 2002, just six years after “Drinking: A Love Story” was published. She was 42 years old. Her work changed the way we think, write about, and discuss addiction. Especially in terms of women and addiction. What an inspiring human.

From the book jacket:

“Fifteen million Americans a year are plagued with alcoholism. Five million of them are women. Many of them, like Caroline Knapp, started in their early teens and began to use alcohol as ‘liquid armor,’ a way to protect themselves against the difficult realities of life. In this extraordinarily candid and revealing memoir, Knapp offers important insights not only about alcoholism, but about life itself and how we learn to cope with it.

It was love at first sight. The beads of moisture on a chilled bottle. The way the glasses clinked and the conversation flowed. Then it became obsession. The way she hid her bottles behind her lover’s refrigerator. The way she slipped from the dinner table to the bathroom, from work to the bar. And then, like so many love stories, it fell apart. Drinking is Caroline Kapp’s harrowing chronicle of her twenty-year love affair with alcohol.

Caroline had her first drink at 14. She drank through her years at an Ivy League college, and through an award-winning career as an editor and columnist. Publicly she was a dutiful daughter, a sophisticated professional. Privately she was drinking herself into oblivion. This startlingly honest memoir lays bare the secrecy, family myths, and destructive relationships that go hand in hand with drinking. And it is, above all, a love story for our times—full of passion and heartbreak, betrayal and desire—a triumph over the pain and deception that mark an alcoholic life.”

— Drinking: A Love Story

Zero Proof: Blackout


In the latest episode of Zero Proof Book Club, Shelley and I discuss Sarah Hepola’s memoir “Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget.” Listen now to hear us talk about how much we relate to Hepola’s story and dive deep into the scary reality of alcohol-induced blackouts. Topics include binging, sex, blacked-out alter egos, and how to reconcile the person you are when you’re blacked out with the real you.


Listen to the new episode here, at ZeroProofBookClub.com, and follow us on Instagram at @zeroproofbookclub.


Pairs well with…

Some ultra chic Topo Chico Grapefruit + lime + salt rim

Sarah Hepola mentions margaritas a few times in her memoir, so we wanted to share this super simple zero-proof margarita idea with you this week! Start by salting the rim of your cocktail glass, then pour a bottle of Topo Chico Twist of Grapefruit over ice. Squeeze in the juice from half a lime (fresh grapefruit or orange juice would be great in here, too!) and garnish with lime wedges. Just DO NOT SKIP THE SALT RIM and we promise you’ll love this refreshing and booze-free margarita-ish drink.


About “Blackout: Remembering the Thinks I Drank to Forget”

What to expect: A New York Times-bestselling memoir about the journey from blackout drinker (hello, modern binge culture) to badass sober sister

From the book jacket: “For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was ‘the gasoline of all adventure.’ Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first century woman. But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should be. Mornings became detective work on her own life: What did I say last night? Who was that guy? Where am I? Blackout is a memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant laugh-out-loud humor. It’s the story of a woman stumbling into a new adventure—the sober life she never wanted.”

— Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

It’s my three-year soberversary!


Three years! Holy no-more-shitfaced!

I think of the exact date of my sobriety as a feral-animal-turned-beloved-pet’s birthday. I don’t know it for sure. I had tried to quit so many times before April 15, 2016, and I was tired of “remembering dates” only to be alarmed and disappointed in myself when I found myself hungover yet again. In fact, I figured out about a year ago that my real soberversary date is perhaps a few days before today… BUT I’ve got it in my brain as April 15, so April 15 it shall be.

That means, I haven’t been drunk since a little over three years ago. < !!!! pew pew pew all the emojis !!!!>

I have had one glass of alcohol since then. A glass of champagne at my bachelorette party. As soon as I sipped it, I felt gold in my veins. That’s what it felt like—gold. Relief. Escape. Precious.

More-more-more came calling with just one drink.

By the time of my bachelorette party, I had at least a year and a half of sobriety under my belt, but it didn’t matter. That voice I hadn’t heard in so long shot its shitty little self into my ear and said, “OMG ORDER EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW. A WHOLE BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE, AND AT LEAST TWO BLOODY MARYS. AND SHOTS FOR EVERYONE! OMG WE’RE fUCk*$g DOING THIS!!!”

But, no, we were not doing this. It took a lot of effort—too much effort, I thought, considering I hadn’t drank in so long—to push that voice back in the cage where it belonged. But I did. I drank sparkling grape juice the rest of the weekend. And my amazing mother-in-law had some waiting for Justin and I in the hotel after our wedding.

