How to Party Sober with Substance For You
This may be a branded name, a branded lifestyle, and a brand to be proud of, but it’s certainly not a one size fits all gesture (for me at least…). And I mean that in the best of ways! I mean this in the sense that we can ALL party sober, but while still having a unique sobriety to our-“self,” which is important for an impactful, positively blissful life.
Partying sober doesn’t need to meet the guidelines others set for it, all it needs to meet is what your sobriety is comfortable with. And let me tell you, I wasn’t always comfortable in my sobriety, but today I can still swing with it while sober, in my own unique, dorky way! Isn’t that what becoming your-“self” while partying the heck out of life sober is all about? I know that’s what partying sober means to me, Substance For You.
I have to tell you, though. Life wasn’t always one big sober party, or about partying sober. I struggled to get to this point, where I was comfortable expressing myself in a positive sober manner. But, a little spoiler alert I live by, “It’s the bad times that make the good one’s even better!” So when the sober party came, I cherished it, just like I can live by that lifestyle in happiness today. But, like I said, life wasn’t always easy! So, let’s start it off from the beginning, officially…
Before I was my penname, SFY or YIA, I was simply Brian. I was, and am still, just another person trying to find his way in recovery. I struggled with mental health disorders since the age of eleven, as I first found myself trying to come to terms with what an SSRI (Zoloft) was? Or a few years later when I snuck into my best friend’s mom’s liquor cabinet and started a battle that wouldn’t end for nearly a decade. I was accompanied with heartache, despair, and most of all a not so sober party… so let’s talk pity party instead for a minute.
I had battled alcoholism from an age of thirteen, growing up near the outer rim of Detroit, which was and is a mecca for the originating youth heroin epidemic. I couldn’t deal with the youthful codependent relationship I’d developed with a classmate, as it failed and retried, then got put on a broken record of repeat, time after time. I’d succumbed to what was the awakening of a youth heroin epidemic only a few years later. And it didn’t discriminate one little bit.
Coming from a “near perfect” close knit family life, the issues stemmed much deeper then that. I had money, I had love you would think could stop such a “horrible” thing from happening, but like I said… it isn’t one size fits all in that sense. Addiction effects everyone, but different styles of people. This addiction battle does not discriminate, and I was taken for a whirlwind.
For years I battled with the cheating, on and off again, codependent girlfriend who promised me everything. I started to head further and further east, nearing Brightmoor and Highland Park trap houses at a low, dangerously young age. I’d often get the “Kid, I don’t want to sell to you, don’t you have hot wheels to play with?” look or notion. Then it would pass as I lifted up my sleeves in seventy-degree weather, to an arm full of track marks. It was hard to refuse me then as I went from being seen as the “kid next door” to a defiled Leonardo DiCaprio the heroin filled come out in “The Basketball Diaries” (1995).
I was stuck between a world of homelessness degradation, a life filled with dirty… well everything, and the life I’d left behind; a mother crying for her son, a father wishing it wasn’t so, and a younger brother in need of a mentor. But as soon as I tried to get clean, live wasn’t easy there either.
I’d attempted to establish clean time at the ripe old age of 18, still stuck in a child like manner, all I’d ever known was heroin, alcohol, and pills. But the problems stemmed much deeper then the actual substances. I definitely didn’t know how to party sober the first time I tried to enter recovery. I’d tried and tried, but the problem was that I was always searching. I really couldn’t find what I was looking for when the past was full of wrong turns and wrong answers, the future was unknown, and I didn’t know how to live in the today… yet. I’d done the whole 12-step route and eventually strung myself into a bad situation with what my sponsor had told me not to do. I’d tried, I did try for a long 19 months of staying clean, but I wasn’t recovering. And that’s where the lifestyle of being able to Party Sober should’ve hit me… but I had to learn a little more on the essentials first. So, the story continues…
As you can see more of the pity party coming next; I relapsed. I was 20 years old now and eventually slid down into fast slope of constant binge drinking, pill popping/snorting, and then the eventual heroin uses again. This time I had to learn though, I just had to! I made some bad calls, but who says it was me making them? That, many will debate. How it went down, was to the tee though. Your ultimate rock bottom.
At this very next specific point in my addiction I walked upstairs after indulging in a fifth of Smirnoff, from my room in the basement and told my father, “Dad, I’ve decided… I’m moving into a trailer, with ‘Remy’ near Detroit.” He smelt the alcohol on my breath, but still believed his son would overcome… he agreed although Remy was my old drug friends, dealer.
