Africa Brooke on sobriety and sexuality
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A glass of wine in one hand and a makeup brush in the other before the party even starts. Holding a drink in her hand at all times and feeling unlike herself without one. The intimacy of someone cutting up lines and passing the plate around a room full of nameless faces. These were all rituals that 26-year-old Africa Brooke used to find so romantic. Rituals she had to grieve and leave behind to live in clarity. Africa still lives with these memories, but more than 800 days into her sobriety, no longer sees these as warm moments. Instead, she believes everything positive in her life is a result of her sobriety. Today, Africa is a mindset coach using her platform on Instagram to advocate for sober living and holistic self-development, and has even started a sexual wellness company.
Image credit: Africa Brooke by Adam BarnettShe beams with pride at the mention of her Instagram hashtag, #SobrietyIsRebellious. Rebellion used to remind Africa of self-destruction. She says: “Rebellion was going out on a binge for five days and telling my family I could do what I wanted and no one could tell me what to do”. It involved causing chaos, a consequence of her alcoholism. Chaos would come up in the form of lying to those close to her, cheating on partners, and even kleptomania in her early teens. Today, embodying rebellion has a totally new meaning to her, one that has empowered her. She says: “For me, rebellion is choosing not to drink but still being able to party and having just as much fun. It’s being able to have sex and know what my body is doing. It’s not having to wake up next to a stranger. I think when you go against the grain in any kind of way, when you go against a norm in a way that is beneficial to you, that is rebellion”. She often reminds her 7,000 followers that her path to sobriety was not an easy one. After an eight-year struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, Africa’s early sobriety felt “hollow”. The first year of her sobriety was one of incredible loneliness, triggered by the social aspect of recovery. She says: “It was very difficult for me because it was the bonding glue of all my social situations and interactions with people. I mean every single one, there would always be a drink. Once you take that away, you start to see that you haven’t given yourself the opportunity to know anyone beyond that, so it was very lonely”. Africa also speaks of finding herself after almost a decade of substance abuse. She says: “I had to get to know myself all over again”. This involved replacing her old habits with new ones like journaling, reading and taking herself out on dates to galleries. These were activities Africa held close to her heart, but avoided doing as she “would be too hungover or on a comedown”.
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