The most expensive drink in the world

“The cost of a thing is the amount of

what I will call life

which is required to be exchanged for it,

immediately or in the long run.”

Henry David Thoreau

I saw something on tv recently about the most expensive drink in the world.  It cost something like $14,000 for one cocktail.  I immediately went to a place of judgment.  How could ANYONE justify spending that much on one drink?


When I first got sober all I could think about was the fact that I would never get to drink again.  I mean, how was that even possible?  How do you do Christmas without champagne?  How do you get through summer without beer?  How do you celebrate? How do you commiserate?  How do you get that instant stress de-escalation that comes when the alcohol hits your bloodstream?

I remember the first time I felt that.  I was eleven.  I remember thinking, “This is it.  This is the feeling I have been waiting for my whole life.”  Now, that might seem silly given that I was only eleven but I was not a young eleven.  Anyway, it was the just the thing.  It softened all the edges and if it didn’t make my life any better (and it didn’t) it sure did make me care a little less about it.  It was in that moment that I determined alcohol’s value in my life.  I placed a premium on it and it was high.

I blacked out that night, woke up the next morning sick as a dog and thought, “When can I do that again?”

I can’t say that I never drank just for pleasure- I did.  I had years when my drinking was mostly normal.  Not ever completely- but mostly.  But it was mostly in search of that feeling.  It was such an exhale feeling for me- and once I felt it, I would become consumed with maintaining it.  I was thirteen years old the first time I drank with peers.  I remember being very aware that we were not having the same experience.  They were having fun. We were in a car passing around some unholy concoction that involved peppermint schnapps.  Everyone was giggling with that particular mania that accompanies doing something illicit.  I probably did laugh along, but mostly I was keeping track.

How much is left?

Will it come around again?

How can I stay where I’m at?  How do I keep feeling this way?

I think it takes getting sober to realize how much our adult society revolves around drinking.  It’s typically the center of every adult social occasion, and more than a few kids’ ones as well.  I got sober in June of 2015 and I have to say, that first summer was awful.  I thought I was either going to need to stay home alone for the rest of my life or white knuckle my way through social gatherings that were just not fun anymore.  Something happens at most of those events.  There comes a point in the evening when the energy changes. Something in the room shifts.  Everything gets louder, people start talking over one another.  It’s not noticeable when you’re partaking, but when you’re sober?  It’s generally the tipping point when it stops being fun.

I spent much of that summer wondering how I was going to be able to say no to 852,000 more drinks.  I worried about every party, every barbecue, every wedding.  No, no, no.  It felt relentless and impossible.

Part of why I have been open about my recovery is that if you aren’t people generally do not accept that you don’t want a drink.  No might be a complete sentence but it’s not an answer that the general public accepts when it comes to drinking.  And I didn’t want to lie.  I didn’t want any more secrets.  Secrets are about shame, and shame is why I drank in the first place.  I was deeply ashamed of my drinking and I am incredibly proud of my recovery.  It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, getting sober.

My entire life is different today.  The truth is, I go to very few social gatherings of the kind I used to.  They’re just not fun for me.  And while I socialize less in that way, I have more connection and community than I ever have before.  I do more things, I spend more time with friends.  I laugh more.  Most of my circle of friends is sober.  I’m less lonely than I’ve ever been in my life.

There are still moments that are hard.  I went on a trip to Austin recently.  I was so excited to go listen to live music- one of my very favorite things- and it just wasn’t really an option.  The relentless drinking was too much for me, and I had some moments of real sorrow about it.  Grief, really.   And I felt left out, which is a dangerous place for me to be. When I am in that space I go back to an attitude of, “I don’t GET to drink anymore,” when the reality is, I don’t HAVE to drink anymore.  I go to a place where I’m framing sobriety as a punishment rather than the gift it is.  I cannot afford that.  I can’t afford to put myself in that position.

The truth is, I can drink again.  Anytime I want, I can take a drink- I just have to hand back every single gift sobriety has given me.  My health, my happiness, my self-respect.  My career, my calling, my relationships, my connection to God.  It’s an exchange, you see.  It’s a trade off. But it is a sure thing that I will lose every gift.  Done deal. So the day I decide a glass of wine is worth more than all of those things, I can drink again.  That’s a pretty high price to pay, though.  That is one hell of a costly drink.

In the mean time, I just think of it this way: I only need to say no to ONE drink.  Just the first one.  If I can say no to the first one, that’s the end of it.  If I say yes, then I need to worry about all the other drinks.  If I say yes, I need to worry about the harm and the wreckage.  The loneliness and the sorrow.

Can I say no to one drink?  Can I say no to that drink in order to say yes to my WHOLE life?  I can.  I can do that, at least for today.  And for that, I am grateful.


Hey beloveds!

I am writing a book and in order to get said book published it is awfully helpful to make the most of your platform.  At least, that is what The People Who Know The Things tell me.


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9 Comments on “The most expensive drink in the world

  1. Having that monkey off one’s back IS the freedom, isn’t it? I have witnessed this gift within my own family as my husband faced his truth that he would lose everything in his life that meant anything to him if he continued on the self destructive path he was on. On April 2nd he will be fourteen years sober and I have witnessed daily the transformation that is still taking place. In social situations where people press him about having a drink if they don’t know, he laughs and says, “I’m Irish, and you don’t want to see what happens to me when I drink, it’s not my friend.” In the early years of his sobriety there was no such response and now he just lets it rip. It’s been fascinating to witness what works for him now in these situations.

    I am so immensely proud of YOU for each day of your freedom, Laura, as some no matter how much they try or want to get there simply cannot. My son, Douglas, who died from the insidious disease of addiction was one of them. Deepest of sighs…

    That IS “one expensive drink” to partake of knowing the taste of freedom that you are living into each and every day. That IS the gift you give each moment to yourself and to ALL you are in relationship with.

    I am deeply grateful for your sharing because on my daily walk the other day I was “counting” how many years it had been for us and in the beginning I was “counting” every day. We are into years now and YOU will be too.

    Hand in hand, Heart to heart warrior mama,


    • Thank you for your encouragement, Joanie. I’ll have two years in June, and I am grateful for every moment of it.I am so glad about your husband’s 15 years and heartbroken about your boy. Douglas. Saying his name out loud today, like a prayer. Hand in hand, sister. xoxo


  2. Hi Laura,
    This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this. I have so much respect for your honesty and vulnerability. Your vibe and spirit that comes through in your writing is a genuineness that so many of us really need in our lives right now. Thanks for that and thanks for being your true self!


  3. Laura, I love the second-awareness you’ve found. The freedom you’re stepping into!! Yes to the Pinterest blurb. Applause to the bloggers who have that outlet figured out. 🙂


  4. I am so proud of you, cousin. You are strong, beautiful, committed and a warrior in so many ways. And this is perfectly written.

    Love you so.


  5. Congrats on your time! It’s isn’t easy that’s for sure. And it can be lonely – I got sober in my late twenties and quickly discovered that to find folks in my age group to socialize with where drinks weren’t the center of the event…is hard. Really, really hard. I’ve got enough sober time now (over 6 years) that being around other folks enjoying a drink doesn’t bother me…but I can be sensitive to when folks persistently push drinks on me and don’t accept my “No, thanks, I don’t drink.” Certain settings, I want to maintain my anonymity simply because I am just not in the mood to explain myself, but drinking is so mainstream that when folks like us come along…it’s hard to say “no” and remain anonymous within that setting if people keep insisting we have a drink anyway. Keep up the good work!


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