I’m so happy for that glass of champagne, which the well-meaning waiter had brought me as a surprise when he heard what our group was celebrating. Getting and staying sober was really hard for me, and it was especially difficult my first year, but I had reaped enough rewards of sobriety to know that voice was no good. Being sober for a while had made me aware of that voice so I could shut it up early. Being sober for a while had helped me be in my body in a new way, a way that enabled me to recognize that fool’s-gold feeling for what it was as soon as it hit me.

I’m so grateful today. I’m grateful for the people who loved me unconditionally through some hard times. I’m grateful to the people who find the courage every day to face their addiction problems, who have the courage to try to be their better selves and who fight for it day after day after day. I’m so grateful to the people who recover out loud, too, like the writers and recovering alcoholics who helped me understand what I was going through and helped me feel less alone.

Most of all, today I’m so… like… earth-shatteringly grateful to that sad, disappointed, disgusted, rock-bottomed-out self who decided around three years ago that enough was enough—and that I was enough without booze. Thank you thank you thank you.

That glass of champagne and how instantaneously my old destructive-drinking self presented itself was the final sign I needed to accept that I had to be done drinking forever. There was no controlling it. No nice little bachelorette brunch with one martini for me. I couldn’t drink ever again if I wanted to be happy.

A look back at Year Three

And happy I am! Year Three was a good one.

Some highlights:

  • I had my first solo art show, featuring work that I count as integral to my early sobriety. Listen to my interview about why on The Unruffled Podcast.
  • I launched a sober book club podcast with my dear friend Shelley. Obviously, there’s so much power in sharing our individual journeys, but it’s important we never feel pressure to share until we are ready. My first year of sobriety was spent being very, very quiet about it. I didn’t want to talk about my new sobriety for fear of scaring it away. I also wasn’t sure about ~anything~, least of all if sobriety would stick… Take your time. When you’re ready, the sober community has open arms, ears, and hearts.
  • I started going to therapy regularly. Regularly being the key word here. I was usually a three-visits-and-done kind of client, thinking “OK, problem solved!” Or (more often) “Why am I paying someone to just listen to me talk?” All things considered, I probably need regular therapy less than ever today. Ha! But that’s the point, I think. I’m healthy enough now to ask for help. Even minimal help. Going to therapy now is less about solving an urgent problem and more about reminding myself that it’s important to show up for my emotional self in some kind of physical capacity on a consistent basis. It helps me trust myself.

Year Three definitely brought some brought new challenges, too. This year, the shock of staying sober wore off. A layer of the onion had peeled away. The raw one. And now I was left looking at a whole new me. I had changed and had to get used to it.

When you get sober (from whatever you’re addicted to… doesn’t have to be booze) and want to enjoy being sober, you’re required to give up some additional things. You’re not ready for it. You think, “Well, I quit the number-one-problem thing. Problem solved!”

Alas, recovery is a lifelong journey. There are 12 stupid freaking steps for a reason. You don’t just admit you have a problem and, bam, all is well. It takes work. And constant self-vigilance and discipline — two seemingly scary words that are, I’ve found, the root of all peace.

This year I was able to recognize ways in which the behavioral patterns tied to my alcohol abuse were still showing up in my life. The patterns were just channeled through other outlets, less destructive outlets certainly, but unhealthy ones nonetheless.

They were hard to pinpoint initially. I’m being vague for a reason… it’s still sorta hard for me to explain. The best example I can give is work. Workaholism is real and I got it, y’all. I can sometimes use work and overcommitting myself for the same reasons I used alcohol. As a means of escape, to outrun perfectionism and fear and guilt and shame and imposter syndrome and and and…

Plans for Year Four

I don’t think my intense work ethic is bad. Not at all. It’s one of the best things about me. I am loyal AF to something I say I will do and earn everything I have. That means a lot to me and always will.

I just want to work on working better. Saying no to good opportunities and only taking great ones, for example. Making space for more personal goals and being clear on what those are. Really working on being a better partner and friend and a person who lives every day aligned to her values. Etc.

New-age woo-woo story alert: So, last fall after my art show, I did this meditation where you were supposed to envision your highest self. Then, you were to imagine this highest self presenting you with something you needed. A gift, if you will.

