Our Stories: Laura


Drinking more than you want to is just about the most common experience a drinker can have. You are not alone in questioning alcohol and there is so much power in finding another way.

I have yet to meet someone who quit drinking who didn’t completely up-level their life. Read and see.

This series shares stories of strong-ass women (and men!) who decided to stop settling for hangovers and mediocrity and discovered their best selves through an alcohol-free lifestyle. They inspire a whole new generation of people to know that you don’t have to drink to be “normal” or fit in. Why not be exceptional instead?

laura from Mantras and mocktails

Laura Rees is a meditation teacher, writer, and voice behind Mantras and Mocktails. She used to feel trapped in an endless cycle, wanting to drink but not drink as much as she was. Not feeling like an “alcoholic” but not feeling healthy either. Wanting to cut back but not being able to imagine life without booze. Everything changed for Laura once she changed her mindset and started to believe that life without drinking was way better than this endless cycle. And she’s never been happier. Read her full story.

laura web smaller.jpg

Laura’s story

For so much of my adult life, I really celebrated drinking. I loved wine tastings, distillery tours, and craft beer flights. I loved happy hours and wedding cocktails and the Friday beer cart at work. Lots of times [read: most of the time] I drank too much.

Feeling like garbage the next day sucked, but that was just part of living. It was so normal, you know? It felt like everyone was getting drinks and staying out too late. That’s how it went.

Then, in 2016, circumstances came together that tipped my drinking from a problem I didn’t realize I had, to a problem I was painfully aware of: I worked a job that wasn’t a fit for me and I worked it from home.

Because of the job stress, my drinking spiked to an every night kind of thing, and because I worked from home, I could hide how awful I looked and felt the next day. To be frank, I was a total disaster. Instead of helping me cope, drinking was making me angry, depressed, unfocused, and slow.

I spent a lot of time that year trying to figure out whether I was an “alcoholic.” I mean, I agonized over it. Eventually I realized it didn’t matter whether I was one or not. What mattered was that I thought my drinking was a problem, so I made the decision to quit. It was a nine-month process filled with meditation and restarting and so many ginger beers with lime slices (here are seven things that helped).

That first holiday season was a little tough (good god -- I’d never realized how much people boozed it up between Thanksgiving and New Year’s!) but overall, I felt such a profound sense of freedom for those first six months. I didn’t have to stress about who was going to drive. I didn’t have to worry about drinking more than I’d intended and what I’d said as a result. I didn’t have to lose any time feeling hungover. It all seemed miraculous.

I still feel grateful to never be hungover, but what I notice most now that I’m 20 months sober is how much space I have for things. I had not understood how much of my brain drinking was occupying.

I have space to be more thoughtful and to be more kind.

I have space to write more, and do better work.

I have space to travel more.

I have space to exercise more and eat better.

Basically, I have space to craft a life that includes everything I want it to have in it.

Sometimes, I still struggle with facing feelings (mostly, I hate them ha ha). I can tell you without a doubt, though, that not drinking has seriously reduced any general depression I was experiencing. Now, when I feel down, I at least know the reason (mostly).

It sounds ridiculous now, but I spent so many years just not knowing that you could quit drinking without having a “diagnosis.” I thought it was you drank “normally” or you went to rehab. No in between. It’s so not true. I started my Instagram account because I wanted to let other people know that. You don’t have to be an alcoholic or an addict or any other label to quit drinking. You really can just stop, and you don’t have to be embarrassed about it. You won’t be missing out on anything, and in fact, you’ll be gaining everything.

Check out more of Laura Rees’s writing at Mantras and Mocktails.

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