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Recovering from Addiction, 35-Year Woman Starts Non-Alcoholic Events

A woman, who battled alcohol addiction since the age of 13 and only decided to quit after experiencing a collapse in her mid-20s, shares her path to sobriety. She has since founded an alcohol-free events company aimed at fostering inclusive socializing, where everyone can enjoy a delightful drink without alcohol.

Yasmin Spark, a 35-year-old digital project manager residing in Oxford and the founder of Align Events, began her journey with alcohol at the age of 13. Attending birthday events and house parties, she consumed spirits and alcopops to cope with social anxiety, striving for “maximum drunkenness.” This pattern persisted for years, reaching its zenith in her 20s, marked by nightly drinking, severe migraines, depression, and the distressing phenomenon known as “hangxiety.” However, a transformative shift occurred in 2014.

“I collapsed, and I didn’t know what was wrong with me, so I went to the doctor, and I was diagnosed with a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy,” Yasmin shared with PA Real Life. “It was not related to the drinking, but it was the event in my life that made me realize I actually need to get support for this; I need to get mental health support.”

Yasmin’s diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease, served as the turning point. Her journey to sobriety inspired the establishment of Align Events in March 2022. The business, initially a pop-up bar, offers custom-made cocktails crafted with natural, local ingredients. Yasmin identified a gap in alcohol-free options, often treated as an “afterthought,” prompting her to create a space where such choices are prioritized.

Externally, Yasmin acknowledged that to others, it might not have seemed like she had a drinking problem. She maintained a successful career, a social life, and lived independently. However, internally, she described feeling “empty” and acknowledged using alcohol as a form of self-medication.

Now, having been sober for eight years, Yasmin expressed, “I feel really proud of how far I’ve come, but it’s not like you stop drinking and then your life’s perfect.”

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