How 'Mocktails of AZ' came to be

I started my sober curious journey in 2020 when a relative came to live with me. They had been struggling with recovery for many years but hadn't found a living situation that supported a substance-free lifestyle. I decided to pour all the alcohol out and support them through their year of sobriety until they moved out on their own. That lasted for the majority of the year, but I was a part of several weddings later in the year and didn’t want to miss out on the festivities. I never realized it was possible to participate booze-free. Home was alcohol free but the outgoings were not. The lockdown for the majority of the year didn’t help.

2021 was a little rocky with binge weekends and a summer full of social events since everything started opening up again after the pandemic lockdown. Everyone was itching to go out. It was not until mid-October, after several years of unsupported teaching, that I started to realize how bad of a mental state I was in. I used being social and going out as a way to unintentionally cope with all the stress I was feeling everywhere else in my life. I searched for support resources through my school district but nothing was available. It seemed like everyone was in the same place.

So, I started doing my own resource search and found many different books that helped. I also decided that alcohol was only making matters worse and, again, I stepped away. Along the way I found several podcasts, blogs, and instagram accounts that really put things into perspective. I found out the effects alcohol was actually having on my body and how many of the things I was feeling were a side effect, such as anxiety and depression. As a teacher, even when I was drinking, I did NOT want to go into work the next day hungover. Teaching 13 and 14 year olds while hungover is a big NO NO, both for my sanity and theirs. The more I looked the more I realized alcohol no longer served a place in my life. It has been 95+ days and I’ve never felt better!

The hardest part of quitting was definitely the sugar. To say I have a sweet tooth is an understatement….I’m an addict. I love sugar of any kind. I absolutely hate the taste of alcohol, so shots were never a go-to. I have a weird stomach and tongue reaction to bubbly things so beers and seltzers were a no-go. Wine was a little weird because even if I had half a glass, I would be falling asleep and the hangxiety the following day was next level. The only things that I could say I enjoyed about drinking were the cocktails. So when I reanalyzed my relationship with alcohol, I realized I didn’t enjoy drinking, I enjoyed sugar. Lightbulb LOL moment! That made my decision to walk away extremely easy.

I decided to research alternatives to the cocktails I love so much. I was pleasantly surprised there were so many options available. I tried a ton of them and got some great ideas along the way. Even with all of these options available, the thing that was astonishing to me was the lack of offerings at restaurants and bars around the city. I’m on a mission to change that.

This is where my idea for Mocktails of AZ started. Whether you are pregnant, a teacher, a parent, the Designated Driver for the night, going through recovery, sober-curious, taking a break, or just want a delicious alternative, I’m on a mission to find inclusive establishments that have non-alcoholic alternatives available for everyone.