In my vision, my highest self (lookin’ sexay in a white toga because I guess that’s how my mind works?) presented me with… a jug. A freakin’ jug! I was like, ugh, my highest self is one cheap bitch. What is this supposed to mean? I thought maybe water. Like I was thirsty at the moment (highest selves being quite practical), but in hindsight, I think it represents a couple important things: 1) taking a time-out to re-energize and 2) connecting with others over a new drink (ie. I don’t need to hide anymore… I can hang out with people sober and just drink water).

After this meditation, I also kept seeing jugs in artworks everywhere! Particularly in still life paintings, where the message is obvious — be still for bit, Mantey. But also in paintings where the jug was meant to represent community (a jug being something you have on the table when you have people over). I like that one and I think it’s important. I think Year Four will mean coming outside of myself more, now that I’m ready, and connecting with other people in better, more honest ways than ever before.

I have three ideas for how to achieve this all in Year Four. Recovering workaholics still need a plan:

  • Hustle with intention. I want to focus on the writing I’ve been planning for a while now but have been pushing to the back burner out of fear. Fear of it not being good enough, and also fear of not taking any paying job that’s offered me (even if I have five others lined up… oy). I want to focus on saying no to things, and I don’t just mean work that is unrelated to my creative writing. I mean saying no to, for example, taking a class that’s wrong for me or taking the time to read a book about craft just because I’m afraid to actually do the work.
  • Take the emotion out of most decision making. Blah. How many decisions do we make or how many worries do we focus on simply because we are afraid or trying to distract ourselves from some deeper truth? I want to be strategic and responsive, instead of reactive and unreasonable about my time and energy and interests. I want to look at choices as only that: Choices with pros and cons (not right or wrong, black or white, life-changing or life-threatening). Choices that I consider and make a logical decision about based on truth, not feeling. Contingency relationships with an if/ then approach.
  • Rest. Unapologetically. If I need time, I’m going to not only ask myself for it, but give it. I’m the one who puts myself in these overwhelming situations, for reasons that run the same deep paths that my excessive drinking did. I’ve learned a lot about boundaries the last three years, and I think this year will be about learning to put boundaries on my restlessness, which presents itself as ambition but is actually insecurity and a short-term escapism disguised as a “good idea.” Acting lovingly toward myself and my people is the better idea. Always.
And let’s have some fun, Year Four, shall we?

#SundaySentence: Misdirected instinct


For David Abrams’ Sunday Sentence project, readers share the best sentence they’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.”

(Except I totally give context and commentary.)


“Nearly every serious emotional problem can be seen as a case of misdirected instinct.”


Some food for thought from AA’s “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,” Step four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

I used to think step four was the scariest! Now I welcome it. You can’t improve anything if you only look at what’s working. This quote reminds me that I’m not alone in any problem (there are 7.6 billion other humans out there with the same instincts), and it reminds me that any internal challenge is surmountable.

Same goes for you, my friend. If you were fearless — if you weren’t worried about how looking at your weaknesses would make you feel — what could you change for the better?

Seven things I’m loving this month


“Killing Eve”

Thanks to a beloved cousin’s wedding and some previously planned plane-hopping home to Ohio, I’ve been doing a lot of traveling this month. I needed a new TV show to binge while I was airport bound, and “Killing Eve” did not disappoint.

The BBC America series is about Eve, an M15 security guard turned international spy (played by the incomparable Sandra Oh), who is on one twisted (and surprisingly funny) hunt for a psychopathic murderer named Villanelle (played by the also awesome Jodie Comer).

Seeing some ladies lead the psycho game trope is really fun. And def bloody. If you didn’t love Sandra Oh already (who even are you?), you will after watching this show.

“The Philosophy of…” on YouTube

re: Psychopaths, the Wisecrack channel on YouTube does some excellently down-the-rabbit-hole worthy videos on The Philosophy Of our favorite cultural characters, movies, and TV shows.

One pot vegetarian meals

Recipes here.

In my effort to be a better, environmentally friendly human (ie. not a psychopath), I’ve been trying to eat more plants. I’ve found vegetarian recipe how-to videos on YouTube to be more helpful to me than the static veggie food porn I find on Pinterest (though I like those too).

The Good Ancestor podcast

Particularly, this brand new episode with writer Glennon Doyle. You can and should listen to all of author and speaker Layla Saad’s episodes here. My Zero Proof Book Club co-host, Shelley, recommended this episode to me (Glennon’s big in the sober movement) and tuned me into Layla’s important work about how white feminists can be better advocates for racial justice.

