We hear of many powerful stories that illustrate an individual fighting to obtain and maintain their sobriety. However, it’s rare that we hear people that were able to recognize a developing dependency on a substance and have the strength to put an immediate stop to it. In this instance, we’re referring to the Emmy-nominated actress, producer, filmmaker, writer AND musician, Anna Akana—yes, she is that amazing.
Having a unique story and background, Anna uses her platform to illustrate to her audiences the many battles she’s faced throughout her life. From depression to abuse to toxic relationships, Anna isn’t afraid to use her unstoppable spirit as a mechanism for change. Captivating all those who listen, Anna Akana is using her gifts to not only tell others what she’s been through, but to show people that they aren’t alone in their battles.
Luckily, we were able to connect with Anna and dive more into her life and her career.
Soberocity [S]: What does sobriety mean to you?
Anna [A]: Sobriety, to me, is a period of disengagement from my vices in order to do internal work.
S: When was the day/time that you decided it was time to share your story?
A: I don’t remember exactly when I decided to share, but the moment I realized I was using alcohol to escape my problems and developing a physical dependency on it is when I stopped. I have clinical depression and one day realized that I was developing a dependency on alcohol when I cracked open a bottle of wine alone at home. When I smelled it, my body had this really odd reaction—as if my body came alive. It felt like my body and brain were given me a ton of dopamine and was very excited to have this drink; I was just thinking I really don’t like this. It really scared me because alcoholism runs in my family. So, I just poured it down the sink and knew I needed to do a year of sobriety, at the very least, because this wasn’t a healthy way to cope.
S: What are some of the healthy coping mechanisms that you would recommend others to utilize?
A: As annoying as it is to hear—meditation, journaling, yoga, exercising and eating right. All the simple stuff that isn’t exactly easy but goes a long way when incorporated consistently over time.
S: Did you face any hardships on your road to sobriety?
A: I forgot how normalized drinking is in our society! Some people get visibly uncomfortable when we go out to dinner and they want to drink but I won’t. I don’t mind it, of course, but there’s a strange reaction to it.
S: Are there any success stories you can tell us about people you have reached through your platform?
A: I’ve had several pro-lifers change their minds based on a short I did called, Take Your Birth Control. I showed them my abortion story and it fortunately reached quite a few people who had initially been against it. Videos of mine have convinced people to seek therapy for emotional issues, stop mutilation or self-harm, and on some cases stop an attempted suicide.
S: If there was anything that you could tell anyone fighting to get to sobriety, what would you tell them?
A: Surround yourself with people who support your journey. I lost a few friends when I went sober.
S: What are some of the experiences/knowledge that you take from your own journey and put into your music for others?
A: That there’s always something to be grateful for. We can reframe the tragedies of our lives into things that serve us, provide us with purpose, and help us grow.
S: Would you recommend that people struggle with sobriety also seek some form of therapy?
A: I think everyone needs therapy. It is such a useful device for self-awareness and betterment. I can’t recommend it enough to any human being.
S: What do you see in the future for the world of sobriety?
A: Although I don’t see myself being sober for the rest of my life, I do love the idea of bouts of sobriety to re-align with oneself.
S: If you could go back in time and tell younger you one thing, what would it be and why?
A: Listen to the soft voice in your head. Ignore the ones who are shouting. That one loves you.
With making the decision to stay committed to sobriety, not let the norms of this society steer her from her goals and helping others with the same struggles along the way, Anna Akana is just getting started. Her latest music video to her new single Intervention exemplifies her struggle with alcoholism, but also how this struggle wasn’t going to defeat her.
“I realized a while ago that even though my problem wasn’t severe, I did need to improve my boundaries with drinking. Intervention’ was born from a place of taking responsibility for myself.”