Day 1,107: YJ + TY KU = WTFF

There are two things in life I love: yoga, and being judgmental. So when Laura and Holly alerted me to Yoga Journal’s big new heavily promoted advertorial partnership with TY KU Sake, aka “The Official Drink of Apres Yoga,” I simply could not wait to learn more. Let’s take a look, shall we?

First, here’s the image on the TY KU Sake landing page:


Friends, let’s get straight to the heart of things:

What the fuck is going on here? Why are these two women hanging out on a fake stoop that is clearly indoors? Are they on Sesame Street? If so, where’s Gordon? Where’s Maria?

Why is the one on the left smiling blankly into space, and why is her leg Photoshopped? I know what pose this is supposed to be. I’ve done it. I did a lame facsimile of it today as blog research. And I still can’t work out how her knee is facing forward unless it has been removed from her body.

And can we talk about the smug-looking chick on the right? Specifically: what the hell is she wearing? Is it by chance an acid-washed, elastic-cuffed denim jumpsuit? It is, isn’t it? And those are high-top moccasins on her feet, aren’t they? It’s okay, you can tell me.

Everything about the denim-jumpsuit girl and her smirk is freaking me out. I feel sure she is a malevolent spirit that rose from the ashes of those ads about Yoplait being shoe-shopping good.

Finally–and you’ll have to take my word for this because I cropped the photo badly–there is a loaf of French bread in the tote bag behind the disembodied pink leg. Just in case you needed one more signifier that these are the classiest, most urbane yoga ladies of 1994: they have stick bread with them, okay? They are practically named Audrey and Tautou.

Whew. So now that I’ve got all that off my chest, let’s talk about the six reasons YJ and TY KU say that sake is the perfect post-yoga beverage…oh shoot. There was one other subtle thing about the photo that bugged me and now it’s slipped my mind what it…oh wait, I remember now. It was the RANDOM BASSET HOUND on the top step. He doesn’t even seem like he’s with the yoga women–maybe he’s the landlord? And is this really the best shot of him they could get? “Oh man, Mr. Furley licked his own nose again.” “Fuck it, we’re losing the fake daylight. It’s a wrap.”

Anyway. Here are the six reasons YJ and and TY KU think you should drink this 20% ABV stuff after practice:

  1. It may help reduce stress and allow you to ‘live in the moment.’ And god knows you’ll need that, after a yoga class aimed at building tension and encouraging you to obsess over past mistakes and make wild projections about the future.
  2. It’s heart-healthy.  “We know a small amount of alcohol can be beneficial when drank (sic) in moderation.” Oh Jesus, it’s resveratrol again, right? The compound that will make us all live forever when consumed in quantities of wine way, way smaller than anyone who gets self-righteous about resveratrol actually drinks. Okay, yes, you’d better make sure you get your life-saving resveratrol, yogis. And if you can get it in a mind-altering substance (instead of grape juice) right after a sweaty and possibly dehydrating workout, all the better.
  3. Trade wine for sake and you may sleep better because sake contains less sugar and fewer byproducts of fermentation vs. wine. So, basically, it sucks for your body less than wine. Might as well aim high, right? Enjoy that marginally better sleep.
  4. Sake is sans sulfites and tannins. “We suck less than wine! Om shanti!” part 2. Though really, all I can think of is how I used to blame red-wine hangovers on the tannins vs. the, you know, FIVE GLASSES FULL OF ALCOHOL I drank the night before.
  5. Sake may make your skin healthier. “If sipping sake makes you less stressed, it may also have an impact on your skin. A happier person tends to have a healthier glow.” Well, gosh, who could argue with the straight-up hard science they just laid down right there? And again, after that yoga class you are going to need something to lift you up, sister-friend.
  6. Sake is culturally portion-controlled because the serving size is 3 ounces, vs. 5 ounces for wine. Maybe I’m not qualified to comment on this one, given that my understanding of the alcohol ‘serving size’ concept was, let’s say, philosophical at best. But I have visited Japan a few times, and at least from my limited Western point of view, “cultural portion control” did not seem to be a super big thing when it came to booze.

