On Wednesday’s all-new Real Housewives of New York City, the 53-year-old mother of two confided in pals Carole Radziwill and Dorinda Medley about the challenges of being back in the Big Apple after her new lifestyle change.
Slipping back into her old surroundings had presented a few obstacles, including being around people who drink.
“It doesn’t bother me, it’s just more tempting,” de Lesseps admitted, adding that going out to eat in restaurants where she would normally drink is “the hardest thing.”
“It’s not easy to give up drinking because it’s such a mental thing you’ve learned for so long. It’s like brushing your teeth,” she said. “So it’s not the anxiety of not drinking — it’s the habit of not drinking that you’re getting rid of.”
For now, de Lesseps said that while she’s not drinking, she’s doesn’t consider herself an alcoholic and isn’t sure how long she’ll stay sober.
“I’m taking it day by day,” de Lesseps said. “I feel really good. I’m keeping up the keeping up. [But] it’s hard.”
She’s been staying active, practicing yoga and getting into medication. “Not drinking is exhausting,” de Lesseps joked. “You’re up early! … So by 10 p.m. hits, I’m wiped out.”
Helping her along in her journey has been attendance at regular Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.
“The meetings just help me stay in line,” she said. “I don’t want to label myself because I feel like I don’t need to. Today I’m not going to drink. And tomorrow I don’t plan on drinking, and I’m good with that.”
What’s the biggest piece of advice she’s learned there? “You’re here for a reason and keep coming,” she said. “It’s day by day, step by step, day by day.”
There’s still one thing she had to do, though: clean out the alcohol in her apartment. “I have to get rid of it,” she said.
RELATED VIDEO: Inside The Dark Event from Luann De Lesseps’ Past Life That Caused Her to Drink
De Lesseps was arrested last Christmas Eve in Palm Beach, Florida, and charged with disorderly intoxication, battery on an officer, resisting arrest with violence and threatening a public servant. (She’s since pleaded not guilty and rejected a plea deal in February.)
She later apologized for the incident, admitting that being back in Palm Beach for the first time since she tied the knot with Tom D’Agostino Jr. before divorcing him seventh months later had “brought up long-buried emotions.”
“Unless I was humiliated publicly, I don’t think I would have done anything,” she said. “This was a warning. It was meant to happen so that I could take a step back and look at myself in a different way. I’m grateful to the universe for making me change my life.”
The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.