My husband and I struggled for a while when we first became sober. We didn’t realize how much of a challenge it would be to go out to eat and go on vacation. We didn’t like going to restaurants where the margaritas were flowing or the beer smells took over. Being around alcohol when you’re freshly sober isn’t a good feeling when you lack the will to completely turn your back on the stuff.
Now, I’m happy to say we no longer suffer from the drama that surrounds alcohol. We can go to places where there’s bars all over and the smells are wafting through the air (a reasonable amount – nothing excessive).
We recently went on a weekend getaway and had the chance to dine at some amazing restaurants. Since we don’t go out often, we decided to splurge on some fantastic meals.
What is interesting, to me at least, is the different tones you get from the waitstaff when you tell them, “No thanks. We don’t need to see the wine list.” Or, “No, we don’t need anything from the bar, but that fresh mozzarella looks amazing!” Obviously they would rather us be partaking in adult beverages to drive the bill up higher. (What we should mention at the beginning is “Don’t worry. What we lack in alcoholic drinks, we make up for in desserts!”)
Instead, we’ve found our drinks of choice. “Can we have a bottle of the San Pellegrino with fresh limes?” (It’s a fancy sparkling water.) Y’all this drink in a tall, pretty water glass is amazing! And we feel like we’re partaking in fancy drinks at a nice restaurant!
This may sound like a silly thing, but it makes all the difference in the world for the experience. Whatever helps us create lasting memories and have a good time with our lifestyle is worth it to me. No matter how silly it may seem to anyone else.
Do you ever feel like you’ve lost your ability to be spontaneous? Do you feel like that side of you or personality trait died when you decided to be sober?
Sometimes I tell my husband we are the most boring people on the planet. The reassurance he gives me goes something like this: “And? What else are you looking for?”
Those words right there stop me in my tracks any time I start feeling like I’m boring or our life is dull or that we should be more spontaneous and crazy every once in awhile. For some reason, when my husband says those words I am flooded with memories of what our irresponsible, spontaneous life used to look like.
No thanks. We’re good. We’re good right here comfy on the couch watching a family movie.
We don’t need dinners at the local Mexican food place where margaritas and Corona rack up three times more of our bill than food. Or where we have to play rock-paper-scissors in the parking lot to see who is the more sober driver. We no longer have to deal with the insanely loud music that is played at clubs and bars. (Man, now I know I’m really getting old.)
I’ll enjoy our routine. I’ll enjoy our comfort. I’ll enjoy our contentment with life.
One day at a time…
One known fact about me, well by “known” I mean my husband and my closest friends and my mom know, is that I have trouble expressing my emotions and feelings. I don’t want to be confrontational. I don’t want to stir the pot. I don’t want to make it a “big deal”.
I have been this way ever since I can remember. Growing up I felt I needed to say something only when I was so pissed off that what I said would really get my point across. This was not constructive for me or the receiving party, but it was one of the only ways I knew how to express my feelings. (Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.)
Looking back on those times in my life, I can see I was wanting to avoid a fight – a fight with my mom, a fight with my brothers, a fight with my best friend, a fight with my boyfriend, or even a fight with my coach. So I shut my mouth. I bottled it up.
But as soon as you put a drink in my hand, man-oh-man, I was fearless. I told off people that would terrify me in my dreams. Big guys at parties that could squash me with their little thumbs seemed to think it was cute that I was literally coming up to them talking trash. I don’t know why I did it except it made me feel powerful.
But now I don’t live a high school/college party life. I have a husband who needs his wife to communicate her feelings with him. And I suck at this part. I really do. I have gotten a little better, but for the most part I usually cry anytime we try to have a discussion about feelings. I think it’s a combination of how I really feel and all of those years of masking my real emotions from myself. It’s almost like my feelings are saying, “Here’s payback for all of those years you had everyone believe you were such a badass. Here come the waterworks!”
Maybe one day I’ll get all of these emotions figured out and have a handle on how to communicate effectively with the people that matter in my life, but for now I’ll settle with soberly sobbing my emotions out.
When life gets in the way and we all get super busy with all of our day-to-day tasks, we often forget to stop and say a sincere “Thank You” to the people right there with us. I’m more guilty of this than anyone! I get caught up with the kids and the household demands that I often forget to tell my husband how much we appreciate everything he does for us and that his hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
Sometimes we may feel we’re giving the people we love that gratitude and appreciation, but if those words never cross your lips how do they know your thoughts?