Anyway, Yoga Journal says drink up, yogis!  I mean, sure, excessive alcohol use causes 10% of deaths among working-age US adults. And sure, moderate use can slide into excessive use because alcohol is, you know, a goddamn addictive substance that changes how your brain works. But that’s about other people, not you. You’re so healthy. You’re so mindful. Those awful things aren’t going to happen to you.

I was healthy. I was mindful. Those awful things weren’t going to happen to me either.

So kanpai and namaste! After all, TY KU Sake is ‘happy hour for the chakras.’ And if you’re saying “Wait, I thought yoga was happy hour for the chakras,” well, I guess you’re not quite as big a sucker as they’d like you to be. Work on that, huh?

Day 1,085: Twenty Questions

I saw spiked seltzer at Whole Foods last week: yes, water with booze in it. It reminded me for some reason of those online alcoholism self-assessments. Imagine if one of the questions were “Do you buy alcoholic water?” If you answered yes, you’d skip all the remaining questions and go straight to a page that said “YOU IN DANGER, GIRL.”

I don’t know about you, but I always found those quizzes pretty easy to game because they were so focused on big external consequences: jail, divorce, job loss. My drinking never led to those things–just, you know, a blunted heart and shrinking life, which in certain circles just look like adulthood. My own Cosmo Quiz for Progressive, Life-Ruining Addiction would have looked something more like this:

  1. Do you drink every day?  Y/N
  2. Do you frequently have more than 1 drink in a day? Y/N
  3. “One drink” is a) 5 liquid ounces; b) 5 liquid ounces plus unlimited top-ups made when no one else is looking; c) it depends on how victimized I feel that day; d) I drink to escape bourgeois concepts like ‘ounces’ and ‘measurement.’ God.
  4. Has your drinking led to anyone seeing you naked who maybe kind of shouldn’t have?
  5. When I say ‘the five a.m. fear’ do you know what I mean?
  6. Did you have the five a.m. fear today? Will you have it tomorrow?
  7. Are you overly proud of times you don’t drink? Before five, at business dinners, when you have the flu? Do you feel pretty special about having this one limit?
  8. How tired are you? Not in numbers. In words.
  9. Do you lie to your doctor about how much you drink? Your trainer? Your hairdresser?
  10. Select one: The sexual choices I make while drinking are more/less dubious than the already arguably dubious sexual choices I make while sober.
  11. Has anyone ever suggested you cut down on drinking? a) Yes; b) Yes but only assholes; c) No, because I’m lying to everyone; d) Why? What have you heard? Who is talking about me?
  12. T/F: I seek out cinemas with bar service to relieve the terrible stress of watching a movie in a comfortable seat in an air-conditioned room.
  13. T/F: I feel angry when people leave wine in their glasses.
  14. How scared are you? Not in words. In numbers.
  15. T/F: Drinking as much as I want whenever I want is the primary way I express my feminism.
  16. T/F: I tried to quit drinking once and failed.
  17. Did you fall down the first time you ever tried to walk? Y/N If yes, are you still lying on the floor in your little overalls and saddle shoes, or did you eventually haul your ass up and try again?
  18. Fill in the blank: One year from today _____________.
  19. Fill in the blank: Five years from today ____________.
  20. Cat got your tongue? It’s okay. This quiz is not timed. Those blanks aren’t going anywhere.

Day 860: Want Not

I’ve published a new essay over on Medium. It’s about the many things that did not get me sober (hypnosis, meditation, sex, making an otter out of felt, etc.–you know, the standard stuff) and the one thing that did (spoiler alert: quitting drinking). It also contains a blow-by-blow description of my Night #1, which might be helpful or reassuring for those of you still approaching your own first sober nights. It’s the kind of thing I would like to have read back then, so I wrote it. Here it is:

The Otter of Sobriety

I come off sounding more or less like a lunatic in this essay, so if nothing else you will probably find it entertaining. If you do find it funny/helpful/illuminating/trenchant/stubborn/fibrous or any other adjective, and you click the little green heart beneath it, that will count as a recommendation and help surface it to other readers. So if you wanted to just click the heart, that would be much appreciated. CLICK IT, DAMMIT.

