Healthy Living: Sober Up! A Bar Helping Addicts Quit
You’ve made your new year’s list, but can you stick to it?
For many people, giving up alcohol, or at least cutting back, is at the top of their New Year’s resolutions – and for good reason. Over half of Americans consider themselves drinkers, and than 19-million people are addicted to alcohol or drugs. In this edition of Healthy Living, 9&10’s Whitney Amann shows us how one woman has found a way to bring people together so they can help each other stay clean and sober.
“I started drinking when I was about 14. I was real bad on crack and heroin. I know what it’s like to be destitute and on the streets. I got to a spot where I truly wanted to commit suicide,” Traci Barnes said. “It was either get sober or die.”
Now, twelve years later —and a twelve-step program— Traci has become an advocate for addicts, creating one of the first sober café’s.
Rise Above Café is a place where men and women can hang out, take classes, grab a bite to eat, and talk to other recovering addicts.
“My whole life revolved around using drugs, getting drugs, figuring out how to get money doing, you know, my whole life revolved around that. And when I came into sobriety, I didn’t know what to do with all of this time on my hands,” said Jordana LaPolla, a recovering addict.
“It is a trigger for me. Just boredom, loneliness,” said Angelica Ciccarello, also a recovering addict. “I come here, I shoot pool, I shoot darts, I talk recovery,” said Joe McDonnell, a recovering addict.
Traci, now a licensed chemical dependency counselor, says it’s imperative for people in recovery to have a safe, substance-free place to go.
“Stay away from actual bars where there’s alcohol,” suggested Barnes. Finding a peer support group is essential. “So, without a foundation and a support group of people that have your back and they’re telling you you’re doing the right thing or you’re doing the wrong thing, how would you ever know?” said McDonnell.
Experts suggest during COVID, join a social media sober group. Also, prepare your story—when someone asks why you don’t drink, have an answer ready, like you have to get up early or you quit for health reasons. Arm yourself with alcohol-free alternative drinks and think of yourself as a sober rebel. Change your mindset from ‘I can’t have a drink’ to ‘I don’t want a drink.’ and remember, there is help if you want it.
“Addicts and alcoholics who are trying to be sober don’t have to feel alone,” said Barnes.
If you are questioning yourself on whether you have a substance abuse problem, that’s probably a good sign you do. Also, ask yourself if your social life revolves around alcohol. Do you rely on alcohol to have a good time? Or are you letting your responsibilities slide? If you answered yes to these questions, you may need help.
You can contact an addiction treatment hotline 24/7 at 855-947-3389.