Discovering Your Talents: Athena Simpson | OYNB 095


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It’s always interesting to hear the stories of regular people who change their relationship with alcohol and end up changing their lives in the process. What can you do when you’re not being held back by alcohol? Could you have amazing adventures and achieve physical feats that you previously didn’t believe you were capable of? Today’s guest did.

When Athena Simpson decided to give One Year No Beer a try, she was remembering a time in the past when she’d given up drinking for a significant period of time. She remembered what she felt like during that period, and she wanted to see if she could achieve that feeling again. She knew that she was drinking too much, so she decided to sign up for a One Year No Beer challenge and give that a try.

“I just remembered feeling superhuman and I wanted that feeling back.”

The experience wasn’t without its difficulties. Athena says that she didn’t do much over the first month without alcohol, other than sleep. She recalls seeing others in the group who were further along in their alcohol-free journeys and wondering if she could achieve anything like that. But slowly, she started working on other parts of herself as well. One important thing she did was rejoin a class she had tried before – an aerial silks class that involved doing physical tricks with silks hanging from the ceilings. She remembers that when she’d taken the class before, she often came to class hungover and didn’t make much progress. Without the hangovers to contend with, she gained skills and became more and more interested in the activity.

At the same time, Athena was struggling with both her working and living situation. Feeling empowered by her new skills and her success at staying alcohol-free, Athena decided to join a Circus Collective which allowed her to do a residency with circus performers, to live and train with them. She applied and was accepted and headed to Indonesia. As Athena says, she was literally running away to join the circus.

The residency was an amazing experience for Athena. She learned the routine, trained, sustained an injury and recovered, and even ended up performing on a mainstage at a Guatemalan New Year’s Eve festival.

Athena’s journey wasn’t all idyllic. In today’s interview, she discusses grappling with feelings of anger and learning tools to cope with periodic waves of depression. But she’s also had some incredible experiences and major personal growth. She’s gotten to do things that she probably never would have been able to do if she was still drinking regularly. And at the time of this episode, she’s reached 500 days alcohol-free. Athena’s story shows just how transformative an alcohol-free challenge can be.



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