Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to practice Chinese Medicine?
I’ve been a licensed Doctor of Chinese Medicine and acupuncturist since 2012, after completing a five-year doctor program and passing board exams in both Canada and the United States. I’m also a certified Primal Health Coach, advocating for an ancestrally aligned diet featuring real, minimally processed, nutrient-dense food.
I originally got into Chinese Medicine and whole-food eating because it helped me! The combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and supportive eating and lifestyle practices is powerful for healing and staying well.
I currently practice acupuncture in Nova Scotia and offer remote herbal, diet, and lifestyle consults to folks located throughout the world.
What initially inspired you to reduce your alcohol consumption? Could you share a little about your sober journey?
I chose to get sober from alcohol in 2020—despite being a so-called normal drinker whose consumption was limited to two glasses of wine with dinner in the years leading up to quitting. I knew intuitively that alcohol was taking a toll on my energy level, confidence level, mental health, physical health, skin, and sleep.
Even though I drank “normally,” quitting once and for all was a challenge. Makes sense—alcohol is profoundly addictive and deeply toxic to all humans. The first 10 days were honestly the hardest, but a positive turning point came after the 30-day mark and again after the 90-day mark.
Now, more than three years sober, my relationship to sobriety is still changing and evolving. These days, I don’t even think about alcohol (or, if I do, it’s with full-body aversion). Sobriety has been the most transformative, healing thing I’ve ever gifted myself. There isn’t one area of my internal or external life that hasn’t benefited.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in yourself since cutting back on alcohol?
I got sober at age 45 (I’m now 48), and I’m so glad I didn’t put it off any longer. For me, not drinking has drastically reduced my anxiety and depression and dramatically improved my sleep and energy level. Those things alone would make sobriety worth it!
It has also improved my skin, boosted my metabolism, reduced water retention and bloating, up-levelled my confidence and self-esteem, and deepened my daily yoga and meditation practice (just to name a few of the many, many benefits).
What do you like about Sobrii?
As a Chinese Medicine doctor and Primal Health Coach, I’m super conscious about what I consume. We can’t stress, exercise, detox, or medicate our way out of what we put in our body daily. I can’t underscore enough the impact of food and drink choices on mood, wellness, vitality, and longevity. So…
I was thrilled to find that Sobrii is not only free of added sugar and sweeteners, but also contains minimal ingredients featuring medicinal herbs and spices. Many alcohol-free alternatives are things that I would not personally consume, because they’re high in sugar, carbs, and extra additives. With Sobrii, I recognize everything on the ingredient list, and I feel good consuming it!
As a Chinese Medicine doctor who uses herbs in my practice, I was also excited to find Ginseng in both Sobrii 0-Gin and Sobrii 0-Tequila. Ginseng is a tonic in our medicine and can be helpful for boosting energy and vitality. Some of the other ingredients are herbs in Chinese Medicine too, including Star Anise and Black Pepper.
What’s your favourite cocktail to make with Sobrii?
I’m fairly minimalist when it comes to eating and drinking. I like keeping mocktails simple—such as combining a shot of Sobrii 0-Gin with a good tonic or soda water, or even lime-flavoured sparkling water. I then like to add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon or lime.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, the Ginseng and spices in Sobrii are warming in nature. If I want to enhance that, I might mix in a half-teaspoon of grated raw ginger (which is a warming herb and can be helpful if you’re catching a cold or have an upset stomach or nausea). On the other hand, if I want to cool things down, I might add a couple leaves of fresh mint (which is a cooling herb and can be helpful if you’re overheated, agitated, and headachy).
A great thing about Sobrii is that it can be used to create different drinks with different energetic and medicinal effects depending on how you combine it with other ingredients.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering a life with less alcohol?
Do it. You have nothing to lose, and there will likely never be a time that “feels right” so long as you’re still drinking. Now is the best time. Jump in and commit to 10 days to start, since it takes about that long for alcohol to leave your system.
Also, make it fun! Sobriety for me has been the opposite of boring or miserable. It was challenging to change up my default habits and routines at first, but I focused on what I was adding in and pulling towards rather than what I was cutting out.
I also edited my “advertising” ruthlessly, changing up the content I consumed and even the people I surrounded myself with. These days, so many folks are embracing a health-conscious sober lifestyle. Follow their blogs and social media feeds, listen to their podcasts, and read their books. It only feels like “everyone drinks” if you surround yourself with everyone who drinks!
To support people who are experimenting with quitting or cutting back on alcohol (and unhelpful eating habits or other addictive patterns), I write a Substack newsletter called Sober Soulful. Each week, I share raw, unfiltered writing about sobriety and soulful living. I also feature a directory of other Substacks focused on alcohol-free living and sobriety. Come stop by!
Written By: Dana Leigh Lyons, Doctor of Chinese Medicine