SobrieTea Party: An Interview with a Recovery Blogger

To continue our interview series with top recovery bloggers, we have Tawny Lara, from SobrieTea Party.

image of tawny, author of sobrietea party blogTawny has been blogging since she quit drinking in 2015 and believes “hitting rock bottom is not a prerequisite to recovery. You can begin your recovery journey at anytime.”

Tawny lives in New York City, is a journalist and writing instructor, and has produced and starred in an award-winning documentary about her recovery called Fixed Up. She also started Readings on Recovery, a reading series that aims to show that we are all recovering from something. The series gives New Yorkers the platform to share their adversity stories through personal essays, poetry, stand-up comedy, dance, or song.

We’ve asked Tawny to share some of her thoughts on sobriety, read on to see what she had to say.

Interview printed with permission

PR: What is your favorite part about being sober?

Tawny: Finally being awake and experiencing life. When I was using, I avoided reality as much as possible. In sobriety, it’s hard to do that. It’s both a blessing and a curse but I’m far happier now that I’m sober. I also like that my sobriety opened my eyes to the world of creating sober social events. I never thought people would be interested in even attending Readings on Recovery. Now the events have 40-50 attendees and I have a waiting list of people who want to read.

PR: How do therapy and yoga support your recovery journey?

Tawny: I’ve been seeing my therapist for two years now. She helps keep me accountable to the issues that I’m working through without being overbearing or pushy. On my way to therapy I’ll often feel overwhelmed, like I have sooooooooo much to get off my chest. Then I sit on her couch and as we chat, I realize that a lot of the “problems” floating around my head exist solely in my head. I spend a lot of time beating myself up for the past and stressing out about the future. I leave her office feeling refreshed. I actually look forward to therapy every week.

I have a love/hate relationship with yoga. I find that when I’m incredibly stressed and anxious, I avoid yoga and meditation. Those are the times I really need the balance that they give me. Once I’m in a yoga practice or sitting on the meditation cushion, I feel so much better. It’s just getting there that’s the hard part. Yoga has helped me connect with my spiritual side – a side that I’m still exploring. It also helps me remember that right now is all there is. That helps me take a break from the aforementioned past/future tripping that I do so often.

PR: What has been the most challenging part about remaining sober?

Tawny: The perpetual coming out. It never stops. When I meet new people, they assume I drink unless I tell them otherwise. Then I tell them I’m sober and it becomes this big thing of “Oh my uncle just got out of rehab” or “This is just my second drink. I don’t drink that much”. Dude, I don’t care. Do you, boo! As soon as I tell someone that I’m sober it’s like I immediately become a mirror for them and they treat me like a therapist. They feel the need to explain their life to me while we’re at a party and I just wanna chill.

PR: What are some things you do to overcome those challenges?

Tawny: It’s a tough balance because I’ve turned my recovery into my career. I’m still trying to figure out the balance of wanting to be approachable so people can ask reasonable questions, but I also don’t want to just be seen as The Sober Chick. I’ve learned to tell people that I’m meeting for the first time that I’m a non-fiction writer and journalist. They’re both true and much easier to discuss when wanting to keep conversations light. If they ask anything more, I’ll talk about being a freelance music journalist. Then the conversation often turns into bonding over music or trading music trivia and I’m super into that.

PR: What would you like to share with others who are just starting their journey?

Tawny: Stop comparing your relationship to drugs/alcohol to other people’s relationship to drugs/alcohol. When we compare our stories and ourselves to others, we miss out on seeing things for what they are. This was a HUGE part of why I fought sobriety for so long. I’d tell myself things like “I don’t drink as much as she drinks” or “I don’t drink daily, so I don’t have a problem”. If you spend time questioning whether or not you have a drinking problem, you probably do. That doesn’t mean you have to stop drinking forever. Maybe you just need to become more mindful of when you drink and why. Abstinence works for me, but it isn’t for everyone. Recovery is nonlinear. Allow your journey to be as unique as you are.

Our sincerest gratitude to Tawny for sharing a piece of her story with us. We thank Tawny for her bravery in choosing the life she truly wants and dedicating that life to establishing creative outlets for those in recovery to turn.