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Tatiana Gallardo is a Cuban-Ecuadorian writer, illustrator, and photographer. When she recently moved to the West Side it coincided with deciding to take a break from booze. She illustrated the story of her sober return to New York City and said that she discovered that the Big Apple is “actually BETTER without booze.”

I recently decided to take a break from booze and move back to New York City. But I was shitting my pants thinking about not drinking and:

  1. Navigating a summer in New York City
  2. Being 24 in New York City
  3. Being young in general

All three felt so intertwined. How could I love New York City without drinking at restaurants, on dates, at celebrations, museums, bars, etc.? I was so nervous I was going to nuke my social life by choosing not to drink.

But it did the opposite. For the first time in my 24 years, I feel like a kid again. It’s so weird and wonderful and wild, but this summer, I have been having a blast remembering what natural highs feel like—from dancing to biking to eating. 

I still do everything I want to do here. I still go out. I still hang. I just don’t drink during it. Instead, I feel more aware and awake and present when I experience everything New York has to offer. I’ll order a non-alc beer or a seltzer and no one notices. No one cares.  

I illustrated the story of moving back to New York City in my 20s—and finding out living here is actually better without booze:

Tatiana Gallardo writes and illustrates a newsletter about facing her fears—like walking away from alcohol. She’s currently seltzer-ing and sketching across New York City.

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