The Author of Sobriety's Greatest Memoir Comes Clean - Page 2

By Anna David 10/14/11
Sobriety finally got the memoir it deserved with the release of Sacha Z. Scoblic's Unwasted. Here, she talks about spirituality, giving up drinking buddies, and how to combat temptations on the road.
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The funny face of sobriety

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I do not avoid vanilla or mouthwash. In fact, I relish mouthwash, the kind that hurts so bad you know it’s really working. But then I care a lot about oral hygiene. And cookies. My line in the sand is somewhere between vanilla and Grand Marnier fondue. All of this stuff is on a spectrum, right? I mean, I won’t judge someone for being anxious about Listerine and I expect not to be judged for being a prude when it comes to coq au vin. (Actually, go ahead and judge. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling not to care too intensely about what strangers think of you?)

What’s your relationship with spirituality/a Higher Power now?

It’s a work in progress. Six years sober and I still think of the group as my higher power. I actually resent it when I hear someone tell a newcomer, “The group can be your higher power if you’re not down with the whole God thing yet.” As though “the group” is a starter kit or temporary placeholder until said newbie finally attains true enlightenment. 

Look, I make crazy-ass decisions alone (I should totally get a Vespa…). But when I ask for advice from a few people, I make far better decisions (You should get a baby stroller for your BABY dumb ass…). And after a meeting, we put away chairs faster together than I would alone. The group, to my mind, is a higher power and a higher force than me alone in every way. What other metaphysical realities may lurk throughout the universe, I can only imagine (and I like imagining them! But I don’t have faith in them). Still, if you told me six years ago that I would enjoy saying a prayer at the end of every day (usually a prayer of gratitude for all that I have, spoken to my ceiling as I lay in bed), I would have laughed and kicked you in the shins. So spirituality creeps up on me here and there. But, you know what? So does science. 

You write in the book about how your sobriety is the most challenged when you’re on business trips. What would you recommend for newly sober people who need to travel for work?

Yes! I find business trips—without my family, when I am in an airport or on an airplane, only to spend the night in an anonymous hotel room, while I spend awkward off-hours with colleagues—to be a huge relapse risk. Here are my tried and true tips:

1.Call ahead to the hotel and ask them to remove the mini-bar. They totally do this all the time.

2.Come out to one trustworthy colleague—or hell, do like I do and just tell the whole damn world (that’s worked out a lot better for me than just telling one person). Either way, you’ll feel accountable; you at least will not drink around that colleague. It’s like an insurance policy on your sobriety. 

3.Put someone sober back home on speed dial. Check in once a day even if it’s just a text saying, “So far, so good.” (I’m terrible at this step.)

4.Eat! Hey, it’s a business trip, chances are you will be tired, you will be lonely, you will be angry, annoyed, and pissy. But goddamn it, you don’t have starve. Screw the diet. Pack snacks. Order like the company is paying for it, because hello they are, and take pleasure in your food. (I am excellent at this step.)

Anna David is the Executive Editor at The Fix and the author of the books Party Girl, Bought, Reality Matters, and Falling For Me. She also interviewed Tom Sizemore and Steve-O for The Fix.

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