4 Ways Herbs Can Support Your Sobriety Journey
When I first moved to New York after growing up in New England, I felt isolated and alone.Alcohol has been sold to us as the great connection elixir, and I bought in.
. But what if everything we’ve been promised booze will do is a lie? With drinking up 14% since the pandemic started (while heavy drinking days increased 41% for women), there is no better time to consider staying dry beyond January. It took me years of attempting to moderate my drinking before I realized that alcohol wasn’t the magic potion I was looking for. I was often up at night scrolling my phone in bed, feeling jealous and lonely. Having grown up around heavy drinking, as so many of us do, I saw alcohol use as a “normal” (read: normalized) way to celebrate, cope with stress, or grieve. Working in the foodservice industry over the years only exacerbated this tendency to attempt to regulate my nervous system with alcohol, and identify with drinking culture as a way of life. It was the supposed key to social acceptance. But then why did I feel more disconnected than ever? I had strongly held beliefs and gifts to share–yet I was afraid to participate in activism or create an offering to my community. Alcohol had dulled my intuition, ability to trust, and failed time and time again to fulfill its promises of a joy-filled life. I found that connection within myself, with sober peer support, and with plants. Reconnecting with nature, learning about my great-grandmother’s work with plants, and studying herbalism formally at Arbor Vitae School of Traditional Herbalism is what inspired me to commit to my healing path. Now, I work as a recovery coach at Tempest, a modern online recovery program, and as a holistic sobriety coach to private clients who are looking to infuse their recovery with herbal allies. Both of these supports are available to those who are sober or questioning their relationship to alcohol–whether you are a gray area drinker, identify as an alcoholic, have a diagnosis of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), or not! So, how can herbs support you in recovery, sobriety, and self-care along the way? These are just a few of the ways herbs can be a part of your sobriety journey! There are so many ways plants have been used medicinally, spiritually, and energetically across cultures and history. Just as we do not exist in isolation without the context of identity, societal norms/hierarchies, neither do plants and humans’ relationships to them. Part of creating a holistic recovery path is returning to the awareness of our place in the web of life. As the plants give so much to us, make sure to offer gratitude, acknowledgment, and nourishment to the plants, the land, and those who have tended it. Your Weekly Dose Of Wellness Receive the latest savings, events, herbal education and 10% Off your first purchase. If you’d like to learn more about holistic recovery, follow along with my blog, @soberspirals on IG, or download my free PDF guide, “5 Herbs for Early Sobriety.” You can also join me at the free event Herbal Allies for Sobriety on March 15th to learn more. Please note! Some people who use alcohol are not able to safely quit drinking without medical intervention/supervision, so please consult your physician before removing alcohol. I also recommend working with a qualified herbalist and always looking for any contraindications, safety concerns, and dosage information before using any new herb or supplement. Check-in with your healthcare provider, especially if you are nursing, pregnant, or on any medications.
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you believe you have a medical condition, consult with a physician. Take herbs as directed on the labels and contact your healthcare provider and discontinue use if you notice adverse reactions. Oxner, Reese. “Americans Are Drinking 14% More Often During Pandemic, Study Finds.” 1 NPR, NPR, 5 Oct. 2020, www.npr.org/2020/10/05/920437811/americans-are-drinking-14-more often-during-pandemic-study-finds. Park, Jolene. “Gray Area Drinking: 5 Signs You Might Be a Gray Area Drinker.” The Temper, 17 Sept. 2019, www.thetemper.com/gray-area-drinking/. “Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2020, www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/ brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-alcohol-use-disorder. “Immerse Yourself in a Forest for Better Health – NYS Dept. Of Environmental Conservation.” Dec.Ny.Gov, https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/90720.html. Accessed 28 Jan. 2021. Smith, Joshua P, and Carrie L Randall. “Anxiety and Alcohol Use Disorders: Comorbidity and Treatment Considerations.” Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3860396/. Ross, Julia. “The Four False Mood Types.” Julia Ross’ Cures, 12 May 2015, www.juliarosscures.com/the-four-false-mood-types/. Ana Lygia is a clinical herbalist, and works as a recovery coach with Tempest. A graduate of the three-year certificate program at ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism in New York, Ana creates curriculum and individualized protocols for everyone to bring the magic of herbalism into their lives, with tools rooted in daily self-care through her business, June Eye Herbals. She also offers 1:1 holistic sobriety coaching for gray area drinkers who are looking to infuse their recovery with herbal allies (Sober Spirals Coaching). Her maternal great-grandmother, Adele Dawson, was an herbalist, gardener, artist, and activist. Ana values drawing on her ancestral lineage (Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Polish, French, Jewish), as well as her grandmother’s legacy, to support community wellness. She has a particular interest in soothing imbalances of the heart–including grief, addictions, anxiety, and the repercussions of chronic stress. She has been alcohol-free since 2018, and incorporates the joys of a sober life into her work. Ana lives in Brooklyn where she enjoys botanizing in Prospect Park, thrifting, and building altars.
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