No one else has to care about my sobriety

9 Nov

11:14 am

That’s pretty much the lesson I learned on my trip. And, I’m trying to basically ignore the nagging feeling that most if not all of my old friends–people who saw me at my worst, who drank with me and around me–acted as if either my problem wasn’t one/wasn’t that bad, or that even if it was, I didn’t deserve praise.

I don’t know. I don’t get it.

I am back, and having a great Sunday–I finally get to enjoy some down-time. Ahh…sweet breezes, warm weather, the sounds and scents all around. It feels wonderful to realize just how different my values and priorities are now. And, I have to say, it’s what helped me move forward–being forced to live outside my comfort zone, on multiple levels, and try something NEW–and the lack thereof that’s allowed some of my friends to remain stuck.

But, I digress. I don’t want to dwell too hardcore on the whole “my friends don’t seem to give a shit about my sobriety” thing. Which may or may not be a figment of my imagination. First of all, I haven’t been in great touch with any of them since swearing off the wine, and frankly, I don’t think they knew all that much about this whole journey because I didn’t divulge that much (though, to several I did, so…).

I just had this niggling feeling that they were either shocked that I was still sober/am sober at all. I just didn’t get it. They know me, and know my past, and each and every one of them knows specifically that I am, indeed, sober, and not just “not drinking.” None of them really congratulated me, which is OK, I’m used to that. They don’t need to. However, on two occasions, I had to basically interject about my sobriety because no one was asking anything. It’s a huge part of my life, the fulcrum on which everything else rests these days. So, I thought I needed to at least address it–in the context of how it’s made my life much, MUCH better. To one friend, I said, “Everything I have right now is because I am sober.” She was stunned, but got it. Melodramatic? I don’t think so.

I went out to a piano bar with one group of friends, and when the waiter came around, I ordered a San Pellegrino with lime (so delicious). My friends literally went quiet, staring at me in disbelief, as if to say, Well, I didn’t think you were SOBER sober. At a restaurant with another friend, we got to talking about not drinking because she was pregnant, and she goes, “So, you don’t drink AT ALL?”

It’s like, how many times do I have to tell you that I’m sober? And, these are close friends, people who know how bad things got. It’s why I felt like they were purposefully trying to bring me back to the ground…because of envy, because of fear, who knows.

After my trip, I honestly don’t know how much more I can interact with these three friends. It’s sad, in a way, because if they only knew the work and thought that I’ve put into my sobriety, maybe the two who seem stuck could learn from my experience! I felt like they were saying, I “hate” (not hate, but you know) you because you’re well and I’m not. It’s the exact same thing I get from my brother and his girlfriend. I refuse to forgive you: not only did you “get away” with being a drunk, but you get to be sober and happy and productive, too. It’s not fair.

Sometimes, it’s confusing to go “home again,” in terms of old friendships. I think I’ve come into my own to where, I don’t attract dysfunctional ones anymore? I must say, however, that my circle of friends where I live now is awesome: I can’t even count the number of times they’ve gone out of their way to welcome me in spite of the fact that I wasn’t drinking at parties; to offer me nonalcoholic beverages; to respect my choice to not imbibe and make me feel respected and proud, even.

I did wonder if my one friend was turned off by my being sober because she, as a doctor of psychology, is all about harm reduction. I have some new thoughts on harm reduction, and I’ll get to that later. For me, and I think for most of us who have crossed that line, ONE sip is too much. ONE sip activates Wolfie. And what we’re trying to accomplish in the end, is shut Wolfie up, not stop drinking per se.

Anyhoo, la la la. I am great, doing well, rocking the stories and hopefully, starting work as a part-time barista this week. All in all, though, I don’t need the barista work (at least for this month’s income)–but it could be fun. I got to think a lot about my three years in exile here–and how I could have done it differently (for another blog post). My trip back to the city allowed me to both connect with my old self AND let her go. And, though it was exhausting, it’s allowed me to go even further, to expand and grow even more. Oh, and that slip, or whatever it was? Totally allowed me to fully conceptualize never drinking again–drinking just doesn’t do anything but ruin the next day, it’s not how I roll anymore, and the benefits of sobriety are so mind-blowing in terms of moving forward in my life that…there is no place for wine, and that is OK. I can keep on being free. Sobriety is liberation from the old way you did shit; and it allows you a blank slate of mind, to finally try doing shit a NEW WAY.

Sobriety is banishing the “Wolfie thinking” and doing shit a NEW, DIFFERENT WAY. Because you’re free, you really are. And because you can–you are able.

Lots to do today, so I’ll sign off. More soon!

