Thursday, November 3, 2016

One Year Sober With Comedian Nick Lavallee

I’ve known Nick since our days at Central High School. He is one of the most funniest people I know and has just accomplished something huge. Today it has been officially one year since he decided to get sober and live a healthier lifestyle. He has faced some challenges this year, for example, being a comedian and having to be around bars and nightclubs where the alcohol is always flowing. With the help of friends, his dog, Star Wars legos, and dreaming of looking fierce in a denim jacket, he is happier mentally and physically. Here is his story.

Tell us about yourself in a few sentences.

I'm a comedian from New Hampshire. My day job involves media production. I've met Justin Bieber, I've kissed Sally Struthers, and my high score in Ms. Pac-Man is somewhere around 80,000. Despite this, I had become over indulgent with alcohol while battling anxiety and depression. Over the past year, I have stopped drinking altogether and I have lost 60 pounds by choosing to live a healthier lifestyle.


When did you realize that you needed to get sober?

I have never felt lethargic, complacent, or unmotivated, but in 2015 I became those three things and that's when I decided to chose sobriety. I stopped drinking on November 3, 2015. Externally, I didn't like the way I looked in photos and on stage. I felt my presentation didn't match the person that I was mentally. Also, I had always wanted to look great in a denim jacket. A skinny guy in a denim jacket is such a classic, rock n' roll, cool look. An overweight dude in a denim jacket just looks like he owes child support - not cool.

What was your initial plan to get started?

I knew quitting alcohol would only be effective if it meant a lifestyle change. I read how easy it could be to replace the alcohol with other vices, some smoke, others crave sugars and fatty foods. Day one, I made a point to eat healthier and take my dog, Sir Paul McCartney, on longer walks. After the new year, I began running at the gym, doing crunches, and lifting light weights. I never joined crossfit, I don't believe in a quick-fix, and I certainly do not believe in God. There was no religion to be found in my sobriety, be it Jesus or a crossfit cult. I'm 100% religion free.

What was your biggest obstacle when you first started to get sober?

The biggest obstacle was having idle hands. Previously, when the weekend would arrive, if I didn't have a gig, I'd find myself drinking anywhere I could. I replaced bars with bricks! I would stay home to build Star Wars Lego sets to keep myself occupied and it felt therapeutic. I also began playing music again, I am a guitarist and singer and was the frontman of a pop punk band in a previous life. Both of these things helped me overcome having those idle hands from sobriety.

What surprised you the most while getting sober?

The most surprising realization about my sobriety is recognizing how significantly ingrained drinking culture is in our society, especially in New England. Our recreational activities seem centered around drinking alcohol.

What motivated you to keep going?

Love has been my greatest motivator as I learned to love myself again. I fell in love with someone just over 8 months into my healthy lifestyle and I've been able to accept the subsequent heartbreak, because of sobriety. Neither of these things would have been possible if it weren't for having quit alcohol. Love continues to motivate me, before becoming sober, I didn't feel much of anything and now I feel everything. I'm motivated by the power of love and how valuable our time on this planet is. Coincidentally, time and love are the biggest themes in Huey Lewis' two most popular songs.

Weight loss has been a positive effect of your getting sober. Besides cutting out alcohol, did you change your diet and/or work out?

My diet consists of eating three meals a day and making sure I get at least an hour of exercise in daily. I try my best to avoid sugar and carbs, but I haven't given either up entirely.


Who have been your biggest supporters?

My biggest supporter is Sean Tumblety, a great friend, sober person, and fellow comic. My friend Desiree, who is the closest I've ever had to a sister, so when she chirps I listen. The guys I play music with been a big support, I'm not sure if they recognize how important playing music has been through this process.

What was the best advice you received while getting sober?

One day at a time!

What is the best part so far of getting healthy and sober?

The best part about getting healthy and sober is feeling 10 years younger. Second to that is having friends who now feel inspired to quit alcohol, followed by buying new clothes and old clothes fitting again.


Since you are a comedian and sometimes have to perform at bars and nightclubs, how do you keep yourself in check and avoid temptations?

The first 6 weeks were brutal, I produce a weekly showcase and everyone's IPA's would smell amazing. I would watch comics have a bad set and go for a beer, I would watch others have a killer set and celebrate with a beer. I would just perform and one way or another just have a Diet Coke. That was my treat, Diet Coke, sometimes a sugar free Red Bull.

Did other comedians help you with your sobriety?

I witnessed fellow comedians, Dan Soder, Joe List, and Will Noonan calm in conversation with others, comfortable on stage, and were coincidentally years into sobriety. I put those few things together and at some point decided I wanted to feel that way too. Their demeanor on and off stage was partially inspirational to my own sobriety and being acquainted with each, I've been able to express that to them.

Has your comedy changed at all since getting sober?

My comedy has changed since getting sober. I'm more present on stage and I live for the moment. Old material is delivered differently, I have a stronger sense of actual confidence, not fake, nothing feels forced. Everything feels more natural. I've written about 12 new minutes on how I "recently lost weight" and "recently quit drinking". I am looking forward to seeing what this next year brings now that I'm just living a healthy lifestyle, writing from the perspective of my new version of normal.


Do you get treated differently now that you are sober? Is it negative or positive?

Women look at my differently, which is a positive. Dudes are envious, which is a negative. I hope it stays that way, have you seen how cute I look in a denim jacket?

Have there been any dramatic changes in you, your attitude or life since becoming sober?

Yes, my attitude has changed for the better. I am a significantly more positive person. I no longer struggle with anxiety. Panic attacks are non existent. I smile way more. I get complimented on my laugh and positive energy.

Proudest moment so far?

My proudest moment is hearing from others with their desire to quit drinking as well.

What are your future goals?

My future goals are to find happiness in each day.


What advice do you have for people who are struggling want to get sober and live a healthier life?

Stop thinking or talking about it and instead take action.


Healthy snack: Fruit, nuts

Workout: Jogging

Hobby: Guitar, songwriting

Way to relax: Building Lego

Cheat meal: Pizza every Friday for lunch

Drink: Polar Seltzer (Orange Vanilla and Green Apple)

TV show: Saturday Night Live

Movies: American Movie (Documentary), Star Wars original trilogy, and the Back to the Future trilogy.

Book: Just finished NOFX's Hepatitis Bathtub, currently reading Ready Player One, and "Dice" Clay's bio.

Celebrity: Sally Struthers

Comic: I'm picking favorites that are people I've come to know through performing... Doug Stanhope, Brody Stevens, Andrew "Dice" Clay, Louis Ramey, Bob Marley, Dan Soder, James Adomian, Emma Willmann, Sam Jay, and Ben Kronberg.

Cities to perform in: Chicago IL, Portland ME, Manchester NH, Boston MA, and Providence RI

Singer/Band: Weezer

Sports team: Chicago Cubs

Body part: Eyeballs

Workout album: Andrew WK's "I Get Wet" LP

Quote: "If you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything." - Dr. Emmett Brown

Check out a youtube clip of Nick performing:


INSTAGRAM: WickedFunny
TWITTER: @TheOtherDude

Added by popular demand, Nick in his denim jacket:


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