When I was actively drinking, I thought more about the amount of alcohol I had at home than the amount of money it took to reduce my anxiety about running out. I live in Vermont, where craft brews are royalty and local breweries are as beloved as the mountains that surround them. We are a hearty bunch and seasonal beers and spirits get us through tough winters and help us stretch out short summers. I loved the variety at my fingertips and relished in finding a limited edition batch from a favorite brewery. I thought about the alcohol percentage but rarely the price. I justified my beer expenses as if I were paying for a hobby. I also balanced the cost with cheap gin.

Going out didn’t mean slowing down, it just meant spending more. I would look for drink specials, but I also looked to buy a friend a drink. I was generous with my tips too. It’s not like I had the extra money to feed my addiction; alcohol was something I needed. It was a reward for my hard workday. It was medicinal to relieve stress and anxiety. It was social time with friends. My ex-partner didn’t like the extra money I spent when I was drinking, but I felt like I deserved to spend money on myself. And what I chose to buy was a lot of expensive beer and ingredients for gin and tonics.

But alcohol use disorder isn’t a hobby, and I deserve so much more than a bar tab. As a reward for my first month of sobriety (the first time around), I purchased tickets to a concert I wouldn’t have otherwise thought I could afford. But since I wasn’t spending money on alcohol, I felt more than justified to see Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats in concert. It took time, but I started to see the other things I wanted to spend money on instead of alcohol. More time at the yoga studio, fancy coffees, and anything else that feels like self-care instead of self-destruction.

At The Temper, we wanted to know what you, our Instagram followers, indulged in now that you are sober. The responses were full of pride and determination. Money spent is now to better ourselves and indulge in the activities that keep us healthy and grateful.

 Here is what you told us was the best thing you spent money on now that you are sober:

  1. “My Peloton bike.”
  2. “So many massages.”
  3. “Gym membership.”
  4. “My daughter’s college education.”
  5. “Graduate school.”
  6. “Law school tuition.”
  7. “A rad new tattoo.”
  8. “A SodaStream.”
  9. “Guilt-free facials.”
  10. “A home.”
  11. “House cleaning services.”
  12. “Career coaching.”
  13. “A monthly book subscription.”
  14. “Finally got my braces. Now my smile matches exactly how I feel inside.”
  15. “Adopted 3rd child.”
  16. “Products for full skincare routine.”
  17. “Fancy face serums.”
  18. “A new kitchen—appliances and all!”
  19. “Monthly rent for an apartment.”
  20. “My very first car.”
  21. “Running shoes.”
  22. “An updated haircut! New sobriety, new style.”
  23. “I started investing the money I would have been spending into my retirement account.”
  24. “A mattress! This might be nothing for some, but it’s my first new one.”
  25. “My education/college.”
  26. “Meditation retreats and fancy skincare.”
  27. “Expensive macaroons and truffles as a reward for making it 30 days.”
  28. “A house and sperm donor to start a family with my partner—that shit’s not cheap.”
  29. “Days at the spa and concert tickets.”
  30. “All the things to start my business!”
  31. “A stand-up paddle trip with 11 other sober women I didn’t know to Baja.”
  32. “An hour-long professional photoshoot.”
  33. “Vacations!”
  34. “My honeymoon.”
  35. “A whitewater raft! Now my summer weekends are spent on rivers.”
  36. “A trip to Amsterdam with a dear friend.”
  37. “Membership for unlimited fitness classes. Sweat is therapy.”
  38. “Yoga teacher training.”
  39. “Putting loads into savings.”
  40. “A summer pool membership for my son and me. We had so much fun together.”
  41. “Not a thing, but I have been able to travel and create new memories.”

Sobriety brings perspective and clarity. We start allowing ourselves to hope and make plans. We begin to invest in ourselves, our recovery, and our future. This list shows us that the cost of our happiness and health is money well spent.