I wanted to first off say a major thank you to those that reached out via DM this past week regarding my no alcohol fashion week. The responses were so overwhelming and I wanted to thank you all for that. For those that may be new to this conversation, I decided to go about this past seasons fashion week (which is a total of 2 weeks) without any alcohol. I was nervous to share this more personal story because in reality 2 weeks is not that much and I was worried about getting backlash from those that thought the whole thing was “silly”.. for lack of a better term.
The reasons why I decided to share this story is because fashion week is almost a MECCA of alcohol. There is alcohol at every event no matter if it is 7am, 8am or 9am, it will be there. It can be extremely overwhelming for those that don’t drink or don’t want to drink to have that much alcohol surrounding them at all times. Personally the past few fashion weeks I have suffered extreme anxiety from the mixtures of hangovers caused by alcohol and our busy schedules. I have had to miss events or shows because I wasn’t feeling well and this year I just didn’t want to put myself in that terrible situation. I wanted to set a goal and achieve it. I will be the first to say it wasn’t easy. Every day/night got easier but there were definitely times I was bummed to miss out on a champagne toast or glass of wine at the end of the night. However there were many times I was so happy because of it. I never felt that extreme exhaustion I had felt in the past, which was caused by staying out too late and not getting a great amount of sleep. I was eating healthier and I overall just felt better both physically and mentally. I felt present, aware and in control which are all things that make me the person that I am.
I do want to preface this post by saying that this was a goal that I achieved that I am very proud of but I DO still like to drink! I think this week taught me that I don’t HAVE to drink to enjoy myself with friends. I have the power and control to say no and at my current age of 26 I definitely want to make a positive change to the way I see and consume alcohol. In no way do I think what I am going to write here is the correct or right answer, it is just how this past week impacted me in a way to live a healthier life go forward. Which will include alcohol just in a better way!!
Something that was very difficult for me to come to terms with was when, a year ago, I quit my corporate job and then was in control of my own schedule. When I worked at Macy’s I used to go to blog events at night and think to myself how cool it would be if I did this full time and could actually drink or go out with friends afterwards. When that time finally came and I didn’t work a typical 9-5 anymore, I would take advantage of those events and drink or go out with friends on a Tuesday. I learned pretty freaking quickly how not worth it, it was. It was honestly worse being hungover when working for yourself then it was when having to go into an office. That being because I was now in control of my own companies success, if I had to miss a meeting, that was all on me and could end up jeopardizing everything I had worked for. Previously I was working for a major company so if I was lazy or slacked off one day (WHICH DIDN’T HAPPEN OFTEN lol) in the grand scheme of things it didn’t really matter. The company was still going to run.
All of these little moments in this past year of working for myself really led up to the decision of not drinking during fashion week. As well as making that change in my everyday life to better my relationship with alcohol as I go forward through my mid 20’s! All in all learning that sometimes it is just not worth it. I think at some point we will all go through our own journeys pertaining to this subject and it just so happens I am living mine out loud. This is definitely not the easiest subject to talk about because I am opening myself up to judgement and criticism but if one other person can relate to it I know then I know I am doing my job.
Now to get to a few of your questions! I will do my best to not be redundant and answer them in the easiest way possible. I hope these answers help you all in your journeys!
QUICK NOTE: For those that DM’d me this past week with your stories of alcohol and how it impacts you I wanted to first mention that I felt there was a common theme between them all: the age of mid 20’s – early 30’s. This age is never easy as we are stuck in a limbo of still feeling and being young, wanting to go out at night, yet feeling old enough that we get terrible hangovers and anxiety that is almost crippling. Many messages conveyed that they are trying to uncover that middle ground of being social yet not over doing it or drinking too much because of their surroundings. I think this is extremely common in our age group and not something that anyone should be ashamed of if they are currently struggling. It can be hard!! I found from this past week that even taking one night of going out with friends and saying – “hey I don’t want to drink tonight,” can completely change the way you view alcohol. Retraining your mind that you have the power to say no and that you are always in control.
QUESTION: What prompted you to not drink during fashion week? How can we enjoy it but also be aware of its effects?
ANSWER: The first part I answered above! In terms of the second part I would say is to be very mindful of how much you are drinking. This past weekend (after not drinking for 2 weeks) Kyle and I went on a weekend trip to his college town of Columbia for college game day vs Alabama. Going into the trip I was really nervous because of the amount of alcohol present in college. I made a very conscious decision that I needed to be aware and in control of what I was drinking and how much. After every drink I tried to have a water or soda water to stay hydrated, I was also very diligent on eating! I made sure to have breakfast, lunch and dinner which is something people will skip out on when drinking or planning on drinking. Lastly I think you have to be very aware on when its time to stop. This can be tough for people but each night when I knew I was at my limit I would switch to soda water and lime, which looks like a vodka soda (great trick I might add, to avoid questioning!).
QUESTION: *This I got multiple times so I am going to condense into one question* How do you deal with peer pressure or judgement from friends when you don’t drink?
ANSWER: This one is tough and something that sucks we have to deal with. My freshman year roommate actually DM’d me saying how crazy it was that alcohol is the one drug in the world that people will actually get mad at you for not doing. Which is true. I have definitely been on the other side of it as well and wondered why someone wasn’t drinking. However I think it is so so important at this age and any age to be understanding of that persons decision to not drink. We never truly know why that person may not be or what may have happened to that person to cause them to make that decision. The best thing we can do is be supportive.
In terms of dealing with that judgement I had to learn quickly that I couldn’t let it effect me. If a close friend wasn’t going to be supportive then what kind of friend were they really. I also learned that when I would tell someone close to me that I wasn’t going to drink for this period of time, sometimes that friend would want to join me or do it too. Which always helped! Lastly if you are in a situation where you aren’t drinking, with people you may not know that well there are many tricks that help the conversation never to be brought up. That way you never have to explain yourself and every one thinks you are drinking just as much as the next person is. Tricks that helped me were ordering club soda’s and limes (which look identical to vodka sodas – no one will know the difference), drinking out of solo cups at pregames because you can literally put whatever you want in there and no one will know, and ordering mocktails at the bar!
QUESTION: How to be a good friend to someone that is becoming sober in their early 20s?
ANSWER: This is a hard question and something that I have never had to deal with personally. I think the #1 thing is to be supportive of them and always make sure to be a good communicator with that person. I also feel like it is important to still include that person in your life and activities that you are doing no matter if they sober activities or drinking activities. Excluding someone because of a lifestyle decision they have made could definitely hurt that friendship. Most of all it is just ensuring that they are comfortable and if they are not, there are never any hard feelings if that person wants to leave that situation.
QUESTION: Do you feel obligated to get a drink when out a bar/club?
ANSWER: I don’t know if I have ever felt “obligated”, but there have been times where I have definitely felt pressured. If I am going into a bar with friends on a girls night, or a date night with Kyle I have generally already made up my mind on if I had wanted to drink or not that night. I think if I had made that decision of not wanting to drink prior to putting myself in that situation it would be a different story. We are always in control of these decisions and we should never let anyone else make us feel obligated or pressured. If that feeling arises then it is always okay to take yourself out of that situation. In the long run does that night truly mean that much?
If you have any further questions please let me know in the comment section below or by DM’ing me @courtandkelly 😉