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Ringing in the New Year, sober AF.

Counting down from 10 to 1 while watching Ryan Seacrest on the TV, everyone raised their champagne glasses full of golden bubbly goodness as I raised my mason jar full of "party water" yelling 'HAPPY NEW YEAR'! Laugh if you'd like, but for some odd reason the irony of seeing my brightly colored strawberry & lemon infused water surrounded by bubbly champagne was more than mildly satisfying to me at this point in my sober journey.

In years past, I would have shopped for weeks to find the skimpiest little perfect NYE outfit... short, tight, and preferably involving sequins. I would have spent over an hour perfecting my smokey eye and curling my hair with all of my extensions clipped in. I definitely would have picked out my highest heels and had all perfectly coordinated accessories, because you know I always wanted to look like I was a damn Kardashian stumbling around the streets of Detroit. I would spend a ridiculous amount of time getting ready and snapping selfies in the mirror before heading out for the night to celebrate the new year...

But really what I ended up doing was snagging free drinks from anyone that would say more than two words to me, having strangers at the bar take 300 pictures of myself and my wasted girlfriends (including whatever blackout drunk girls we befriended in the bathroom), gave out my number to men I had no intentions of ever seeing again, & drunkenly convinced someone to buy us food at 2 am as we poured out onto the streets when the bartenders told us it was time to leave a minimum of at least 6 times. But of course that wasn't the end of the night, this was just the point when we brought home whatever friends we had made to continue partying as I rummaged through my friends' refridgerators to polish off any bottles of wine they had at home. The only reason I even know that last part is because they were constantly asking me in the morning how the bottle of wine ended up empty in the sink. And there it was... my glamorous, awesome, insanely fun way to ring in the new year.. right?

Fast forward to this year. Like I described in the beginning, I gracefully navigated ringing in the New Year absolutely soberAF. Did I miss out on any of the fun? NO. Did I sit at home with nothing to do? NO. Did people see me as lame or unexciting? ABSOLUTELY NOT. The ironic thing about my New Years Eve plans this year is that I rang in 2017 surrounded by people I barely knew a year ago, and the only reason I now call them friends is because of a cheating ex boyfriend (funny how those things work out, huh?) I opened myself up to new people and new experiences because everything about being sober has been new, and some of it still is. And you know what? I met great people and had a great time without one drop of alcohol in my bloodstream.

During my past 19 months sober (woo hoo!), I always wanted to ensure that I never "missed out" on anything because of my sobriety. I did not want to not get invited to things just because I wasn't drinking anymore. I worried people wouldn't invite me places, wouldn't think I was fun anymore, and I would lose my identity of who I had always been.. a lively, outgoing, fun young woman. What I have learned is that I am still all of these things whether I have a drink in my hand or not. Nothing in a shot glass can make me who I am as a person. No salt-rimmed glass gives me the strength to be confident in every inch of my body.No perfectly crafted vodka & water can define my unique personality. I can still laugh until I'm in tears, dance around like an idiot, and exude every ounce of confidence, if not more, as I did when I was drunk.

I rang in 2017 this year just like I had every year before, minus the alcohol. That is literally the ONLY thing that I can think of that was lacking from my celebrating NYE this year. I still put on a sparkly studded pencil skirt that I felt absolutely amazing in. I laughed at jokes. I took silly Snapchats. I still took photos with 6 other girls lined up in our cutest NYE outfits. I even did the traditional NYE cheers at midnight! But that oversized mason jar with the hot pink lid, surrounded in a sea of bubbling glasses of champagne showed me one thing loud and clear... That I can be the damn hot pink mason jar filled with colorful fruit in a sea of glasses full of alcohol. I can be the one breaking the norm. I can be filled with something that makes me different from the rest of the crowd, but still be a part of the crowd nonetheless. Raising that mason jar full of "party water" I was every bit of the lively, outgoing, fun young woman I always have been and always will be, no matter what comes my way... so CHEERS to that!

xx .

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