How did your sober journey begin?
My last drink was on November 29, 2015. I joined co-workers for after-work drinks where I complained about not having enough time to write. While I enjoyed my Sunday Funday beer buzz, I also became hyper-aware of the fact that I had just spent four hours in a pub. The next morning, I woke up feeling groggy. I walked to the bathroom to look at myself in the mirror for that as-seen-on-TV “I’m about to stop drinking” gaze. Bags under my eyes. Face puffy. Belly bloated. Head cloudy. The previous 15 years filled with chugging Jack Daniels from the bottle, countless blackouts, heartbreak, drunk driving, drunk sex, and getting expelled from high school flashed before me. This is the first time I considered that maybe I want to drink less. At that moment, I decided to not drink for a week. That week turned into two weeks. Then I made a decision that changed the trajectory of my life: I’ll be 30 next week. I’ll celebrate by not drinking for the duration of my thirtieth year. My gonzo journalist instincts took it a step further by documenting the entire experience, in real-time, in a blog that I named SobrieTea Party. It's now been 6+ years of sobriety and a successful writing career!
How has dating sober enhanced your relationships? And friendships?
What would you say are the benefits of sober sex?
Leaving booze out of the bedroom has a lot of physical benefits. Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it prevents certain nerve impulses from firing. This can hinder brain function which dulls all of our senses. The science journal, Sexual Medicine, explores alcohol’s effect on the female body. The study reveals that 57% of cisgender women who self-reported their alcohol consumption experience sexual dysfunction. Genital response decreases with each drink making the already elusive female orgasm even harder to achieve. Alcohol also causes dehydration. *All* body parts can be affected by this. When it “comes” to cisgender males (pun intended!), alcohol’s effects are more visible. Erectile dysfunction and prolonged time to ejaculation are often caused by binge drinking. While alcohol lowers inhibitions and increases blood flow, it actually prevents this blood from staying where it needs to stay... This means that while psychologically, you may be up for something adventurous in the bedroom, you may not be “up” for it physically.
How have you found like-minded sober individuals?
Early sobriety is filled with *lots* of free time and extra money that I used to spend on booze. I utilized both by embracing my creativity: crafting, taking classes, joining a walking group. Plus this is a great way to connect with like-minded folks. It doesn't matter if they're "sober" because we met over a shared organic interest.
How has having tasty and functional non-alcoholic beverages helped you in social situations?
I'm blown away by the growing NA drink scene! It's fun to have these cool, new drinks instead of just seltzer with lime. It's also a cool conversation starter!
What are you favourite herbal ingredients/aphrodisiacs?
Schisandra Berry - this berry is said to regulate stress levels, balance hormones, and increase sexual performance. Give this aphrodisiac a go in our Livener.
Ashwagandha - this root has been used traditionally to enhance orgasm, and help with endurance. Try out this aphrodisiac in our Nightcap.
Damiana - this beautiful flower has been used in Mesoamerica for centuries for its purported abilities to increase sex drive, help with impotence, and stimulate orgasm. Try out this sexy herb in our Social Elixir.
Do you have any tips for anyone who is maybe starting out on their own sober journey or who is sober curious?
One day at a time. Always. And don't compare your relationship with alcohol to someone else's. Only you know if a behavior is problematic or not.
Anything else you want to share?
Liquid Courage is BS! You don't need alcohol to have fun in the bedroom or on a date. You just need to reconnect with your body and mind then get clear on what you really want. Then, of course, have the confidence to ask for it.
Follow Tawny Lara on Instagram @tawnymlara and check out her blog @ www.sobrieteaparty.com