The decision to be sober is one that is deeply personal and deeply connected to your physical, emotional and mental well-being. And, in a culture that continuously centers and glorifies alcohol and substance-use activities (even more-so in the quarantine years) and often makes sobriety out to be a wellness trend, it takes work.
Celebrating the milestones that come for sobriety — the weeks, months and years — is a powerful way to maintain it and help others see there are healthy and joyful ways to live without alcohol, if that’s the path that’s right for you. Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle actress Patricia Heaton gave fans a glimpse of that joy over the weekend, telling fans on Instagram that she’s been sober for three years now.
“I have lived a life beyond my wildest dreams and I’m so grateful,” Heaton said in the video, smiling as she finished up a long walk. “Life wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter by any stretch. I’ve worked hard, skinned my knees, cried my eyes out, regretted, doubted, and second-guessed myself along the way.”
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Like many people who find their way to sober living, Heaton says finding ways to feel more connected to this lifestyle change (in her case, through her religion) helped her stay the course and change her perspective and she encouraged fans to reach out if they are considering making a similar change: “Message me if you are thinking about doing that and if you are doing that now and you need some encouragement or anything at all.”
“I’ve gone up and down many different paths,” Heaton told People. “Looking back, I see how the seed for my second act was clearly planted in my first act.” (Her book, Your Second Act tackles the same themes: reinvention, empty nest life and exploring all the ways you can embrace the life you want during those transitional times.)
Though stigma around substance use still remains, celebrities and public figures sharing their experiences with addiction and their decisions to pursue sobriety help the general public see paths to a healthier and happier relationship with alcohol.
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Before you go, check out these powerful quotes to inspire healthy attitudes about food and bodies: