“Don’t forget the end of the year pool party on Sunday!”
I looked up from my bowed head position, hot yoga now over. The transition from my yoga safe haven to the real world was always too abrupt, too soon. Everything post-yoga was too bright, too loud.
Something always happened to me in this dark, sweaty room. My brain quieted, focusing only on my breath and the shapes of my body. Down dog. Breathe in. Warrior 1. Breath out. Childs pose, Happy Baby. After years of practicing, yoga taught me that I was strong enough to withstand discomfort. In this room, I even welcomed it. My tired, shaky legs weren’t a signal to take a break. Instead, they propelled me to drop deeper into the pose. The sweat dripping into my eyes a reminder of how far I’d come.
For 60 minutes every Friday morning, there is nothing else. There is only sweat and breath, my mat and me. Everything beyond the 4 walls of this room dissolves.
My body felt heavy, anchored to my mat. My eyes still sleepy from shavasana.
The bubbly yoga instructor continued, her voice cloying and too loud. “Make sure you sign up for yoga on the pool deck! We need to know how much alcohol to order. We need to rehydrate!”
A jolt went through my body. I snapped to attention.
Wait. Hold on.
Did I hear her right? I looked around, curious if anyone else had the same reaction I did. If anyone else felt shocked.
Laughs. The rest of the yoga class, about 20 people in total, were amused. After all, rehydrating with alcohol – that’s funny, right?
I looked down. My legs were crossed in a pretzel, my palms face up in my lap. I was alone in my reaction. I was, yet again, alone in my sobriety.
This wasn’t a new feeling, of course. If you’re sober, or even if you’ve done a Sober October or a Dry January, chances are you know the feeling, too.
Sobriety can be a lonely thing. When you’re navigating the world as a sober person or non-drinker, it would seem that everyone drinks. And, you’d be right.
Don’t believe me?
It took me awhile to realize it, but now that I’m getting close to 3 years sober, my eyes have been opened.
My husband and I just returned from our annual trip to Miraval. If you’ve never heard of Miraval, let me break it down for you…
Miraval is like summer camp for adults. Actually, I’ll get even more specific – Miraval is an expensive summer camp for adults who like to talk about things like receiving energy and setting intentions and cultivating mindfulness.
It is the mecca of health and wellness. It’s where people like Oprah and Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach go to reconnect to their mental wellbeing.
My husband and I go once a year as a way to reset before the holidays and connect with each other and ourselves. We return home refreshed, our minds clear from hours of yoga and meditation, our bodies massaged and scrubbed and polished from head to toe.
We’ve healed past trauma through working with horses. We’ve explored our astrological charts and what they can tell us about our past and future selves. We’ve climbed a 45 ft telephone pole and jumped off of it. We’ve walked across a telephone pole suspended 5 stories up, with nothing but a rope to catch us if we fall. We’ve ziplined above the desert floor. We’ve learned how to heal through breathing, how to be more conscious when we cook.
Like I said: it’s summer camp for adults.
The food is organic and fresh, prepared by the in house chef and sous-chef. The bees at Miraval provide the honey that’s drizzled on our coconut yogurt.
Miraval puts focus on health and wellness like no other place I’ve been. They go so far as to restrict mobile phone use in common areas, encouraging guests to practice “Miraval Mode” and only use phones in designated areas. No one is caught mindlessly scrolling while eating lunch or walking to the spa at Miraval. We’re mindful at Miraval.
Alcohol is everywhere at Miraval.
I can’t escape it.
Fancy wine and champagne bottles cover an entire wall in the lounge.
There is a fully stocked bar with a “mixologist,” ready to make any cocktail under the sun.
There are wine pairing courses, cocktails in the kitchen with the chef and a course called “In The Spirit of Grapes.” In Miraval’s sample itinerary online, they be sure to schedule time for drinks in the lounge before dinner.
Every night at dinner, the hostess asks if we’d like the cocktail and wine menu. Because why wouldn’t we? One glance around the dining room and we quickly realize we’re the only ones not drinking.
This isn’t new to me. I know we live in a world that operates as if everyone drinks. Because, well, almost everyone does. But isn’t that changing?
I noticed the focus on alcohol with mild annoyance. My husband and I would comment on it to each other, but then we’d keep it moving. I hadn’t planned on highlighting it, until this…
A Miraval branded flask. Because what better token to take home with you to help you remember the intentions you set while you were here?
I started digging deeper into Miraval’s course offerings. OK, fine. I can understand the business side of it. They make a shit load of money from alcohol, with some cocktails going for as much as $21. But, is sobriety anywhere to be found? Do they offer any courses on sobriety or living alcohol-free? Any Sober October or Dry January offerings?
Absolutely nothing on sobriety.
Here’s the thing…
I am not anti-alcohol. I don’t expect everyone to become sober or sober curious. Not for one second do I expect that the sober revolution will take over the world. I get it.
I expect to be confronted with alcohol when I walk into a bar, or a restaurant, or a party. I’m not caught off guard. And honestly, I’m not triggered by it. I’m comfortable and confident enough in my sobriety that it doesn’t phase me.
Alcohol doesn’t belong in wellness spaces.
When you learn what alcohol is and what it does to your mind and body, the cognitive dissonance you need to celebrate it in a wellness space is astounding.
And to be clear, I’m not putting this on the guests at Miraval. They’ve been tricked. By Miraval.
Miraval needs to do better.
If they’re going to romanticize ethanol and profit off of alcohol because the money is just too good, then they also need to offer courses on sobriety and the benefits of living alcohol-free.
Because what good are all of the crystals and sound baths and vegan grain bowls and courses on sleeping and “holistic” wellness if your guests are washing it all down with a few glasses of ethanol?
Miraval, you need to do better.
Also? Get that damn flask off your shelves.