Unfortunately, I felt fortunate. I was now seven minutes away from the cheapest and thickest heroin chunk dealer in the entire Midwest. And after the first night of rebooting my tolerance, passing out face first in a dirty kitten litter box with an overdosed needle in my arm, I was on my way to the bottom. It only took three weeks of mixing a fifth a day, ten muscle relaxers, five pain pills, and 3 grams of pure grade heroin a day to convince me to live how Substance For You should have… 100% sober.
I went to rehab the first time I had gotten clean… but not this time. I was learning what it really meant to be 100% sober after all of the using. This is why I live so firmly by, not just our shirt motto, but my way of living, 100% sober. I’d gone three weeks on this binge, spending all of my life savings, having drug dealers raid my trailer to steal my belongings, doing more substances then I ever had to this point but in a smaller time, and on the last day run around Detroit with no pants and a half torn jacket to get a new phone for one last call… “Mom, I need help!”
So now, everyone asks me what made you change? At this point in my story, I had started that mission. This was it. It was my time… I learned truly what a mother’s heartbreak feels like. That was my bottom, and for you to figure out EXACTLY what that feels like go—“HERE” for redirection to my article on a historic turning point for Substance for You, “What a Mother’s Heartbreak Feels like.”
She showed me how empathy can be the most altruistic feeling of all. She paid it forward from birth until that night she collapsed to her knees and condemned me away from the family, as I was now “dangerous.” This was the day that Substance For You’s motto and Substance For You’s term, living “100% sober” came from. That day was Christmas eve 2010, and Christmas 10’ was the day I quit it all and finally started to move forward no matter the delirium tremens, the schizoid tendencies or hallucinations, the medically induced Tourette’s syndrome from having an unsafe dopamine imbalance, or gaining not one but two blood clots in the veins going in AND out of my liver, or being told I have the health of a 70 year old cancer patient, being poked and prodded with spinal taps galore from earning a full body nerve deterioration due to anorexia in my addiction… this was the start of EARNING my recovery, and EVENTUALLY learning to freaking PARTY SOBER!
So I did what I said I would. I started the journey I just told you I’d given myself. It wasn’t easy, and I was branded an outsider by any emergency room within 175 miles of me… seriously! They couldn’t see any of these things I told you I had, I was stigmatized, branded a “shooter” and a mentally unstable being. I was locked up in a mental institution and thrown away the key, until one day, living 100% sober wasn’t cutting it. I needed to become something more… I needed true recovery. And this is where our shirt design “Recovery Man” comes from, this moment. As I’m sitting in the psychiatric lock down room, my sponsor walks in and hands me a pen and paper. He says one thing: “WRITE.” From that day forward I hadn’t looked back, I’d found my lead into serenity. Since then I’ve published nearly 300 articles, 3 books (one of which is an amazon best seller), and 21+ short stories to encompass things from my addiction journey, to my mental health stigmatization in early recovery, to my PTSD and schizoid induced night terrors (21+ short stories).
This is where I became my own super hero, but was just now discovering myself in life. It took years of writing, talking with sponsors, and collaborating on ideas on how to turn this help from just me into everybody. But soon I began to have a smile without cause. I was living a plentiful life, and my ailments started to dissipate all through the process of working on myself. I was truly starting to live the lifestyle of a socialite. I quite possibly could be Partying Sober in my own Substance For You kind of way 😉
It took a while, and there is surely a heck of a lot more to this story! But this is just a little taste of what Substance For You is about, where I started from, and where I am now 5+ years clean, partying sober, and living a happy married life to my lovely wife!
I’m now finishing my degree in Sociology and Substance Abuse, have gained 6 honorary programs to my name at the University, brought awareness by being featured in town newspapers, and being offered to give recovery talks to a very prestigious University here in Michigan (to remain unnamed). I’ve become successful in my world renown blogging, books, and clothing line. My mother couldn’t be prouder of me and my dad and I are best of friends. My brother is healing and I love him more than anything. And if I wasn’t partying sober, I wouldn’t have been able to fly 24 hours around the world on a plane numerous times to meet my wife, of which I’ve been married 3 months in one week! (we all know I wouldn’t have made it on the plane if I wasn’t sober! Hehe)
So there is truth to this way of lifestyle and I live by many. I am my own recovery superman, I live 100% sober, and I party freaking sober within my own healthy limits! And ya know what? I know you can, too. Cuz I’m loving every second of it, while 100% healthy today too!!!
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And feel free to email me your story of hope at SubstanceForYou@gmail.com we’d love to share it on our site to inspire thousands more together!