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17 Responses to “No one else has to care about my sobriety”

  1. mishedup November 9, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    You know…your post today reminded one of one of my favorite, and most freeing things I have learned since I got sober, which is that “what anyone else thinks of me is none of my business”. That first applied to sobriety, and kept me out of worrying and even CARING what others thoughts were about it…whether they supported me or not just made no difference to me. And as I have grown in sobriety and my life I see how this words keep me on MY path, straight and clear, not dependent on anyone els’e praise and not destroyed by their criticism.. People have necessarily fallen to the wayside over the years, but not too many, and I think because I never expected them to praise or to hate me….it just didn’t matter. I got sober for me, stay sober for me and my life is so much better for it. End of conversation. I don’t need anyone to understand it, as long as I do. and, oh I do!.

  2. losedabooze November 9, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    While I’m still not sober – I can totally relate to your trip back home to see friends. I have changed since moving to this new city in that I don’t partake in the daily drinking mode as they did (and still do). I don’t go to the bar after work every day. And well – by the time I go back again – who knows what my drinking pattern will look like. I congratulate you on your 100% sobriety!! I think it’s amazing!! I don’t know if that’s where I’m headed or want to be. I do know that for me the concept of harm reduction is whatever definition fits for you and if for you that’s being 100% sober then kudos to you!

    I too wonder how people will react next time I go home. By the time I do it will have been a few years… So much changes in life from day to day and for me – I can say that what I have is also due to being more mindful of my habits around alcohol and focusing more on being healthy.

  3. EdB November 9, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    Normals don’t get it. They have nothing in their world view that comes anywhere near the liberation that “I’m sober” is for people like us … and I hope you don’t mind me assuming you’re like me 🙂 To them it’s like saying “I didn’t go bowling today”.

    My thinking is “meh” – they ain’t the reason I clawed my way out of a bottle ya know?

  4. Another Day One November 10, 2014 at 12:55 am #

    EdB is right. People who don’t have problems with alcohol cannot even conceive of what it’s like for those of us who do to quit. Even my husband doesn’t understand the internal struggles I have about drinking. I try to just let it go.

  5. Belle November 10, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    I don’t know what you’re going to say, but the idea of harm reduction makes me feel wacky and out of control and super freaking … angry, I guess. It activates something that must stem from a childhood feeling of mine of being misunderstood (or talked over).

    They’re saying blah blah blah harm reduction blah blah.

    And I’m saying: No. No harm reduction. No it doesn’t work. No. No. No. argh.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 13, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

      I don’t really get harm reduction, but…I think it might be better for different stages of dependence than others, and for different stages of trying to get sober. I know that for me, I was over that line; I had tried harm reduction and it just didn’t work–it seems that harm reduction presumes an element of rational thinking to your addiction, when literally, there is nothing rational about cravings and “wolfie” thinking. You are not doing a proper cost-benefit analysis when it comes to using…

  6. furtheron November 12, 2014 at 4:58 am #

    I lost a lot of friends when I got sober… luckily most of them I soon realised weren’t really friends at all. I can’t blame them the person they knew was the bullshitting drunk not the person who was bottled up inside. Then there are others who sort of get it but still say “So you don’t drink AT ALL?” They also don’t get the fulcrum that sobriety had become in my life – when they hear I’m volunteering to help addicts/alcoholics who are coming out from prison they hear “criminal” at 10 and “addict/alcoholic” at 1 on their volume scales where I think the other way now.

  7. Lilly November 13, 2014 at 1:17 am #

    Hey friend, long time no connect so HELLO in the first instance and in the second, oh my, I have so been round and round this exact same cycle. I mean, obviously the longest I’ve stayed sober was the 7 month stint so it’s not so much the ‘you’re still sober’ as the Just Not Getting It and doing/saying wildly insensitive things – like, say, even though I’d thought we’d just last week had a big heart to heart about what a big deal it is for me to have stopped drinking and why, then the next week assuming that of course I’d be drinking tonight because it’s their birthday. Just one example, there have been numerous, and often from otherwise kind, caring, supportive people.

    What I have come to is that I have to try and accept that they will not, probably ever, get it and it doesn’t matter and it’s not about me (though it sure feels that way at times). It’s about them just simply not being able to comprehend it – either because they are normies, so it’s just too foreign, or because they have their own drinking issues, so it’s too confronting.

    Yes, in a couple of cases it’s about those people just being freaking clueless and selfish and not good friends, or not liking you getting well (or trying to) when they haven’t, but mostly it’s well-meaning cluelessness, if you know what I mean.

    And so this is why we blog or go to AA – to have the support from those who do get it, who can fully appreciate how much work has gone into this and what a big deal it is and no you ain’t gotta drink just because it’s Friday night/Christmas/your birthday/their birthday whatever the fuck.

