In September when we were organizing for the Sober October Challenge at Cape Ann Power Yoga, we decided that the prize should be something really special. For Sober October we asked people to abstain from alcohol and marijuana and to practice 15 yoga classes in the month of October. 43 people entered in to the challenge and 17 completed the yoga and sober month successfully. A handful more completed all the yoga classes but had some drinks, and mostly everyone else maintained their sobriety but didn’t make it to the minimum 15 classes. We’re very proud of all of the individuals who accepted the challenge and took it seriously – however many stickers they put on the chart or slip ups they had along the way.
Maureen Farrell – Drew Farrell – Mike Forgette – Julia Sanfilippo – Paula Lutz – Andrea Rovedo – Ashley Loprieno – Dave DeAngelis – Melissa Wilbur – Maria Greeke – Louis Silvera – Yma Buck – Kyle Alman – Molly Parisi – Mike Day – Larry Tennis – Elizabeth DeAngelis
Everyone knows someone who’s life is impacted by alcohol, marijuana, or lack of exercise and community.
I’m proud to say with certainty that together we were able to make a real and lasting difference in many lives and families here on Cape Ann.
When we reached out to Duckworth’s Bistrot and asked if they wanted to get on board and they said YES – we were thrilled. I haven’t been to every restaurant in the world – but I’ve been blessed to have the chance to dine at a lot of different ones, and Duckworth’s is for me far and away the best restaurant I’ve ever been to.
What’s particularly special about it is that every time I’ve been there, with every plate and every interaction – I can tell that the folks involved really care. They really want the experience to be of as high a quality as possible. We too as a small, family business in Gloucester aim for the same consistency and quality in our service so we are in fact honored to get to align our brand with theirs for this challenge. A sincere thank you to the Duckworth family.
Our aim in this challenge was to work with people who may have slipped, or gotten careless with their habits, or maybe never really took their health that seriously in the first place. I think most people think about yoga and they picture a bendy 21 year old woman – but when you come take class at Cape Ann Power Yoga, take a quick look around and see that the room is filled with all shapes, sizes, ages, and backgrounds. On any given day you could be practicing next to a commercial fisherman, a grandmother, a 5 year old, and a professional musician. Yoga teaches us that we are all more alike than we are dissimilar. Baptiste Power Yoga isn’t for everyone – but it is for anyone that wants to come and do the work necessary to be able to live their healthiest, best life.
We asked participants to share in their own words about their Sober October experience so that we could share their light with you, in hope that their work might inspire others:
“I’ve never seen myself as a hot yoga kind of girl, especially at 64 years old. But when Dave DeAngelis started posting on Facebook about his vision of Sober October at CAPY, with such authentic, heartfelt reflections of why he was committed to doing it, I was motivated to give it a shot. Dave’s invitation was kind and compassionate: Come the first night. Just sit on your mat if you can’t do all the poses. Stay in the room. If you hate it, you don’t have to come back, and we won’t charge you anything. If you sign on, it’s only $50.00 for the month, and you can come as often as you want. That made it easy. I wanted to change some habits. My nightly wine-with-dinner after a long commute back from my work day was becoming too important, more important than I wanted it to be. I needed a structure to get me to make healthy substitutes, and the yoga commitment—15 classes over one month, and 31 days of complete sobriety—was perfect for my needs. I have to admit—the heat was overwhelming at first, and so were the yoga poses. It was a little intimidating to be a silver haired frump in the midst of young, fit, experienced yoga practitioners. But I got over myself, and kept coming back, and it got easier. Anticipating yoga was a good way to plan my night without wine. Going to yoga was a good way to get endorphins going. Chanting “Om” before and after in the company of people with similar goals was lovely. And I was able to get in a good seven or eight sessions before a series of health issues prevented me from finishing my 15. I DID complete the sober part of October, and now I’m continuing into November. And I am planning to continue my practice because I’m gradually understanding the language and the flow, gradually accepting my limits, and clearly seeing the benefits of the experience on an ongoing basis. The consequences of complete sobriety: way more energy and focus. A shift to healthy choices for relaxation (oh yeah, that meditation thing I learned how to do in the 1970’s, for example.) More petty cash in the kitty because I was not buying the Pinot Noir, the Cabernet, or the favorite Gruner Veltliner. With the structure of the yoga classes, and the support of a welcoming community, I made an important shift in my life that seemed really hard to do in the absence of these two important factors. So thank you CAPY. You made it affordable. You made it real. You made me value yoga on and off the mat. Namaste.” LB
“I dove head first into yoga and really took it seriously and (for the first time ever) actually shut my mouth, paid attention, and listened to what my teachers had to say. The result has been so transformative I know for certain I was supposed to be doing this. I needed it. Especially right now.” MF
“I went in with a positive but doubtful mind. I’m new to CAPY and new to yoga, the handful of classes I’ve taken over the years did not prepare me for such a challenge. Before the challenge started Joel said to me (with love, of course)…
”Forget whatever bullshit is preventing you from coming here and just come.”
