Adventures with The Sober Grandma

Hi, my name is Lynn. I am a 69 year old church-going, road-tripping, tatted-up, badass sober grandma. Born and raised in Florida and now a citizen of the world. Sold our home in Florida, spent the summer in Canada, and will close on our new home in Costa Rica and adopt the Pura Vida lifestyle very soon!

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. I was a private practice dental hygienist, office manager of an insurance agency, and university administrator in my former life. Now, I’m retired six years, happily married 44 years, have four grown children, one grandson and another on the way, and two step-granddaughters. And, I’m loving life alcohol free!

How did I get here, you might ask. Well, I’d venture a guess it was in the usual way. You know, years of attempting to moderate. Dry January. Sober October. You name it. Knowing in my heart-of-hearts I had a problem with alcohol, but never admitting it. To anyone, least of all myself.

I’d take a stab at it, “Hey, Doc, do you think my high blood pressure could have anything to do with alcohol?” or “I bruise so easily. Could that be related to alcohol?” And, Doc would always say, “Yes, it could be,” and move on to something else. I guess since I had marked the intake questionnaire that I only drink a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, she accepted that was in the norm and didn’t pursue it any further. This is not an indictment of the medical profession, but in my experience, there is a lot of room for improvement in how they respond to patients’ timid attempts to broach the subject.

In fact, when I had my “come to Jesus” moment, I called my doctor’s office for a referral for alcohol abuse treatment. Had to leave a message and it was over a week later before I got a message in return with the name of the local treatment center. Like I said, this is not an indictment, but disturbing nonetheless, and I did let Doc know what happened and suggested some staff education was in order. She, of course, was appalled, but that’s of no use unless the medical profession makes a concerted effort to train themselves and their team about how to engage patients in the gray areas of the AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder) spectrum.

What I learned from that is this: We don’t have to wait until we hit rock bottom to change. We don’t have to destroy everything that is dear to us before we wake up. We don’t have to let alcohol rob us of our self-worth, our self-esteem and our dignity. We can change any time that we decide that alcohol is no longer serving us. We can change and escape the malaise of gray area drinking before the train goes off the cliff. Our medical experts must do a better job of serving us by helping us intervene earlier on.

I was definitely a gray area drinker for years prior to my slide into active addiction. I’d never heard of gray area drinkers nor AUD until after I was well on my way to recovering my sanity and health; mental, physical, and spiritual. I just knew that I didn’t identify as an alcoholic, Doc wasn’t concerned, and that I’d had no major serious consequences. I performed well at my high-pressure job as a director at the University. I was an uber-responsible mass of anxious nerves who self-medicated with alcohol for decades. Didn’t everyone?

I won’t go into how I came to that fateful moment when I knew, “This is IT. Enough is enough,” and began to seek help. It’s all documented in the LinkTree in my Instagram bio link. You’ll find me @thesobergrandmaroadtrip and I invite you to dive into my journey and the resources that reside there. Take what you need and leave the rest. (I stole that from David @recoverynuggetspodcast!)

What I’d like to reflect on today are the little things that are the big things. The things that laid the foundation for me to regain my sanity, restored clarity, and allowed me to move forward. James Clear does a fantastic job of explaining the process in his best-selling book Atomic Habits. Get yourself a copy and start creating your own best life.

For me, that meant I had to become pro-active in developing rituals that paved the way to a healthier life. I needed small, bite-size activities that I could commit to and challenge myself to stick to consistently, tenaciously every day for extended periods of time, say 30 days. Then, I could decide to move on to something else, or re-up for another 30 days. This is a technique I learned from Annie Grace’s book  The Alcohol Experiment. Try it!

I found that I needed small, obtainable activities that didn’t take too much time or effort, and still moved me in the right direction. You know, the things that helped me overcome the inertia of “I don’t know where to start” and got me into action. The things that bit-by-bit restored my clarity, and eventually, my self-esteem. The things I’m going to share with you now.

But, first, a true confession. I have NOT done any of these things perfectly. In fact, I’m perfectly imperfect. Or, imperfectly perfect. Take your pick. I have just approached them with curiosity and creativity and found a lot of joy and friends in the process. So, here goes:

Gratitude Practice  

I’ve had so much fun with this one. It started with just recording a few things I was grateful for that day in the Notes app of my phone at the end of the day before I went to sleep. It’s changed over time, but always starts with, “I am grateful for…”

Did I do it every single day? Nope. Did it help? Absolutely!

And, it’s been a terrific creative outlet. Here are some of the variations I’ve enjoyed over the past almost 1.5 years since I broke up with booze. Most are based on a Daily Gratitude Alphabet, so the timeline is built in. All are in Instagram. Feel free to browse my posts!

  • Creating a carousel of 10 slides for the letter of the day and posting it each day.
  • Creating a post spotlighting the letter of the day and inviting everyone to drop their gratitude in the comments.
  • Repurposing the earlier carousels as stories.
  • Creating a daily poll for the letter of the day giving people the opportunity to participate in stories.