    Meanwhile, glitter! Unicorns! Unicorns with glitter!

    Lilly x

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 15, 2014 at 11:51 am #

      Thank you! I haven’t had much time to reply to comments, but so glad you responded to this post! I guess I just need to stop feeling personally offended–sometimes, I really do think that my “old” friends don’t want to acknowledge my progress because they either feel they haven’t been properly said sorry to, or they haven’t been properly included in my journey. I don’t know. All I know is that I can’t really care, it just makes me angry and sad. On that note, I hope you are doing well…miss you over here! And thanks for this again–all great points to mull over! UNICORNS, GO!

  8. k November 13, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    Hi DD…Read the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz….short read..words to live by!! xo

  9. Paul's Letters November 19, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    When I was going through a particularly difficult period after initially getting sober I was having a conversation with my father, whose own father, my grandfather, was an alcoholic who got sober late in life.

    My dad told me that he was helping my grandfather clean out their attic one day a few years after he stopped drinking, and my grandfather started to cry. When my father asked what was wrong my grandfather told him “Nobody ever said they were proud of me for quitting drinking.” I never met my grandfather, he died about ten years before I was born, but I’ve heard stories that before he got sober he could be angry and occasionally emotionally and physically abusive. There was a lot of resentment in the family towards him and his behavior. But my dad, the youngest, had avoided the worst years of it. So he hugged his father and told him how proud he was, and it was something he reminded him of until he died.

    Since I got sober my father has made a point of telling me how proud he is of me for having stopped drinking. He knows how hard it can be. On the other hand, like you, I have some friends and acquaintances who just *can’t* understand. “You can’t have just a glass – or even just a sip- of champagne to toast the couple at their wedding?” their looks said as I raised my water glass. As the weeks turn to months I’ve realized that some people get it, and some people don’t. Hang on to those who do, and as for the ones who don’t, it’s okay to unmoor yourself from them and if they drift away, so be it.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 19, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

      Wonderful words of wisdom! Thank you for sharing your story…

    • Brandy April 22, 2017 at 9:12 pm #

      Your story made me cry! I don’t know you, but I know how hard this demon is to starve. I’m proud of you, all of you here!

  10. Janine Jamieson November 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    I am quite quiet and shy but give me a few vinos and I’m loud chatty talk over people laugh at everything . My friends are the same and we have one fabulous party constantly
    Have decided my relationship with alcohol is not healthy and it is time to stop and take up sobriety. The few friends I’ve shared this with laugh. They tell me I hardly drink that much, it’s good for me to relax and have fun, everyone does it etc. I think they don’t want me to change and are scared of things being different. No one has said good choice.I suggested to a friend we do the 100 day sobriety together and she assured me my drinking is normal and we should just stop at one bottle! I recently went to a lunch and sipped water while everyone else drank . I was later accused of behaving badly. I was quiet friendly respectful but sober. I didn’t know anyone but the host who expected me to be loud funny and out there.Its hard. My husband loves to share a bottle or so every night with dinner. He loves his funny chatty wife but I hate the 3am wake up, the yuck feeling, the memory loss the shame of saying something outrageous and just disappointment ‘ I did it again!’ When will I grow up? I think reading these comments is so good to know I am not alone and perhaps its my journey and my friends don’t need to know. I’d like my gift to me to be sobriety . Thanks all for sharing.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 23, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

      I felt really really really self-conscious–and almost ridiculously-focused–on being sober for probably the first two years! I mean…it was all about sober this, sober that. Now? I don’t even think about what others are thinking–it’s almost shocking to me IF someone has an opinion on whether or not I choose to put wine or water or juice or whatever in my mouth at a dinner table. So…I guess I mean to say, it’s a very personal journey, but ONE YOU MUST TAKE if you’re feeling bad and shitty and awful when you drink. It so doesn’t matter what your friends or family thinks–it’s your life, your health, your journey. I have learned a TON about myself along the way–and, frankly, those same friends and family seem stuck. Go for it!!! You deserve to feel great, and to be your best.

    • Brandy April 22, 2017 at 9:17 pm #

      That’s exactly what I’m going through! Everyone expecting me to drink and be fun, no one thinks I drink too much, but I do! I hate not sleeping good, forgetting things I’ve done or said, feeling less present and intelligent the next and most of all the guilt. I also have known in you heart it’s not God’s best for me.

  11. Ruby Browne November 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    It’s always amazing to me how many times I have to tell people that I’m not drinking. “Yeah, still. This is like, forever.” And that look they give you, the, “Oh yeah, we’ll see.”

    Maybe there’s part of me that needs that, though. I’m stubborn as hell, so maybe needing to prove them wrong is a good motivator.

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