How to be sober in a commune

These are things I want to share with you, upon my return from the commune. The owners may call it a artist residency, but it had some strong commune vibes in the best, non-culty way. What I learned could be applied to any trip, especially one where you’re meeting new people.

A little background on the residency. At the end of May, I flew out to California and stayed in a little house in the foothills outside Sacramento. My friends are turning some small buildings and land into a magical thing called the Creative Living Center. Me and 8 other people spent the week building and cleaning and weeding and making art together. I was the only sober weirdo. Spoiler alert: nobody thought it was weird.

Here’s what I got out of that experience, as it applies to sobriety.

  1. Nobody cares as much as you do that you’re not drinking. ESPECIALLY if you’re not making a big deal of it. There was drinking nearly every night after dinner, or with dinner, so it didn’t take long before I felt the need to mention it. Literally no response other than “OK cool” and then moving on. Not that it’s not important to me, but I appreciate that it’s a non-issue to most people. I question the motives of those for whom it is a big deal that you’re not drinking.
  2. It’s OK to walk away for a bit if it gets weird. There was a moment one night where everyone was sippin on whiskey and the smell of whiskey kind of smacked me in the face. Like in a good way, aka a dangerous way aka I had to get OUT. But guess what? I said “OK goodnight!” and everyone said “OK goodnight!” and then I went to my room. I texted a sober friend, and was like “whoa, whiskey smells had me feeling weird” and he was like “yes, for sure” and then I went to sleep. The next day, nobody was like “hey loser, you went to bed earlier, wtf”. They said “good morning”. Moving on.
  3. Waking up without a hangover, before everyone else, is the BEST. Yum. I like to just sit with my tea (or the bizarre and delicious dandelion coffee…more commune vibes) and let all the goodness of not being hungover wash over me. It feels like fresh air and clear water behind my eyes, if that make sense.
  4. Not drinking at the airport and on your flight will have you feeling like less of a dirtbag when you land. I had a red-eye coming home, and all that travel would have called for airport drinks in the past. While I did not feel like a shiny star when I landed, I did not feel dead, which is how I feel when I drink of trips. Hallelujah.
  5. I remember everything. For better or worse, right? On amazing trips where you meet beautiful people and create magic though, you want to remember every drop. Thanks sobriety. Oh, extra bonus, anything weird I said is just because I’m me, and not because I’m drunk. No 4 a.m anxiety about things I said. The best.

That’s it- just a little note to remind you that I still think about my sobriety all the time, and it still feels hard sometimes, but I truly believe it’s letting me be my brightest self, and I never want to give that up.


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