Seltzer Squad podcast

re: Sober movement, the Seltzer Squad podcast has been getting a lot of buzz about not getting buzzed. Each episode covers a topic that inevitably comes up in sobriety.

This body meditation

Since we’re not peeing the bed anymore, and all that.

My kitty cat

My main squeeze is now roomies with my ‘rents, thanks to my husband’s atrocious allergy to anything cat. Hanging out with Little Dude when I’m visiting home always makes my heart grow 10 sizes. ‘Till next travel, cuddle buddy.

Zero Proof: The Good House

On the new episode of Zero Proof Book Club, Shelley and I discuss Ann Leary’s book “The Good House.” We’ve been reading so much quit lit and self-help, we decided to read a novel. “The Good House” by Leary, an NPR host and recovering alcoholic herself, fit the bill. Kirkus Reviews calls this book “a genuinely funny novel about alcoholism,” and we’d have to agree.


Listen to the new episode here, at ZeroProofBookClub.com, and follow us on Instagram at @zeroproofbookclub.


Hildy, the main character, is super funny, even if her spiraling addiction is not. We talk about the agony of hearing about what you did while drinking, the effectiveness of interventions, and, of course, witches.


About “The Good House”

What to expect: A funny, poignant novel about a struggling, high-functioning alcoholic

Pairs well with: A Virgin Mary. Tomato water with jalapeño & basil + horseradish + Worcestershire

In the book, Hildy drinks a Virgin Mary at a Thanksgiving gathering while the rest of the family downs the real thing. Our ultra-refreshing interpretation of the Virgin Mary captures the spirit of a Bloody without the booze. It incorporates tomato water, a super-concentrated liquid that captures the delicious essence of tomato. Here’s what you do:

  • Roughly chop three beefsteak tomatoes, one jalapeño and a handful of fresh basil.
  • Throw it all into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Pour into a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth over a bowl.
  • Let it sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours, and you’ll be rewarded with a cup or so of jalapeño-basil tomato water.
  • Pour it over ice, stir in a dash of Worcestershire, grate a little fresh horseradish over top if you can find it, and garnish with cherry tomato and basil.
  • Enjoy!

From the book jacket:

“Hildy Good is a townie. A lifelong resident of a small community on the rocky coast of Boston’s North Shore, she knows pretty much everything about everyone. And she’s good at lots of things, too. A successful real-estate broker, mother, and grandmother, her days are full. But her nights have become lonely ever since her daughters, convinced their mother was drinking too much, sent her off to rehab. Now she’s in recovery—more or less.

Alone and feeling unjustly persecuted, Hildy finds a friend in Rebecca McAllister, one of her town’s wealthy newcomers. Rebecca is grateful for the friendship and Hildy feels like a person in the world again, as she and Rebecca escape their worries with some harmless gossip and a bottle of wine by the fire—just one of their secrets.

But Rebecca is herself the subject of town gossip. When Frank Getchell, an old friend who shares a complicated history with Hildy, tries to warn her to stay away from Rebecca, Hildy attempts to protect her friend from a potential scandal. Soon, however, Hildy is busy trying to protect her own reputation. When a cluster of secrets becomes dangerously entwined, the reckless behavior of one person threatens to expose the other, and this darkly comic novel takes a chilling turn.”

Introducing: Zero Proof Podcast


Zero Proof is a brand new biweekly podcast featuring me and my forever-friend/ former-editor Shelley Mann Hite. Read our story here.

On each episode, we read and discuss one book about sobriety, self-growth, or surviving—and then thriving—in spaces that profit when we numb ourselves, from ourselves.

Episodes one and two launched today over at ZeroProofBookClub.com! Add that link to your bookmark bar or follow us on Instagram @zeroproof.

First up (on episode two), we discuss “The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath” by Leslie Jamison and dig into our own varied approaches to recovery.

We’re also featuring Zero Proof drinks (get it) that pair with each book. After all, we know book clubgoers need something to imbibe. We just don’t think it has to be alcohol.

“The Recovering” pairs well with an Iowa Fog, considering all that time Leslie spent at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. ☕📝 It’s our take on the classic London Fog: Steep a mug of Earl Gray tea, add a drop of vanilla, then top it with steamed milk. If you don’t have a milk steamer at home (who does?), you can get the same effect by beating milk in a saucepan over low heat with your hand mixer. Beat for a few minutes till your milk is nice and frothy.

