The Sober Lush by Amanda Eyre Ward and Jardine Libaire is “A Hedonist’s Guide to Living a Decadent, Adventurous, Soulful Life–Alcohol Free.”
The Sober Lush describes various ways to lead a fulfilling, delightful, and meaningful life without alcohol. The main idea is “to redefine lushness and reclaim it.” For the authors, sober lushness is a “loose set of ideas and experiences that everyone is welcome to use.” To a certain extent, it critiques the American culture of drinking, be it at social gatherings, at home, at business meetings, and also as a way to cope with feelings like anger, sadness, happiness, or even going through household chores or family obligations.
The book is divided into various sections and features stories and experiences by Ward and Libaire, as well as others, that can be universal. One of the best things about this collection is that the advice can be used by people who are single, have partners, and have families. For example, the idea of a masquerade can be translated into a dress-up party with children or change the appearance by getting a tattoo or a new hair color. There are also suggestions like having a backyard or apartment balcony picnic with leftovers, attending a local music festival, enjoying the night sky, hosting movie nights or bridge evenings or swap meets, reading, baking, shopping at farmers’ markets, and karaoke. There are also ideas on how to navigate social drinking situations, like meeting for business, family holiday dinners, dating while sober, and friendships.
The book also provides ideas for living well like gratitude, meditations, hand-written letters, remembering to drink water, volunteering, hiking, and napping, and interesting ideas like attending a sound bath or watching an ASMR (autonomous sensory median response) video (there are free links for both on YouTube), or sending digital orchids which is sending “mini-missives” to friends, like poems, GIFs, text messages, photos, anything that doesn’t require a text or email back. From my personal experience, I enjoy sending and receiving digital orchids.
My only concern with this book is that certain suggestions are possible if you are financially well-off or have certain privilege, like being able to book a motel room to work in peace; being able to downsize by leaving apartments, moving away, and starting anew; or even being able take a snow day when you can take off from work or family responsibilities without any reason or feeling shameful.
Overall, I enjoyed this book as it focuses on leading a beautiful and soulful life. It ends with recipes for drinks, meals, and bath formulas. This is an excellent book to read if you are sober and a wonderful book to refer to if you want to lead a more fulfilling life that focuses on moments of beauty and happiness.