I first connected with Katie Nessel after following her on Instagram where she shares her no & low-alc cocktails recipes.
Inspired by her journey to moderate her drinking and adopt a damp lifestyle, I invited Katie to chat about her sober-ish journey, creating Soberish Mom, and her advice on mindful drinking.
What made you choose a sober-ish lifestyle, and why did you decide to be sober-ish instead of sober?
I knew I was drinking a bit too much, a bit too frequently, and after the holidays last year, I was just feeling crappy.
I decided to go on a 10-day cleanse, and here I am, almost a year later – still going strong! Within that first week of going alcohol-free, almost every aspect of my life improved, even if a little.
My sleep, my overall mood, my energy, and my mental clarity – the list could go on and on! I especially noticed an improvement in my overall anxiety and patience with my two wonderful little monsters, ages 3 and 4.
Being a parent is the greatest joy in my life and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is very normalized in society for parents to be encouraged to drink to survive all that goes with parenting (the nightly bedtime routine, getting through the weekends, and so forth).
I really bought into that narrative. The truth is, parenting became so much easier for me when I quit my nightly drinking.
I never set out to be sober and didn’t identify as having a drinking “problem,” I had a drinking “habit” I needed to change. While I don’t think any amount of alcohol is healthy for us, I also believe in moderation in most things. It’s also unhealthy to go to McDonalds, but a large fry and diet coke has a hold on me!
Taking the moderation approach helped it seem less daunting and intimidating to me. Instead of thinking, “I can never have a glass of wine again,” I decided to focus on my overall health and habits, and drinking too much just wasn’t aligned with those.
What helps you stay committed to your decision to be sober-ish? When do you decide it is ok to drink alcohol?
For anyone trying to be sober or sober-ish, here are my three biggest tips to staying committed to your journey:
1. Start a log that helps you track your drinking. I didn’t count days because my goal was not to cut drinking altogether. But I started tracking my drinks and setting goals of cutting back for myself.
If I usually have 15 drinks a week and only had one drink this week, I would celebrate that progress.
Writing it down and seeing the numbers on paper (even though you think you know them in your head) was a big motivating factor for me.
2. My second tip is to find a nightly replacement. So often, the ritual of having a drink in the evening is just as important as the actual drink.
That was what really inspired me to start Soberish Mom and connect people with amazing products that help them stay on track.
3. My last tip is to talk to people. I did a shit job of this in the beginning. Talking about your relationship with alcohol is a very vulnerable position to put yourself in, and I was scared to tell people about my journey.
I wish I had handled it a little differently and brought people in sooner, because the people that really love and care about you will show up for you in big ways. You just have to let them know what’s going on.
I try to never use alcohol as a way to escape or deal with the stress and anxiety we all have in life. I occasionally drink in a celebratory way, like a beautiful glass of champagne on a date night with my husband or a margarita on vacation. I don’t depend on it to “get through the day” anymore, and I’m really proud of it.
How did you get into creating no & low-alc cocktails for Soberish Mom?
When I first started my soberish journey, I had a really hard time finding non-alcoholic products that I enjoyed. I was spending a ton of money dumping bottles down the drain.
That was a big inspiration for me to start my account – I wanted to help people find the products that were worth the expensive prices. I had worked in restaurants and the hospitality and events industry for years (also a big factor in normalizing drinking for me), so I knew my way around a bar and crafting cocktails.
I just started experimenting, tasting everything I could find, and tried to have some fun doing it!
Can you share a fun non-alcoholic drink recipe?
Plus, recipes like this are great to keep in your back pocket if you try a non-alcoholic wine that misses the mark a bit.
You may not want to drink a glass straight – but instead of tossing the wine down the drain, you can jazz it up a little to make a non-alcoholic cocktail.
What are some other non-alcoholic drinks you’re going gaga over right now?
With the holidays coming up, I’ve been sampling many still and sparkling wines.
I was always a champagne girl and love a glass of non-alcoholic bubbles. I really enjoy the Thomson & Scott Noughty AF Wines, including the Syrah, sparkling white and rose, and Oddbird has some great non-alcoholic wines.
I put All the Bitter into almost every glass, which is a huge help in rounding out the mouthfeel and flavor of non-alcoholic wines.
Did you enjoy this interview with Soberish Mom? Then check out our other interviews below: