It takes all kinds, even drunk people

26 Aug

7:31 pm

I went to a day-long “party” yesterday–started with a late lunch and ended with a dip in the hot tub, a home-cooked pasta dinner, a night swim in the pool, and watching the MTV music awards. All kinds of people were there: normal drinkers, non-drinkers, and drunks (at least for the night). And, after all this time, I’m starting to both know and respect my limits–and surprisingly enough, others’!

It was so ordinary for me to not drink that I didn’t feel any of the usual weirdness. I wasn’t drinking–normal. I wasn’t engaging in loud chitchat–these people have never seen me do that. I wasn’t stumbling around, being overly emotional or obtuse or offensive–not even in the realm of possibility when I’m my sober (contained) self. I also wasn’t thinking, Oh, I wonder if everyone thinks I’m as lame as I feel?…because I wasn’t feeling lame. I was feeling calm, proud, self-possessed. I was feeling perfectly fine being sober, as if, being sober was just one of the infinite variations on being. Being sober simply doesn’t matter anymore. It doesn’t separate me from others. It doesn’t distinguish me as something else. You’re drinking, I’m not. Carry on.

Am I glad I wasn’t babbling on and embarrassing myself through an acidic, blurry haze? YES. Am I glad I was able to get up at 11:30 and say, Welp, it’s time for me to go, I’ve got ‘Breaking Bad’ to watch at midnight? Fuck yeah. Am I glad to not be hung over? Uh, that NEVER gets old!

What’s different, I guess, is that I really wasn’t paying all that much attention to what and how much everyone else was drinking. Most people, I’ve realized, don’t even GET the concept of sobriety, let alone have it in themselves to judge anyone for being sober–especially in a setting where they’re getting their fix. I think most people are just too busy having a lot of fun, having a little fun, or not having fun to worry about what anyone else is doing at a party.

Sure, I noticed there was champagne, but I felt too bloated to really care. I might have said no anyway had I not been sober (I have a short fuse on champagne). I was actually really thirsty toward the end of the night, and as I was drinking my bottled water, I did notice one person cracking open beer after beer; and what I thought foremost was, Wow, that looks SO like the opposite of what I want right now (which was water), not, Wow, she’s drinking a lot and really fast, maybe I should waste two brain cells contemplating HER choices?.

One thing I do when I start to feel “thoughtful” about my not drinking (like, wondering what others are thinking of me, if they’re thinking anything) is I relax. I literally make my body go slack, take a deep inner breath, and try to project this feeling of inner calm to the outside. I KNOW from experience that when most people are drinking, they’re not thinking AT ALL about those sober folks in the room. And, if there is a split-second thought of, Oh, what a wet blanket, it fades in the next instant and is replaced by the all-consuming, Where’s the wine (or beer, or vodka, or weed, or whatever)? Projecting a sense of calm to those who have been reduced to lower-brained mammals seems to me the best way to say, I am doing fine, thanks, and get them to back down and think it was their idea. πŸ˜‰

While I didn’t necessarily want to drink, I had one familiar moment of, Aww, this is SO not going to be fun/Aww, this would be SO much more fun and I’d feel SO much more a part of it if I was drinking. It was fleeting, a minor blip. What a relief, after over 14 months from my initial sober date, to finally be at a point where it feels practically normal–and good–to be sober in social settings? Let me be the first (not) to tell you: it gets better. It does, it does, it does. Your mind recovers, literally. You BECOME sober, which means that it doesn’t happen overnight. But happen, it DOES. I mean, I NEVER would have thought I could socialize sober and enjoy it– and here I am, beginning to do so.

What am I trying to say? I guess that both drinking and not drinking has become almost a non-issue these days. Within a matter of weeks, actually, that table has turned. There is a point–at least for some people, including myself, who maybe USED wine but wasn’t ultimately DEPENDENT on it–where the cravings and obsession and thoughts of drinking die down enough to be replaced by thoughts of what to do with your career, and what to do in your relationship, and everything else that’s important. I don’t want to say that I’ll be drinking again–most likely, no. However, nothing in life is black and white–a personal mantra that gets stronger and stronger with every single passing day of sobriety.

(Maybe my “dip”-turned-month-long depression finally lifted? Like someone smart once said, and I’ll say it again, Carry the fuck on!)

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11 Responses to “It takes all kinds, even drunk people”

  1. Trisha August 26, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    DDG, I was cruising along right behind you and feeling very similarly. Happy being sober, able to remember how bad it was and enjoying how good it is now. Socializing was ok and I also usually left early before things got stupid, thrilled to go to bed sober and wake up without a hangover. Coming up on 5 months and I went to a birthday BBQ yesterday. No problem for the first 2 hours and then BOOM, I have a glass of wine in my hand and I’m not even sure how my brain went from that to this, holding a fat glass of red. Another glass there and then 2 more at home and I wake up sick, hungover, dehydrated and depressed. Honestly can’t begin to figure out the how and why. Trying to be compassionate and forgiving of myself. I got up drank water and went to a great yoga class. It definitely confirms my commitment to sobriety (nothing quite like a red wine hangover) but I was committed before so it’s a little scary. Anyway, I will continue the good fight. I will not give up. I like being sober so fucking wolfie may have won that one little tiny cry-baby battle but he will not win the war. Carry the fuck on is right, sister. Trisha

    • Tracy August 26, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

      We only have one day at a time to decide not to drink. If anyone asks me do you want a drink? I say I’m not drinking today, that’s all I can do. I may drink tomorrow, but I’m not drinking within THIS 24 hours. Good for you Trisha, YOU are the victor, not the victim!!!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl August 27, 2013 at 1:03 am #

      HUGS.

      You get right back on your unicorn and carry THE FUCK on! I mean, it sounds like you’re doing just that.

      You know, I think it’s that we have some sort of mental block during cravings or fleeting anticipation over drinking–we can’t remember it ever being that bad, or something. I’d say that maybe you just had a moment come through that you weren’t mentally prepared for, when you said, Oh, OK, I’m sure a glass won’t hurt.

      My slip last time around, near 5 months, was, unfortunately, exactly what I needed to reconfirm my commitment to not drink. Sometimes you just need to feel it, to know that the buzz isn’t really worth it and you’re just creating something in your mind. Or, maybe you were getting complacent (I know I sort of am!) and you NEEDED this slip to snap out of it.

      I almost didn’t reset my “counter” last March, but I did. (The scariest part is how FAST these past 6 months have passed.) This time around (I just passed 5 months) has been easier–thanks to my slip, and to keeping in mind why I’m doing this. Maybe your slip is what you needed, to remind you that well, you feel horrible after four drinks and it’s likely that you’re always going to want four. Maybe not a year from now, but right now, you’re going to want four. And, remember, you haven’t been drinking for a long time! Your body was probably in shock. I remember going back to it after some time off, and it’s like, your MIND and your BODY are not on the same page in terms of how much you can actually drink. Be careful there. Physiology does not lie. Wolfie does, but your body doesn’t.

      Smile and carry on, my friend. You got it: wolfie-boy is a cry baby, and wolfie-boy is a sad, sorry sack of shit! Sometimes he sticks around, lurking, for days, weeks, a month in my case. But, he always backs down because he KNOWS that you’re tired of his silly games. πŸ™‚

  2. furtheron August 27, 2013 at 4:09 am #

    I agree with your sobriety is a journey bit – I suddenly realise that I’m doing something or reacting to something in a sober way without realising and think to myself “Heck, I’m getting somewhere on this”

    • Drunky Drunk Girl August 31, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

      I know, me, too! It’s usually related to my newfound perception that *everyone else* seems to not have their shit together. LOL I’m sort of saying that, there are a lot of people who engage in passive aggressive relating, and you, as a recovering person–who has put a lot of work into your own “issues”–see it much more immediately and more clearly than ever before. Yes, it is a journey, that’s for sure!

  3. diddy August 27, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Hi DDG
    I agree with you there. I had slipped in December 2012 and (in hindsight) I needed it. It was a huge wake up call as to how I could not control myself. From being around in recovery – I had all this knowledge of craving etc in my head and could feel the craving kick in !
    I also went to a boozy party this past weekend. And I felt comfortable around it all for most of the time. I have an electronic cigarette that I can smoke indoors and this really helped with any nerves.
    Hugs
    D
    x

    • Drunky Drunk Girl August 31, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

      Thanks, D! It’s hard to socialize without alcohol, it just is. And, it’s harder to do it when everyone else is drinking! LOL But, we do it, and we get through it. And, sometimes, we even enjoy it. But, always, always, always, I am glad NOT to be hungover the next day and/or to have said or did something bad. xx

  4. risingwoman August 28, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    It’s amazing how not drinking becomes a habit, right? A whole new way of life… a whole new way of living.

    And yeah, those ‘moments’ happen. I’ve written about my own moments – and I’m almost 9 years sober! These ‘blips’ never go away, but we learn how to handle them. It’s about longitude and fortitude. And time.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl August 31, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

      Nine years! Wow, that’s awesome. I’m looking forward to shorter and shorter blips… xx

  5. Theresa K August 30, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Hi. I am a therapist who runs a blog on problem drinking and substance abuse. I really like what you are doing here. Here is a link to my latest piece which I think you will enjoy.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl August 31, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

      Hi, Theresa,
      Thanks for reading! I appreciated your post re: the aging (members) of AA. I think there’s a lot of educating to be done surrounding why, in fact, it just doesn’t work that well for “problem drinkers,” and quite frankly, for the growing majority of educated and creative young people who know about the science of addiction. And who understand that problem drinking behavior is something that can be “recovered” from. Yeah, there is a LOT of educating and elucidating to be done re: AA and what one should expect to get out of it and how it may or may not serve everyone/most.

      Anyway, I look forward to reading more of your posts!

      -DDG

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