I had the good fortune of meeting Lara Frazier last January when I was a student of Hip Sobriety's 8-week Sobriety School. I was coming up on 12 months of continuous sobriety, but had a very small tribe when it came to connecting with other sober women.
Lara's positive energy, honesty and story of addiction touched me and I admired how she uplifted and supported the other students enrolled in the course. In April 2016, I reached out to Lara to join a gratitude circle I was creating with a few other sober women. She accepted the invitation and I came to know her better through her daily gratitude lists, wherein she helped me to see how her God helped frame the way she looked at the world and her recovery. I liked what she had going on.
I had the pleasure of meeting her in person a few months ago in Austin at the WAAFTI AA conference. This woman stood up at the podium during this AA conference and informed the room that she DID NOT call herself an Alcoholic and then eloquently proceeded to inform the room why. She is a truth-teller, a beautiful human and I'm so lucky to call her a friend.
What is your sobriety date? 2.10.14
Do you count days, months or years connected to your sobriety?
I mostly count milestones now. My last milestone was 1000 days and then I’ll celebrate my 3 years on the 10th of February. I used to always notice when it was the 10th of any month, but not as much anymore. Sobriety is more of a lifestyle. It’s just part of my everyday so I don’t count as much anymore.
What recovery modality do you use in your recovery from alcohol?
I started in AA and still use some of the practices from the 12 steps – like self-reflection/inventory, service and prayer. I attribute AA to building a solid relationship with God which has become the most important thing for me, not just in my sobriety, but my life. However, I no longer do AA and have built a holistic recovery path. Hip Sobriety School introduced me to many of the methods I incorporate today.
Do you identify yourself as an alcoholic?
I do not associate as an addict or an alcoholic. I stopped calling myself that around April or May of last year (2016). My friend and teacher, Holly Whitaker, posted something about how “addiction is an experience, and not an identity.” And it has stayed with me. I un-labeled myself.
I also read many books on the power of words and how we speak to ourselves and about ourselves, and I find it much more empowering to be removed of the label. I know what I don’t fuck with. I was addicted for about 5 years and that’s actually a very short span in my life so I don’t find it necessary to carry that around with me anymore.
If you do not identify yourself as an alcoholic, do you use any other word to identify yourself as a person who no longer drinks? Please share your word and why it works for you.
I say I’m sober. That works for me because it’s what I am. I don’t drink and I’ve made a choice to not drink again. My life is a million times better than it has ever been and I would not want to jeopardize that. I also think there is far less of a stigma around the word sober then there is around the word alcoholic or addict. Those labels sound heavy to me. And I don’t want to be weighed down.
What are your top three tools in your sobriety toolbox?
- Self-Development. That’s four. I’m a rebel.
How did you know or decide that you had to quit drinking?
I knew I had to quit drinking because I had become someone I didn’t recognize. I had become isolated and unhappy. I was no longer my fun-loving self. I wasn’t laughing as much. I felt miserable. I became miserable enough to realize I needed to change.
Do you feel like you are more creative since you quit drinking?
At first, I thought I was less creative. I thought I wouldn’t be able to write. I thought I had damaged my brain and my creative potential to the point where it would never be the same. I also had believed that I could only create if I were high or drunk. This wasn’t the truth. Art happens in authenticity and awareness.
I’ve discovered that once I put aside time for my art, and actually made an effort, I was able to create again. It’s not necessarily the same as it used to be. But, it’s coming back. And I realize how much I loved it far before I ever started drinking or using. It has always been a passion of mine. It brings me so much joy. I become lost in creating. And I love it.
What has delighted you most since you quit drinking alcohol?
My relationships with females. I think this is one of the best things that has come out of not drinking is finding a group of like-minded women who are now my tribe, my support, my peace, my sanity, and my joy.
Can you recommend three books, bloggers or teachers that have helped you on this path to sobriety?
- Holly Whitaker – Hip Sobriety & Laura McKowen (on sobriety)
- Glennon Doyle Melton (on truth/authenticity)
- Rumi – Poet (on God/Spirituality)
Are you part of a tribe or a recovery community that supports your sobriety? If so, how did you figure out how to find that tribe/community. What was your path to discovering it?
I found that tribe by finding the teachers that appealed to me. My sober tribe was built from following my teachers and friends Holly & Laura of the HOME podcast. I then found my tribe by finding other women who were following them too.
I also expanded my tribe by starting to write publicly about my sobriety on my Instagram & then creating a blog around my sobriety. I met more men and women this way as well. I found that when I became public about my sobriety, I built an even larger tribe than I could have ever imagined.
I also signed up for self-development classes and schools, (like Hip Sobriety) and met a tribe there. And, I joined Facebook communities and watched recovery conferences like Tommy Rosen’s Recovery 2.0, where I continue to expand my tribe.
What are you most proud of now that you have removed the veneer of alcohol from your life?
I am most proud of the fact that I am proud to be me. I truly am. I love myself and I love how I treat other people. I love my relationships today and my connection to God. And I love the way I live my life: totally authentic, genuine, and real.
Thank you so much, Lara, for being my first interviewee(!) and for shining so bright in recovery and helping to show others how it can be done.