Bottles Down, The Bod
comments 22

Money Don’t Mean a Thing When it Comes to My Sobriety

(Photo Credit: Andy Kropa)

It’s the horror of all horrors, and it’s happening to me: It looks we’re going to have to give up cable. And our cleaning lady. Even worse, I think I’m going to have to wait out the winter without getting my hair highlighted, which as a beauty writer is as shameful as not taking a shower.

Because right now, I’m pretty effing broke.

When I left the world of glossy mags almost three years ago, I wasn’t a fool — I knew I was giving up a pretty sweet paycheck, along with a host of cool perks. But I had just spent two weeks watching my dad die, and was so run down and emotionally spent, I really didn’t care.

Suddenly, stressing over the factual accuracy of a lipstick price or a lotion ingredient seemed insane to me. And my dad was always the one who told me to do what you love (he was a writer, too), and to take serious chances when you need to. Otherwise, you might never get there.

So I took a serious chance. With some security via my savings and a modest inheritance, I leapt into the world of freelancing and haven’t looked back.

But, as I’m sure all you fellow freelancers out there know, every day is a hustle.

One month you may have so many projects that you’re practically working all day, seven days a week, and the next, you find yourself dumping coins into TD Bank’s Penny Arcade and having enough time to watch four and a half seasons of Breaking Bad. (That actually worked out well for me — I got all caught up and watched last Sunday’s finale with the rest of the world. Man did they nail that ending. That’s what I call closure, bitch!)

And oh yeah, there was all that rehab, which took me out of my money-earning real life for five months total. Part of me assumed it would work like jury duty, but once I sobered up and left the detox unit, I realized this was just one of my many alcohol-soaked, nonsensical assumptions.

So I’ve taken some big hits financially over the past year and a half, and it sucks, I won’t lie.

But there’s good news. Really good news, in fact:


My One-Year Coin (Photo Credit: Susan Linney)

I’m no longer that spiritually bankrupt soul that I was two years ago at this time.

In fact, in a non-monetary sense, I’m pretty wealthy. I have the love and regained respect of my husband, family and friends. I have a body that’s free from a once very serious physical dependence upon alcohol. I have a mind that’s clearer than it’s been in years, an awesome new column and website to write for ….. I could go on and on. But most importantly, I have my sobriety, which you just can’t put a price tag on.

I even have a tangible piece of treasure — my one-year anniversary coin. And, God willing, I’ll get another one this December, when I celebrate two years of being booze-free.

So really, I’m the richest I’ve ever been. And if that means I’ll have to stream The Walking Dead, let my highlights grow out and wash my own tub, so be it. I’m one lucky sober lady.


  1. Jenna Briand
    Jenna Briand says

    Grown out highlights = ombre. Streaming shows = “on your own watch.” 🙂 Congrats on all, great piece!

  2. Susan Linney
    Susan Linney says

    Thanks Jenna — I like your spin on things! 🙂 (Except there’s no way to make the tub washing a cool thing, is there…)

    Thanks for reading!


  3. Lauren Oster

    we miss you like hell out here in ladymagland, but i am so, so happy for you. do what you do, my friend.

  4. Susan Linney
    Susan Linney says

    Lauren — I miss YOU! And Ladymagland, at times 🙂 But mostly you.


  5. Get it, girl. You’re making sacrifices now, but they will pay off in spades. There is absolutely no price tag for good health, solid relationships and being able to take that risk. Once again, you are my hero! Great seeing you today xo

  6. Susan Linney
    Susan Linney says

    Thanks Lindsay, right back at ‘cha. Nothing better than starting the day by seeing your beautiful smiling face!


  7. Emily F. says

    Susan, I am loving your posts. You are kicking ass–and really, you are on the money, always, even if not ‘in’ the money. We gave up cable in June and have lived well off streaming Netflix and (shh) you can still get a TWC signal until they catch up with you (for us it was 3 mos) by plugging the coax into the back and letting your TV search for signal…. Our free ride is over, but maybe it’s your turn… xoxo

    • Susan Linney
      Susan Linney says

      Thanks Emily! I’m so glad you are liking the posts and even better, I’m so glad to hear that there are *ahem* alternate ways to get cable. But really, we spend most of our time watching Netflix anyway, so it’s really the smart thing to do. It’s just the IDEA of it that disturbs me the most, I think.

      Thanks so much for reading, Emily!


  8. Adrianna Dufay
    Adrianna says

    I love that coin. I can just imagine having it in your pocket and rubbing it like a worry stone to help you remember who you are. Better than a doubloon.

    • Susan Linney
      Susan Linney says

      Exactly! That’s exactly what I do! And when I’m really feeling lost or lonely or overworked or whatever, it’s the perfect soothing, stress-ball like thing to hold in my hand.

  9. Sally Lynch says

    I love your writing (find it through your FB posts!), Susan!! You are always inspiring with them…and with helpful beauty tips! I miss working with you, but glad you are happy doing what makes you happy!

  10. Susan Linney
    Susan Linney says

    Thanks Sally — I miss you too! So glad you enjoy the posts, keep on reading! This whole site is filled with amazing stuff.

    And from what I understand (via Linkedin, ‘natch), you’ve come quite a long way too, baby!


  11. I love this! And as someone who left the “stable” (snort) magazine world just a couple years before you did, I will tell you: It does get better…and easier…and more lucrative (financially).

  12. Susan Linney
    Susan Linney says

    Thanks Kristin — that’s good to hear! In fact, that’s GREAT to hear! I certainly don’t regret my decision in any way, no matter how less luxe my life has to be for a while.

    Thanks so much for reading!


  13. Joyce says

    I have a treasure trove of 24 hours coins….sadly, no one-years. No one-months either, but that’s because I was away from the rooms for a while. I have stayed sober for months at a time.

    Anyway, nice post. I commend you for your honestly and you do look happy. I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy, which is why I don’t know if quitting drinking is really what I need to do. Perhaps I just need to turn my life around in other ways.

    • Susan Linney
      Susan Linney says

      Hi Joyce:

      Thanks so much for coming back and reading each week! It means a lot to me to hear what you have to say. In my opinion, those 24-hour coins ARE a treasure (I have a ton of them too, it took me years to get to where I am now:) because they show that you had the courage to show up and try again. And all that said, I don’t know if you need to quite drinking or not — it’s your life and that’s your decision. I’m just here to share what I learned along my very bumpy path, which is different from everyone else’s.

      And I appreciate your honesty here in the comments.


  14. Rachel says

    Susan –

    Loving your columns every week! I hope to be half the writer you are someday. I’ve thought about freelance, but haven’t really had many paying opportunities come my way yet.

    I have to ask, do you ever use coconut oil as a beauty product? I started using it for my ruddy skin (rosacea) and I’m loving it! Great as a face moisturizer too.

    Can’t wait to see your next story! Enjoy your week!

    • Susan Linney
      Susan Linney says

      Hey Rachel! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the column — thanks for reading!

      I’ve used coconut oil on my hair — it’s amazing, both in products, and used raw, but never on my face. It works for you? Doesn’t leave your face too oily?


      • Rachel says

        I have combo skin and I just put it on my cheeks, but it really doesn’t seem to make your skin oily. Strange, I know 🙂 I think it’s supposed to draw out impurities, so yeah, it’s good stuff.

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