So I did.
My 2-6 beer a day habit (more if I went out or on the weekends) was not going to be an easy one to stop for a month. I love beer! But I did.
I planned all my classes out on my calendar that way I would make the 15 and managed to follow it for the most part. I went to early 5:30 am, morning, noon, evening, weekday, weekend and community classes. As I am new to my practice I found it helpful. Different classes have different vibes, different tidbits of knowledge of body position and breath work.
I changed my evening routine, from cracking a beer to enjoying a cup of tea. My boyfriend and I went out to eat and he opted for no alcohol too and the bill was only $20! What??!!!
I learned to get past the anxiety of going out to a bar/restaurant without alcohol, my friends cheered me on and acknowledged my kickassedness. I went out at least once or twice a week and it got easier every time.
I’ve learned to be more patient with my body. To be mindful of my breathing on and off my mat. My arms are stronger. My flexibility is improving. I have impressed all my friends by opting for seltzer with a splash of cran every time we went out.
I’m sleeping better, I’m eating better. I have more patience. I think I might be loving a little harder. And I have the amazing pride of knowing I broke a bad habit.
My kitchen isn’t any cleaner, my back still hurts, I still lose my cool occasionally and I didn’t win the lottery.
To push myself, to see a different side of things – there was great support from the teachers and other people doing the challenge. Dave high-fiving me on my last class of the challenge was awesome.
It’s November, and I went to class this morning and I still haven’t had an alcoholic drink. So maybe these new habits will stick for a bit longer!”
” Ever since the 40 Days to Personal Revolution Program 2 years ago I’ve journaled and have found it very beneficial…
The first time I heard there was a “Sober October” challenge I laughed at the ridiculousness of depriving myself of delicious beer for 31 days. “Life’s too short to miss out on all the good beer there is to drink”, I said. I don’t think I’ve gone more than a week without drinking since high school. However, over the course of a week I found myself coming back to the idea of sobriety and I began to warm up to it. I kept thinking about all the time and energy I’d have on my hands if my days weren’t planned around drinking. I had started to notice that I was drinking more and working out less, while making the excuse that there wasn’t enough time in the day to do it all. With that in mind (and a push from my wife), I decided to commit to Sober October.
As I began the challenge I started to realize the impact of sobriety almost immediately. Two major advantages surfaced:
1. Waking up without a hangover allows me to wake up early and attack my day. Instead of dragging myself out of bed at 8 am with a headache, I am up at 5 heading to Yoga. By 7:30 am, I’ve worked out, showered and had my coffee.
2. Without wasting time thinking about that first drink of the day, I am able to be more productive. Typically, at 5 O’clock I’d pour a beer and plop down on the couch, now I find myself taking the dog for a walk or going for a bike ride.
As October rolled on, I found myself thinking less and less about beer and more and more about how I would use each day to improve in other aspects of life. Eventually the thought of alcohol was no longer a thought at all, I was more focused on maximizing my day. I have found more energy to do the things that I say I’m going to do. Everything just seems to be that much more enjoyable.
I have rekindled my excitement for yoga (I’ve even challenged myself to hit 100 classes by January 31), I am finding myself more productive around the house, more focused at work and just happier in general. Not to mention, the old wallet is feeling a little thicker now that I’m no longer buying beer 3 times a week. I think this experiment has opened my eyes to how unnecessary it is to let alcohol control you.
If anything, the reset that I’ve experienced from Yoga and sobriety together has given me a much better perspective on life. My only regret is that I wish I had discovered this outlook earlier. I’ll enjoy a few beers in November, but I’ll do so with a new appreciation for each day. I’m also thinking about how good that first beer is going to taste, so maybe I’ll enjoy just one rather than the standard six I had grown accustomed to.” KA
Thanks to everyone who participated, brought their light and positive energy, and a special thanks to those who submitted some words of inspiration.
So without further ado, I’m proud to announce the randomly drawn winner of a $200 Gift Certificate to Duckworth’s Bistrot:
Congratulations, Drew! And on a personal note – I would have been happy with whoever won because everyone that completed Sober October was deserving, but Drew and his wife Maureen were the only other couple to tackle this challenge together besides Elizabeth and I and it will be a super well-earned treat for the two of them to get to dine at Duckworth’s together. Enjoy!
Special Thanks, Love, and Grattitude to Duckworth’s Bistrot!
Learn more about Cape Ann Power Yoga by visiting our website.
And remember that YOGA IS FREE FOR VETERANS IN NOVEMBER!