Ritual Spotlight: Katie Neff's Mindful Drinking Journey

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Ritual Spotlight: Katie Neff's Mindful Drinking Journey

Meet Ritual’s ✨super-talented ✨Inventory Manager, Katie Neff. She’s responsible for Ritual product operations, from the manufacturer to the warehouse to your doorstep! We caught up with Katie to discuss how mindful drinking has changed her life over the last year.

What led you to become sober curious and ultimately choose a sober lifestyle?
During COVID, there were a lot of jokes about how easy it was to drink all day. That’s when I noticed drinks accompanied almost all my plans and events. Then I started thinking about the people who didn’t drink and wondered what their story was. That made me think about my own story and what it could be.

During that time, I also recognized that I had fallen behind on my fitness goals and put on a lot of weight. Then something clicked. I got to a point where I was fed up with how I looked, and the only consistent thing I could find to blame was the booze. After a vacation, where I drank a lot, I decided it was time for a change.

I started my healthy lifestyle and stopped drinking on July 4th, 2022. There’s always been a weird social pressure around drinking, so I told everyone it was because of my diet. I used the diet excuse because if I said I was not drinking, people had a million questions, and I had to defend myself by saying that I didn’t have a “problem.” When I said it was because of my diet, people said “Good for you” and encouraged me – weird, right!?

The more I embraced “being healthy,” the less I cared about dieting and defending my choice not to drink. I started reading Quit Lit (short for quitting literature) and finding all the podcasts about sober lifestyles to help keep me on the path. I’ve become more outspoken about the benefits of giving up alcohol, but I’m very aware of how hard it is in this cultural environment where people think if you aren’t drinking, you must have a problem.

What are the biggest changes have you noticed since making the change? 
Where to start…first off, my sleep is better. It’s true – I am so rested. Even when I have a bad night of sleep, I still sleep better than any night I did while drinking regularly. My thoughts are clearer, and my emotions are much more even-keeled. Things that used to frustrate me don’t impact me the same anymore. When things go wrong (as they still do), it doesn’t take me as long to calm down and face them rationally. I don’t have to have a drink to relax or take the edge off! My skin is so much clearer, healthier, and younger! My daughter even said I have fewer wrinkles and look 10 years younger since I stopped drinking! I will take that as a win!

I have been on a few sober vacations since last year, and they keep getting better. I usually have anxiety beforehand, thinking, “What will I do if I am not drinking.” Before, if I were watching the sunset, I would have a drink – sunset goes better with a drink, of course! Now I am absolutely fine with having quiet time and empty hands.

It’s hard to explain, but this past year I feel like I have gained 10 years back in my life in health and gained 10 years of wisdom and appreciation. It sounds so cliché, but I genuinely appreciate things knowing I am fully present.

What’s your favorite Ritual cocktail? and why?
I keep it pretty simple with my cocktails – I love a Ritual Gin Alternative and seltzer with citrus (lemon, lime, or both!). It’s simple, refreshing, and you can’t mess it up! I am surprised how much the Aperitif is growing on me as I was not a fan while we were bringing it to production and through launch  – a good spritz is so refreshing this summer, and I love it.

Also, funny story – I was entertaining the idea of a new job around the same time I stopped drinking. One evening I was having my tea (my new evening ritual), and I got a Linkedin notification that Ritual was hiring for an inventory manager. This was right up my alley, as I had spent many years in inventory management during my career. I kept thinking this was serendipitous – meant to be – a sign that I was doing the right thing! I applied that night. I interviewed over the next couple of weeks – and got the job! I can honestly say that if I hadn’t quit drinking, I would not be here right now…because I would not have known about Ritual and would have ignored the notification.

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