The last week or two I have had a lot of social events. Last Saturday night, and last night, I went to parties. Since I’ve quit drinking in the last 3.5 months, I’ve been out for dinner at restaurants with friends, and to a couple of bbq’s, and now I’ve been to a couple of parties. Both last Saturday and tonight were 40th birthday parties. Both were are rented out bar/cafe spaces with food, DJ’s, lots of people, and of course, a bar full of booze.
The first rule, I think, about surviving a party sober, is to get a drink in your hand as soon as you get there. Last night I had two drinks. A limonata san pelligrino and a regular one. The bartender put it in a mason jar (aka a hipster glass) with lots of ice and it looked just like any other cocktail. So no one knew I wasn’t drinking unless I told them.
There are actually quite a few people at the parties that know I am sober. My close girlfriends are starting to tell me how proud they are of me, which feels awesome. It is also getting easier to talk about it with other people besides my closest friends, and I am enjoying the authenticity this allows me. I get overwhelmingly positive remarks about being sober. I don’t usually tell people the whole story and the gory details, but I don’t feel like I need to make things up either. I usually say a version of I didn’t like how alcohol made me feel and I felt I was drinking too much. I find that people are interested but not nosey about it. I have had a couple of people talk to me about how they have concerns about their own or someone else’s drinking. Because I am so new to sobriety I don’t feel that I have any answers, so I just listen and let them know that I am here if they want to talk more about it.
I had my first non alcoholic beer the other day, and it was no big deal. I haven’t really wanted to go down that road because I’ve been scared that it will make me want to drink, but honestly it didn’t. I am not a big beer drinker anyways and although I enjoyed it, I couldn’t even finish it. That was funny to leave a glass not empty! A first for me. Luckily, it did not increase my craving for alcohol. But I was out at a pub meeting a few friends and my friend who is pregnant was having one and I wanted to give it a try. I don’t think it’s something that I’ll do very often but it’s nice to know that it’s there as an option. It did make me feel less conspicuous about not drinking.
Right now I feel really good about my sobriety. I am happy I’m not drinking and I am seeing the positive impacts of it in my life. Every weekend I’ve been going for beautiful hikes. I’ve been getting to yoga classes. I’m doing my Refuge Recovery and getting more into Buddhism and meditation. And my newest passion is Zumba- I am in love with it. Such a good workout and so fun! Work has been really challenging and stressful lately, and I am so thankful that I am not hungover at work. I am sure I would be doing a poor job and be hating every minute of it and myself.
My partner and I have been going through some struggles, but I at least feel present to deal with it now. Before when I was drinking I didn’t know my head from my butt at times so everything seemed pretty dark. Now I am starting to tease out who I am and what I want. In some ways it is scary because there are times when I’m not sure if my partner and I want the same things in life. But on the other hand I feel capable of making better decisions because I have a clear mind and can sort through my emotions. I am lucid all of the time! Before I was between tipsy, drunk, hungover, exhausted, and disappointed in myself the majority of the time. What a way to live! Cringe worthy. I am so grateful that is not my life anymore.
I have an overactive mind and I can see why I wanted to drink to make it slow the fuck down. But I now am learning to do this through mindfulness. I have studied mindfulness for years but it was pretty much impossible to be serious about it when I was drinking. Same with yoga. I was always on the surface with these things because I couldn’t really absorb the benefits. I was too confused. Too dehydrated. Too sick. Trapped. Now I am really practicing these tools. Growing. Changing. Slowly, but surely.
I am becoming more confident and I think that’s why I can go out to parties now! I don’t care so much that I’m not drinking- I feel good about it. I do find it challenging to talk all night long so I leave early. But no one seems to mind.
And I am happy to leave early so that I can get up and out to enjoy these incredible days…
These pictures were taken on my last two hikes on the same trails- the first two last weekend it was sunny and almost warm. The last two were from yesterday- only one week later and winter has arrived! Both hikes were absolutely gorgeous.
My heart is full.