The Iowa Fog

I can’t wait to share more episodes throughout our first season! Up next, we’re reading “The Body is Not An Apology” by Sonya Renee Taylor. Episode three drops on March 11.

Roundup: Five spots to shop for cool kettles


Yes, kettles, as in tea kettles.

Whaaaat, you ask? Who am I, you ask?

As a longstanding diehard coffee consumer, I’ve been asking myself the same questions.

A few weeks ago—three tomorrow, to be exact—I wasn’t feeling very well. I had a coffee on my nightstand as I laid in bed, trying to nap off whatever bug was bringing me down. The smell of the coffee, though, kept waking me up and making me feel queasy.

I haven’t had a lick of it since.

Considering I quit drinking alcohol almost three years ago, I am still surprised at my ability to be surprised when I fully quit something that has been part of my everyday life for over a decade. But I was drinking five to six cups of the strongest coffee I could find a day, and now I’m… a tea drinker? It’s weird. Surprising. And weird.

There are several upsides, obviously, to cutting the extreme caffeine. I’m saving money not purchasing $4-a-pop pick-me-ups. My energy is way better, ironically enough. More consistent. Fewer crashes. Less dramatic energy surges and lethargic dips. I l-o-v-e that I don’t feel restless/ manic if I haven’t had my morning coffee. AND, best of all, the ritual of making tea is way more fun.

I’m not fancy. By ritual, I mean literally just boiling water. But it’s like when you’re 16 and learn to drive and get a $300 janky, old, dump-destined beater that is a straight-up diamond in your eyes because it represents freedom, delicious freedom.

That beater = boiled water for me right now. <insert heart eyes, hashtag EZ2PLZ>

Once I passed the two-week coffee-free threshold, Justin and I decided to get a new kettle for the house so I could boil water like a lady. (Technically we had one already but it was, well, a dump-destined beater that was ~16 years old itself.)

Here are some places I found awesome options, including a few unexpected locales. So many tea pots, so little time (and also counter space).



A sea foam green cast iron kettle ($24.99) with a stainless steel infuser on the inside, embossed Japanese-style grapevines on the outside.

World Market

Travel the world from the comfort of your own stovetop. World Market’s options range from beautiful embossed cast iron kettles to marbled enamel numbers that would play perfectly in a white-cabinet kitchen.

Bonus: WM’s lucky cat tea infuser mug, which will ensure every morning starts off on the right paw.

French vintage enamel tea kettle ($45) on Etsy.

Etsy

The Etsy marketplace is often a go-to when I’m shopping for jewelry or décor, but I didn’t think of it right away for tea kettle shopping. Don’t make the same mistake. There are some really lovely options available, including punny pots like Mr. Tea, who pity the caffeine-fiending fool, and many vintage goodies, like this amazing Corningware cooker.


Luanne tea kettle ($38) from Anthropologie.

Anthropologie

Whimsical print pots, $500+ coppermill kettles, and swoon-worthy sets complete with sugar bowls and serving trays. That’s so Anthro.


Rave Tea Kettle from MoMA
Raven tea kettle ($80) from MoMA.

Art museums

Yet another destination you might not consider right away, art museum shops often have a curated section of hip home goods. For example, The Art Institute of Chicago’s Museum Shop has a sparse but mighty selection, and MoMA has some seriously great stuff that will ensure your tea routine is a work of art. (PS. I bet your local bookstore also carries some tea related must-haves.)

Ah! Tumultuous love affairs aside, these Frida and Diego mugs = amazing wedding gift alert!

Rainbow mirror whistling kettle ($27) from Amazon.

Amazon

Ah, good old Amazon. Fun options abound, though we ended up getting none of the above and, instead, going for function over style, purchasing an energy efficient electric kettle that can boil water in mere seconds.

Le sigh. It’s cool in a practical way, but I’ll be in the market for adorable mugs soon. This, friends, is what kitchen-based compromise and communication looks like.

And this:

On writing: Radical acceptance’s role in creativity

On my recent interview with The Unruffled Podcast, I listed the “DBT Skills Training Manual” as one of my essential/most helpful tools for getting and staying sober while increasing creativity.

The skills in DBT, which stands for dialectical behavior therapy, are deceptively simple and designed to help you learn to cope with overwhelming emotions. Its creator, Marsha Lineham, compiled these skillsets to help patients with Borderline Personality Disorder, but I have found them really useful even though I don’t have BPD. In fact, I think they’d be helpful for any human, really. Especially humans who are deeply sensitive. And of that I can definitely be accused. 😉

The skills have helped me learn how to be more mindful of what I’m feeling and, from there, address that feeling immediately. Addressing it sometimes just means acknowledging it and letting it go. Sometimes it means reframing the emotion toward gratitude. And sometimes—most of the time—it means just admitting that it’s there.

