Sober Out Loud – 

Sept. 10, 2020 – “I see it everywhere,” she said of alcohol on social media and other online sites. “I actually had to stop listening to the podcasts that I really enjoyed because they normalize all of the heavy drinking by saying ‘we need to or we have no other choice.’ It’s just very scary for me.”

Scary, because Hanson has called herself an alcoholic since she was 21 years old. Now she’s hoping to turn the social media tide a bit by bringing online attention to sobriety. Hanson, who grew up dancing and in musical theater, says she started drinking when she was just 16 years old. 

“The first day I drank I got super drunk —binge drank — and I’ve been a binge drinker ever since,” she said. “I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve had just one drink. I’m always someone who, the second I start drinking is like, ‘okay, I need to just start taking shots.’ I’ll have four or five drinks, at least. I’m off to the races.’”

She says at first, the heavy drinking didn’t get in the way. In fact, she says while she drank, she felt relief from the severe anxiety she had experienced since childhood.

“At first it was like ‘oh my gosh, no more anxiety. Everyone is super fun and they like me. I felt on top of the world,” said Hanson. 

But then she started failing classes, and the anxiety that had initially disappeared while she drank, came roaring back.