See how that grew from a solitary spiritual practice to an engaging group activity? Fun, right?!

Breath Prayers

I was introduced to breath prayers by Pastor Lisa. She encouraged me to try them as a spiritual practice that had the additional benefit of deep breathing exercise. This was something I couldn’t do before I booted the booze. My chest was simply too tight and/or clinched to allow for a good, deep belly breath.

Anyway, to do a breath prayer, one simply performs a deep breathing exercise. You know, settle yourself. Feet on the floor. Hands in your lap. (Pastor Lisa refined this by suggesting hands down on my lap for grounding or palms turned up for receiving or over my heart for healing.) Take a couple of deep cleansing breaths.

Now, take a very slow breath in through your nose while thinking something like “I am enough.”

Pause for a second.

Breathe out through your mouth twice as slow while thinking something like “And, I am grateful.”

Pause for a second.

Repeat several times. Maybe with the same thoughts. Or, maybe incorporating new ones. It’s your practice. Do it your way.

Finish with a couple of more cleansing breaths.

And, of course, I turned this into a new adventure by creating breath prayer carousels for Instagram posts. Most of them were inspired at the beach last Fall. You can find them on my Insta wall from that time period.


Did you catch that we’re moving to Costa Rica in November?! This is a long-held dream that my husband has carried since we first visited Costa Rica 15 years ago. This Spring we visited for the third time and decided, “This is IT. Let’s move here!” So, we sold our house and everything in it, we’ve been vagabonds since then, and we’ll be making the move three weeks from today!

Do I speak Spanish? Nope. Took it in high school? Nope. Want to be able to converse? Yep. So, I’m now on day 114 and I actually have been consistently practicing every single day. Am I perfect at it? Of course not, but I am learning and getting better every day. No hablo Espanol pero yo soy aprendiendo.


This is a great app I just discovered that offers bite-size book reviews (15 minutes or so) and gamifies it with different length challenges. You start by inputting your preferences and it gives you a variety of challenges to choose from. I’m currently doing the 33-Day Empowered Woman challenge. On day 3.  Really enjoyed Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso.


This is an app for making reels in Instagram and other things. I probably could figure it out myself if I took the time to learn, but here’s an app that does it for me. I’m from the work smarter, not harder school. Which Hubs says is code for lazy. Anywho, this is my latest obsession. I’m making reels of all the THINGS I want to share that might help shorten the learning curve for those of us struggling with “stuff” in our lives. Could be addiction, boredom, abuse, whatever. We all have “stuff”. And, these are the tools I’ve discovered really help me, so I’m sharing them.

This week so far, I’ve created reels for “10 top podcasts”, “a peak at my library”, “my go-to apps”, and now I’m working on “my Insta-Family album.”

So, do you have to do all this stuff??? Not unless you want to.

My point is to find the little thing that will add to your day. And, then, DO IT. Add it to your day, every day, for say, 30 days. Did you like it? Want to re-up for another 30? Or, would you prefer to try something else? It’s up to you. You get to decide. And, you get to create BIG things in your life from the LITTLE things you’ve chosen to do daily.

Did I come up with all this stuff on my own? Heck, NO, I am the original “Grab it and Go Gal.” When I find something that resonates, I run with it. The two main sources for my musings here are: Atomic Habits by James Clear and The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace.

I’ll now share my disclaimer from whenever I invite someone to check something out in my bio link on Instagram, “I am not a paid influencer or credentialed anything. I am just a very grateful sober grandma who has found her joy by spreading love and hope and pixie dust.” I hope you found something here that resonates with you and will help you on your path to finding your joy. Be well, my Friends!

About the Author

Lynn King is The Sober Grandma – originally from Florida, her and her husband have been travelling the world ahead of their next adventure in Costa Rica. Follow her sober journey on Instagram and find useful tips, videos, songs and lots more on her Linktree at: 


About the Author

Lynn King is The Sober Grandma – originally from Florida, her and her husband have been travelling the world ahead of their next adventure in Costa Rica. Follow her sober journey on Instagram and find useful tips, videos, songs and lots more on her Linktree at: 


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Natalie

    Hi Lynn, I’ve been following you for a while (on Instagram, not in a creepy way…) I love your positivity around sobriety, you’ve really helped motivate me though I haven’t quite managed consistent sobriety yet. Gotta keep on trying though!

  2. Jennifer

    How did I not see this before now? What a wonderful read. I love being on this “trip” with you Lynn! You offer so much hope an inspiration. Thank you! ❤️

  3. The Grateful Nuts

    Hey Lynn,

    What an awesome post. Like usual, I found your words of wisdom to be so fun, exciting, and full of experience, strength, and hope! We too are the “grab it and go” type of folks. Take what works and leave the rest has served us well over the years. Thanks for all that you contribute to the sober community and share out into the world. Normalizing sobriety and recovering out loud One Day At A Time! ❤️

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