A Q&A around sobriety and wellness, plus NA drinks and mocktail recipes.
Wellness Wire
IN a nutshell
Happy Friday, everyone! Today is also Cinco de Mayo, which for many people means drinking margaritas and celebrating with friends or family.
Not a fan of alcohol, but still like to party? Wondering how to support a sober loved one year-round? Keep scrolling to hear from Tawny Lara, the author and podcaster who’s been dubbed “The Sober Sexpert” for her expertise in navigating sobriety and relationships.
We’ll be talking about more nonalcoholic (NA) drink topics, like:
zero-proof tequila, NA craft beer, and a mocktail recipe book
We tested over 50 NA drinks: Here are the best ones
What does “sober curious” mean?
Be well,
Morgan Mandriota
Newsletter Editor, Healthline
  Written by Morgan Mandriota
September 26, 2023 • 6 min read
Tawny Lara is the award-winning co-host behind the “Recovery Rocks” podcast and author of “Dry Humping: A Guide to Dating, Relating, and Hooking Up Without the Booze” out this September. Below, she’s spilling the sobrie-tea on how to live your best NA life.
*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: How has becoming sober affected your overall sense of well-being?
A: I flirted with sobriety for years — taking a week off here and there to “prove to myself that I didn’t need alcohol.” I quit drinking for my 30th birthday, committing to a social experiment to see what it was like to not drink for a full year and blog about the experience. I wanted to see if alcohol was holding me back as a writer. Spoiler alert: It was!
Sobriety isn’t just ditching the booze; it’s doing the deep, arduous work to discover why I outsourced so much pain to the empty promises of liquid courage. Once I removed alcohol from my life (and started therapy), everything else fell into place. I found my voice as a writer as I worked with a therapist to unpack why I drank to excess so frequently.
Q: What helps to keep you going along your recovery journey?
A: In the recovery community, we often talk about something called our Sobriety Toolbox. These boxes (real or metaphorical) are filled with physical items, affirmations, activities, etc. that help us take life one day at a time and prepare for when things don’t go as planned, which is most of the time!
I feel most centered after practicing yoga, weightlifting, acupuncture, taking my anxiety medication, spending time with my partner and fur babies, cooking, or reading. I’m super engaged in the online sober community, so that peer support is super helpful, too.
Q: Instead of going out for happy hours or first date drinks, what are some fun alternative plans for people who want to stay sober *and* social?
A: Stick to activities like going to a museum, an escape room, or tea tasting. Focusing on something external, like a piece of artwork or the tannins in your tea, can help take the focus off each other so you can bond over what you’re each experiencing. Plus, incorporating some movement can help release anxiety or first-date jitters.
The fact that so many people think they can’t date, network, or catch up with friends without booze speaks to the ubiquity of alcohol in our culture. I like to remind readers that dating and socializing are inherently alcohol-free. We’re just so used to combining the two.
Greg Grunberg
Q: What do you wish more people knew about how to support their sober or sober curious loved ones?
A: As I said earlier, sobriety is more than just not drinking. It’s living in a booze-soaked world, dealing with life on life’s terms without alcohol. It can be really hard sometimes. Sober folks need allies, so thank you for holding space for this conversation.
Please provide interesting nonalcoholic drinks at your weddings, bachelorette parties, Super Bowl parties, etc. You’ll be surprised how many people want NA options but are afraid to ask.
If someone you love broke their leg, you’d check in on them to see how their recovery is going. Apply that same empathy to alcohol use disorder recovery. This type of recovery is ongoing, so I feel loved when people check in on my sobriety when I’m super stressed or going through a big life transition.
Q: Can you offer words of support, encouragement, or advice for readers who may be interested in sobriety but don’t know where or how to begin?
A: You don’t need to hit “rock bottom” to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol. Don’t let it get to that point. Be proactive!
Some people can take a break from booze without rehab or detox, while others need to look into medically assisted treatment. Deciding to give up alcohol, whether out of sober curiosity or in a life or death situation, can be a really scary time. You’re not alone.
When you reach for a drink, pay attention to how you feel — both physically and mentally.
Are you feeling insecure and hoping this drink will give you some liquid courage? Are you self-medicating after a breakup? Are you feeling great and just want a drink? There are no wrong answers here. Take note of those feelings and discuss them with a therapist or trusted friend.
great finds
Editor faves with health perks
Ritual Zero Proof Tequila
Ritual Zero Proof Tequila
Fellow tequila fans who want to drink a margarita without the buzz, consider checking out Ritual’s alcohol-free tequila.
Athletic Brewing
Athletic Brewing
Healthline editors recently ranked Athletic Brewing as one of the best nonalcoholic craft beer brands on the market!
Mocktail Party: 75 Plant-Based, Non-Alcoholic Mocktail Recipes for Every Occasion
“Mocktail Party: 75 Plant-Based, Non-Alcoholic Mocktail Recipes for Every Occasion”
Need inspo for DIY NA drinks? This book features fun mocktail recipes of all types to offer at your next event.
Every product we recommend has gone through Healthline's vetting process. If you buy through links on this page, we may receive a small commission or other tangible benefit. Healthline has sole editorial control over this newsletter. Potential uses for the products listed here are not health claims made by the manufacturers. Healthline is owned by RVO Health.
What are the best nonalcoholic drinks? Here are our favorites
Health Hacks
What are the best nonalcoholic drinks? Here are our favorites
For people who don’t want to consume alcohol, alternative drink choices have historically been limited to water, juice, or soda … but not anymore! Mocktails and NA bevs have been gaining popularity in recent years, giving people more options to choose from than ever before.
Healthline editors tested over 50 NA products, seltzers, and kombuchas to find the best booze-free drinks for different diets, budgets, and cravings. Here are some of the winners on our list:
Best overall zero-proof spirits and mixers: Lyre’s
Best for gin fans: Seedlip Garden 108
Best canned zero-proof cocktail: Lyre’s G&T
Best nonalcoholic sparkling rosé: TÖST Rosé
Best kombucha: Health-Ade
Best flavored sparkling water: Spindrift
Best sparkling water for mixing: Topo Chico
Check out our article to learn how to choose a zero-proof beverage that’s right for you, plus get more information on the health benefits of not drinking alcohol.
health stories you need
What we’re reading next
🍹 ️️️What it means to be “sober curious.” If you’re questioning the role alcohol has in your life, consider learning how to explore a life without drinking (or with a commitment to sobriety).
🧠 This simple test might predict your dementia risk. Subtle memory issues can predict cognitive issues down the line. New research shows a SOMI test may lead to early detection.
🌷 Mother’s Day gifts for new moms. Looking to give something special to the first-time mothers in your life this holiday? Check out this list of ideas from a new mama of an 8-month-old.
👀 ️️Can eye yoga work for dry eyes? Yes, eye yoga. Let’s discuss what the science says about yogic eye exercises, which are recently hyped up to potentially relieve chronic dry eye.
Thanks for reading! Whether or not you decide to drink alcohol, we hope you have a lovely weekend. We’ll be back in your inbox on Monday with a whole newsletter dedicated to answering YOUR health-related questions. See you then.
Did you enjoy this interview?
Until next time,
Take care of yourself, and we’ll see
you again soon!
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