Hmm. I’m happy — starting to feel content, I guess — to be going on a record number of days sober (today is 27!), but I feel sad. For the second time in a week, I’ve hung out with a friend who just doesn’t seem to dig my sobriety — even my attempt at it is perceived as threatening. Time for some new friends!
At the wedding, the guy friend I was sharing a hotel room with was none too happy, I felt, about me not drinking. In the past (how it’s “always been”), me getting shitfaced made it easier for him to get shitfaced, and justify getting shitfaced. Me getting shitfaced made it easier for him to hit on me and me to somehow convince myself that I wanted him to do so. Take away the booze on my part, and the whole game seems sort of pathetic. AND, it was clear to me how this person chose to be irritated over happy for me about quitting — he spent the entire time either one, refusing to acknowledge my sober attempt (not one comment or question re: why I wasn’t drinking, and that’s ODD, considering that it’s ME!) or two, seemingly rubbing it in my face by ordering a fucking drink EVERY time we sat down long enough for him to do so (I’m surprised he didn’t suggest buying a few six packs for the room!).
It’s not a big deal to me as we’re not that close and really, we don’t have much in common. Yet, I can’t help but dwell on my own clarity: it’s ME who’s approaching the situation differently, not them, and that makes a big difference. I mean, it’s pretty obvious to others that when drunks stop drinking, they stop hanging out with their drunk friends. Similar here in that, with the payoff gone (getting drunk due to having someone to drink with), I clearly see no reason to cultivate a deeper relationship with my friend. I also saw his behavior as a reaction to feeling threatened, whether because he felt he was drinking too much or that he realized that I was rejecting him, or both.
My other friend is the one whom I sensed was trying to “undermine” my sobriety the other night. Turns out, it’s more like, undermine my success and happiness! A clear case of hating on me to make herself feel better. Age-old scenario, but the question I have to ask is, why? What purpose does it serve her? Going back many years, no doubt we shared a LOT of times, good and bad. However, what kept us together was being drinking buddies. I was the one she could call, she has told me, and count on to join her at a moment’s notice for a beer or ten. AND, after many drunken blackouts and rages, she kept me because I was valuable to her self-esteem: me, a deeply “flawed,” fucked up friend who, despite her many awesome qualities, would never show my friend up. She feels better about herself due to my drunken retardedness. Minus the booze? Well, I don’t think she knows what to think or how to react, so she falls back on putting me down, or making me feel not that awesome.
Without the booze, I just can’t fall for it anymore. Plus, I’m a good 3 or 4 years distanced from our intense friendship, and I see much more clearly how deeply she misses the point: my volunteer friends admire and “see” me; my family and other family friends see my deeper side. I hide it from this person, and I think that I always have because I sensed her gaping insecurities — this is a powerful me, one that has a lot to offer, isn’t cynical, doesn’t drink. That sucks, especially when the best of friendships are really about that person always being on your side, seeing your best traits, and making those come out every time you hang out!
Again, my approach has changed, I’ve matured, and I’m ready to simply move the fuck on. I spend so much time dealing with my negativities and my cravings these days that I just can’t get into longwinded melodramas. Like, this friend will go on and on about some guy she thinks might have said or did this or that, possibly with the intent of lying but who knows? Blah blah blah. I really can’t care. I really can’t. It’s too easy to get sucked into this misery-loves-company play for my attention, but really, I don’t love misery! Not anymore! I want out of the cave, not deeper in!
Moving on is sad, especially when you’ve realized that no matter how many GREAT drinking times you’ve had, hilarious and sometimes poignant stories and encounters and dramas, drinking buddies start and end as just that. There are so many other, BETTER connections to be made, ones that yield real stories, real dramas.
(Yet…I cherish this person’s friendship, and it wasn’t just built on drinking. Evolving then, this friendship, and not ending…)