I know. Eureka! But seriously, how many times have you experienced an uncomfortable emotion and just pushed it down and then wondered why you feel gross two hours later? What she prescribes after seeing that emotion rolling in is some good old radical acceptance. Radical acceptance is that totally unsexy thing in which all sexy solutions can be found.

In this video Lineham explains how, “Suppressing what you want is not the way to go. You have to radically accept that you want something you don’t have—and it’s not a catastrophe.” And once you get used to the fact that not having what you want is not a catastrophe, you’ll be better equipped to start a plan to get that thing you wanted OR get closer to being a peace with not having it.

“Radical acceptance would transform everyone if it’s a regular practice,” Lineham says.

In terms of creativity, I think that’s a really powerful tool. I’ve been struggling lately with taking the time I need to make new work. I feel like I’m not getting enough done quickly enough, and as deadlines I’ve set for myself just cruise on by undone, I feel worse and worse.

I know I’m not alone in this. Writer Anne Helen Petersen’s recent Buzzfeed article “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation” went viral for a reason. And it’s not just Millennials. We are all so used to moving so fast—for financial survival, social validation, “self-preservation,” and a million other reasons—we’ve never learned how to get used to taking things slow. Taking things slowly makes us uncomfortable. It seems misaligned with how we’ve always lived our lives, achievement- and extra-curricular and pleasure-chasing culture that we are.

Plus, for me at least, going slowly also seems to be a direct affront to how much we recognize we have. As we are exposed more than ever to the injustices of this world, we feel gratitude for the unfairness we do NOT face. With that knowledge constantly top of mind, it feels like a waste of all of this privilege if we don’t do a million and one things with it; to do “nothing” with the advantages we have feels disrespectful to those who don’t have them. On top of all that, when we feel so ultimately powerless to change the world, “getting shit done” seems the least we can do.

But what, truly, are we achieving by burning ourselves at both ends? What do we avoid accepting? What real or powerful change do we avoid making when we go for the quick hits instead?

Personally, I want to take more time this year taking my time. I want to practice acceptance. And accept that I need to practice. Practice is progress and progress is better than perfection.

Perfection might get shit done faster on the surface. But usually everything is burning underneath.


TLDR:

Featured: Creativity + The Unruffled Podcast



2018 has been my favorite one yet! And one of its biggest moments was my gallery exhibition in September.

I finally started making the embroideries for “Gone, Country” (after, like, a year of talking about it as if I had already started…ha!…) the same month I quit drinking in 2016. I didn’t/ couldn’t allow myself to realize it at the time, but that embroidery work became a physical representation of what I was trying to make happen in my life.

It required humility and fearlessness to just make something, the same way it required humility and fearlessness to make such a huge change. I punched designs into paper one needle-hole at a time, the same way I didn’t drink one day at a time. I made those small incremental holes in the darkness of an image, the same way I slowly began bringing light to parts of myself I had long been avoiding.

Taking time to make an embroidery gave me something to do with my hands while I simultaneously took on the terrifying business of learning to talk to myself in a new way; it took the pressure off. It also proved to myself that I wasn’t just someone who talked about her dreams. I had the courage to try. And, in the meantime, I made some cool shit.

Creativity was means/space/outlet for healing. I recently spoke about this process to the awesome women of The Unruffled Podcast. It’s such an honor to be included in their interviews, and I am thankful for their efforts to create a community for women to talk about these experiences of making art while making a more compassionate way of life. (If you’re interested in creativity and overcoming the nonsense we put in between ourselves and our greatest potential, I highly recommend adding Unruffled Podcast to your pod roll!)

Here’s my episode! I love that it’s the last one for the year. I hope to embrace 2019. To keep getting better, braver, kinder, stiller.

Sending you all so much love into the new year. Thank you for being part of my story. I hope you have THE FUCKING GREATEST 2019 EVERRRR!

P.S. / FYI: I am co-launching Zero Proof Book Club in February with my good friend Shelley Mann. We read and discuss books about sobriety, self-growth, or surviving—and then thriving—in spaces that profit when we numb ourselves, from ourselves. You can go LIKE the page now and stay tuned for more in the future. xoxo

Ready for you, bb. #2019