It feels good when people verbally acknowledge our efforts and our strengths out loud. I’m not saying you have to grovel for someone else, but a nice “Thank You” every once in a while doesn’t hurt.
I don’t know about you, but I thank God every day that my life is drastically different than it was in the past. I’m not saying that this is something self-promoting and I’m awesome for realizing what a disaster my life used to be. Just simply stating how grateful I am to not have to live that kind of lifestyle any more.
“What kind of lifestyle?” you ask. Let me paint you a little picture.
Several years ago, almost 4 to be exact, I was living a life of total chaos, only I didn’t realize it until the ticking time bomb was ready to detonate right in front of my face. My marriage was collapsing right in front of me, I was binge drinking on the weekends to drown my sorrows, I wasn’t getting where I wanted to be with my career, I was dying inside emotionally from the passive-aggressive/co-dependent relationship I had created and encouraged with my husband, and I was just downright unhappy with where my future was headed.
Needless to say, I wasn’t happy with myself or where my future was headed. I needed to make a change. I had spent so long trying to change everyone else around me – my husband, my parents pending separation and divorce, and even the uncontrollable situations at work – that I forgot I’m only in control of myself. Realizing only I can make changes in my life, I finally felt that time had come.
I’m happy to report that today our marriage is solid and strong with a foundation we tore down and rebuilt ourselves from the ground up. We are different people today than we would have been had we not decided to drastically change our lives. I quit my job that was ultimately toxic and very hazardous to my life and my marriage. We made a fresh start in a new community and continue to keep growing and improving ourselves.
What’s your story? How are you different today than you were 5 years ago? 10 years ago?
Have you ever had someone come up to you and let you know that you’re being completely unreasonable and unpleasant today? (Maybe they don’t say it in such a nice way…) Do you know when you’re being completely unreasonable and unpleasant? (Sometimes I don’t notice my behavior until my husband points it out.)
The reason I ask these questions is because maybe we don’t know ourselves as good as we think we do some days. We don’t always have to have a 100% spot on/no mistakes kind of day, but we also shouldn’t swing to the other end of the pendulum every five minutes either.
I have mood swings. [GASP!] Shocker I know…a woman with mood swings. But I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I take someone else’s perspective for my own behavior or attitude when I can’t see it. Some days I’m overtly irritable and I don’t even notice until my husband asks me for the 10th time, “Are you sure nothing is bothering you?” From which my initial mental reaction is, “You’re bothering me with all of these questions!” Hence, this is when I realize I’m being extra cranky!
The point to all of this is to know your emotions a little bit better today than you did yesterday. Know when you need to give yourself a “timeout” and step away from the chaos to gather yourself. None of us are perfect (by any stretch of the imagination), but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep improving.
Progress, not perfection…
Have you ever been to a wedding , birthday party, or reception of some sort when you realize everyone is totally wasted? Or maybe not even wasted. Maybe everyone is to the point where they are beginning to slur their words. Maybe someone stumbles every now and then or really bad dancing is going on from the shyest person in the room. That’s when you know it’s THAT time of the party.
The time that I am no longer serving my purpose as a participant of the celebration. It’s usually the time after all of the important things have happened – cutting of the cake, singing “Happy Birthday”, or opening gifts.
It’s the time when someone has non-verbally declared the original party over and the “after-party” just beginning. That’s my cue to leave.
You see, it doesn’t bother me to be around drinking when I’m serving a purpose. Being a supportive friend; celebrating a distant cousin’s new marriage; or even being a part of the family get-together. But what does bother me is when everyone stops making sense and I can see trouble on the horizon.
“No thanks. I’ve been there and done that wayyyyy too many times to count. I’ll be going now. It’s been great catching up with you, but I have to go because I’ll remember the next day all of the idiotic things that will happen here tonight and I really would rather just go to bed.” These are just some of the thoughts that have crossed my mind.
So know your purpose. Know when your threshold for “fun” is up. Don’t even let that temptation have a chance to sink into your lips or entice you with its aroma. Know when it’s time to say, “Bu-bye!”