I hope everyone (even the non-clickers!) is happy and well and enjoying being robbed of a hour of daylight. XO, Kristi

Day 831: Let Me Direct Your Attention Over Here…

Hey sober party people, non-party people, and people who just want to put in a quick appearance at the party so they get credit for showing up and then make a beeline for the car–

I’ve published an essay on Medium about the loneliness of early sobriety, the importance of people who get it, and how going to my first AA meeting nearly gave me a heart attack. Some of it was inspired by blog entries I wrote here, but with significant expansion and reshaping–in other words, having read the blog entries does not excuse you from checking out the essay. Nope.

Here it is. I hope you’ll let me know what you think! XO, Kristi

Day 131: Vacation (All I Ever Wanted)

It’s the last night of my first sober vacation in about 20 years. We booked this week in the red rocks of Arizona a few weeks before I joined Team 100, and in my first days of sobriety it was absolutely unimaginable that I wouldn’t be drinking again by now, since my 100 days of sobriety would have magically taught me to be a moderate drinker with no alcohol issues whatsoever (insert eye roll from my 131 days older and wiser self).

Then, as my sobriety solidified and the trip approached, I realized I was excited about the idea of a sober vacation. No hangovers, not even low-grade ones. No wine dehydration to compound the plane trip and the dry climate. No fuzzily wasted evenings. More time and focus to read, which to me is kind of the whole point of a vacation anyway. I even worried that I was setting my expectations too high and would have a rude awakening. 

Well, I’m happy to report that my expectations were not that out of whack after all. Yes, there were a few moments when it felt weird to go against my long-ingrained vacation habits and not have a drink. And the fact that even a fancy spa resort like this one doesn’t have creative mocktails on offer still peeves me to a sightly disturbing degree. And riding the wave of existential dread I always seem to get on the last day of a trip was rougher without a glass of wine to numb me out. But otherwise, being sober ranged from no big deal to a total delight. I woke up clear-headed and rested. I lay around by the pool and read (Louise Erdrich’s THE ROUND HOUSE and Donna Tartt’s THE GOLDFINCH, if you’re curious). I ran (not so easy at 4500 feet when you live at sea level!) and did yoga and cracked up over stuff with my husband. I hiked miles through the canyons of Sedona, where  I saw mule deer and javelinas and bunnies and even–be still my heart–a bear, who fortunately did not see me back. It was a full-feeling vacation–I had time to be a slug and to get out and do stuff, because I wasn’t sapping my energy with booze every night and having to dig myself out in the mornings. All in all, it was pretty awesome and I’m eager to take another sober vacation soon. Like, as soon as possible. 

Day 107

Day 107

What’s that in the photo, you ask? Oh gosh, that’s just my Wool-Felted Sea Otter Kit that I came across while cleaning out a closet yesterday. I bought this potential otter two years ago at a hipster craft shop. It was a rainy, leafy fall day and I’d decided Become a Crafter. Any kind of crafter really–I just needed something to keep my hands busy so I’d get out of the habit of drinking, because I really, really wanted to break that habit and I just knew becoming an experienced felter would soothe me right out of even *wanting* to drink. So I considered all my options, chose this guy because he was rated Easy/Ages 10 and Up, and popped back into my car feeling full of optimism.

So basically I thought this otter would make me quit drinking. Only of course I never even gave him a chance to–in fact, I saw only yesterday that I’d bought the wrong kind of foam pad to go with the kit. So he’s still just Corriedale wool (I have no idea what that is, but it’s on the box and I like the sound of it), beads, and ribbon.

You know what finally did help me quit drinking? *Quitting drinking* helped me to quit drinking. So many schemes and hopes and hypnotherapy sessions under the bridge, and who knows, maybe they all moved me further toward where I needed to go. But eventually I had to just *do* the thing I was most afraid of. And it was okay. Even when it was (is) hard, it was okay. Sitting in that closet yesterday, first I laughed, and then I felt so much compassion for the woman in that craft shop in fall 2011, looking for ways to save herself. Then I said a little prayer that next time I’m in a hard situation that demands action, I’ll remember how bravery can be the most direct route to a better place. And then, yeah, I laughed again.

Day 107. I was afraid of the days after 100, but they are going so fast. Do you guys think I should (try to) make the Sobriety Otter?