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.
Social media has its faults. I’m sure you are all well aware of this. One of the biggest is how much our society has become reliant on “likes”, “shares”, “tags”, and “views”. Another big reason I’m waking up a little perturbed with the interwebs today is that the drunk lady in me really doesn’t like seeing all of those happy drunk girls out on the town in their cute little outfits and no inhibitions.
I used to be that girl. I was fun when I was that girl. Does this mean I’m not fun anymore? Look how much fun they’re having. They all have such tight and toned little bodies that haven’t been ravaged from three pregnancies. Their cute little outfits that make them look like they belong on a freaking magazine spread about “girls night” or some shit like that. All of them with their over-sized glasses of wine filled way higher than what would be socially accepted at a fancy place, but then again, we never hung out at fancy places. I miss being one of those girls.
Then, I snap back to reality.
I realize those girls are all waking up with hangovers the size of Texas, probably mad at each other for saying something stupid that shouldn’t have been said in front of a large crowd (even if it only had to do with someone really needing a tampon). There was probably someone who peed the bed (in my experience there’s always one in the group). There was probably someone who messed around or even slept with a questionable mate. I’m sure they will feel their “partying” for a few days even after the last drinks are gone and there are no more cute dresses and uncomfortably cute shoes.
Yeah, I don’t miss all of that. And that is what reminds me that I’m happy to be here – settled into my own little life with my responsible/SOBER/hardworking husband, our dog, and our three little monsters.
Yeah, I’m perfectly content right here.
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?
Life as a stay-at-home isn’t all that glamorous. (Shocking, I know!) I’m not waiting to go to dinner parties when my husband gets home from work, or trying to get ready for the ball everyone other weekend. I try to get out of the house as much as possible and go places that both work for my schedule and help me get stuff done – the gym, the grocery store, the post office, etc. (Calm down. I know I should have told you beforehand this was riveting stuff!)
There are some people, moms specifically, who choose to get together ever so often for drinks or a “girls night”. (Although, I do know some moms who may meet too early in the afternoon, on a school night, to call it “girls night”. But I digress.)
For a multitude of reasons, I don’t go to these types of gatherings. I’ve been invited to go to an early dinner at a beautiful winery to enjoy the scenery. Pass. I’ve been asked to go have margaritas at the local Mexican food joint. No thanks.
So, why not go? Maybe you are thinking, “You don’t have to drink. You have enough will power to just say no. Just go and be social.” There are two reasons why I don’t and won’t go to these kinds of activities.
- I still don’t 1,000% trust myself when I’m sucked into the vortex off a girls’ night out. (Plus, have you seen girls when they get sloppy drunk? And you want me to be the DD and take care of everyone? No thanks!)
- Drinking and being around drinking has a very personal connection with me. I realize some people have a healthy relationship with alcohol and can stand to be near it, but I am no such people. I don’t like to smell it. I don’t like to see what it does to people. And I especially don’t like it when people offer you something to drink, you politely respond with “No thanks. I don’t drink,” and then that’s followed with the infamous question, “Not even a glass of wine?”
I realize this may not apply to everyone’s situations and my reasons may be completely different than yours, but they are valid nonetheless. Don’t put yourself in awkward positions unless you are 1,000% comfortable in your own skin and know that you are in control of yourself.
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!”
I know, it’s so cliche’ to say, “Time Flies!” But you know what, it really does! I was just reflecting this morning on my husband and I being together for almost 10 years, I quit drinking nearly 4 years ago, I started being a stay at home mom 3 years ago, and I’ve been writing for the past 2 years. What a crazy ride it’s been. That sense of feeling like it’s been a lifetime, but also a blink of an eye just blows me away.
Today, I just wanted to come here and challenge you to reflect on the past 10 years, 5 years, 2 years, and the past year to see how much you’ve changed. How have you grown? Have you not changed a single bit? Did you backslide a little? Have you accomplished your goals? Did you set any goals during this time?
Now, think about the next years ahead – next year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, and even 20 years down the road. What do you see? What do you want? Where are you headed?
This may sound harsh, but I’ve had to let go of quite a few people in my life ever since we stopped drinking. Don’t get me wrong here; in hindsight, hanging out with certain people just contributed to our being drunk every single weekend. But at the same time when those people try to call and get together with you, it’s hard to not say, “Sorry, but your lifestyle was killing me and I’d rather be better than that.” (You can physically feel the condescending tones in that, huh?)
I’ve never been a person who needed multiple “besties” in my life to be content. Yes, I had multiple acquaintances growing up, but I learned from a young age to only trust a select few of my friends for the deep stuff. Luckily, this has paid off for me in my adult years because I now only have a handful of people in my life who understand our new lifestyle and don’t judge us for it. (I know I shouldn’t care what other people think, but it still hurts when I tell someone I quit drinking and they follow it up with, “Yeah, that’s probably a good idea you stopped!” Empathetic or condescending once again? You decide.)
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is to not allow the same people in your life simply because they have always been there. Sort through the good, the bad, and the “probably shouldn’t” type of people in your life and decide who needs to stay and who needs to go.
I’m not saying you write these people out of your life forever. I’m suggesting that you maybe see them less. Perhaps only on special occasion or the rare holiday when togetherness is obligatory. You definitely shouldn’t be hanging around people daily who are toxic to your well-being and don’t understand your goals.
Who knows? Maybe you leading a happy and content life sober can encourage them to do the same.