“What do you mean, you don’t drink?”
“You’re not drinking tonight, or ever?”
“Are you on a diet?”

These are common questions I get at parties and social gatherings when I tell someone I no longer drink alcohol: people get confused (understandably, considering my background), wrinkling their noses in disbelief. But the truth is, I had reached a point in my life where alcohol was my main priority – and my family and friends saw it as well. I was blacking out, I was mean to my kids and a terror for my husband, and I was losing or quitting jobs if they took too much time away from my drinking. I was hospitalized three times in two years for acute alcohol poisoning. Finally, after showing up at church drunk, my family staged an intervention and I spent a surreal ten days detoxing from decades of drinking. I haven’t touched the stuff for over a year now.

These are the facts of an alcoholic on the verge of self-destruction, and in The Sober Lush, Amanda Eyre Ward and Jardine Libaire share very similar stories of their own (which I personally love to read, knowing I’m not alone in my awful behavior and near death experiences). Their stories include blackouts and blowoffs and bowing out of responsibilities, and they form an almost tangible tie to those of us addicts who have decided to change our lives for the better.

The Sober Lush, however, is deliciously different in its approach to a life without alcohol: this book is a hedonist’s dream, complete with excellent writing, examples of how to shift your mindset and attitudes, and suggestions to how you can live an adventurous and fulfilling sober life.

In a society where a long day is rewarded by a glass (or four) of Chardonnay, cocktails after work are the norm, and “Mommy juice” is masqueraded as Gatorade, Ward and Libaire bring delightful and fun options to those of us who have cancelled the sauce but still want to join in the fun. The Sober Lush includes “consciousness experiments” such as arcade outings, volunteering, tea and tarot card readings and an invigorating soak in a zero-gravity float tank. Incense as a way to connect to another plane of experience, participating in revolutionary activities such as political marches, and lucid dreaming are just a few ways to step out of your comfort zone, meet new and like-minded people, and thrive in your sober life. The Sober Lush even includes recipes of eclectic drinks, baths and food. Tiny magic connections, the creative process, and ways to love and slow down are explored in, well, lush and lavish detail.

The Sober Lush offers you choices for change as well as a connection to two talented writers who have been through the same hell you have; if you’ve arrived at the finish line, if you’re breaking up with alcohol for good or just looking to lower you consumption, this book is not only a pleasure, it’s a necessity. I wish I’d had it when I first quit drinking, but having it now has honestly changed my life – especially knowing I’m not alone in my struggles with shame, honesty and regret. Ward and Libaire have taken a life choice that can be staggering and (feels like) damn near impossible and transformed it into a fresh, lush look at a life worth living, worth feeling – not something that needs alcohol to blunt the sharp edges. In short, this book is for everyone who wants a new way to live, love, and learn how to do right by themselves.

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