To Drink or Not to Drink

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.

  1. 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!)
  2. 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.

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You Know, THAT Time of the Party

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!”

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Hello friends! I’m so happy to be back with you today after a week of travelling. I was in another country for a dear friend of mine’s wedding. While we were gone, my husband and I had time to reflect upon many things in our lives.

One of the more notable mentions is the fact that we weren’t 100% ready for a wedding/party type atmosphere. We were in a country in South America where the liquor and beer flows freely during any kind of celebration. My friend’s family in particular likes indulging in drinks just as much as any American family.

We didn’t even think (or I guess I should say I didn’t think) about the rehearsal dinner and the reception being that much of an issue. But then they brought out the serving trays of beer and shots that kept rounding our noses every few minutes. (I mean, the waitresses were really doing their jobs in making totally sure we really didn’t want any.)

We tried to find the just the right amount of time between staying at the party and not being rude by leaving too early. Finally, we had all of the water our bladders could handle and enough temptation to feel like we’re playing with fire.

We left the party early as well as the wedding reception because we had served our purpose. We were there to celebrate our friend’s wedding, meet the people important to her, and enjoy the party. We were not meant to linger around tempting fate to see how long we could really stay before one of us accidentally drank the champagne sitting right next to our water glass.

We made it! We did it! We grow stronger every time we venture out to another uncomfortable social atmosphere and I’m proud of us. My husband even salsa danced with me…SOBER! I feel more in love with him at that very moment!

 

Celebrating Another Holiday

Sometimes the holidays can be hard. Especially when you know you’re going to be surrounded by people getting belligerently drunk and all you want to do is say “Hi!”, grab some of the banana pudding to-go, and get the hell out of there as fast as humanly possible.

But, as hard as it may be tolerate other people’s choices and behaviors, I believe it’s also good to get out of our comfort zones every once in a while. If you aren’t challenged to be around people who are drinking in a casual social setting, then how will you ever be able to celebrate with the ones you love?

If you think about, almost all major celebrations have some sort of casual drinking involved. (At least in my family there always has been! Hmmm…piece of the puzzle? I digress.) Wedding receptions, graduation parties, birthday celebrations, bachelorette parties, Memorial Day pool parties, 4th of July cookouts, Labor Day lake parties, and then there’s always the actual traditional holidays of the year where people tend to “have an excuse” to drink.

I’m not trying to say that people who drink are monsters and should be told that they’re making poor life choices at every BBQ this summer, but I do believe everyone who is in recovery needs to find their own way to be with the people they care about regardless if there is drinking involved or not.

When my husband first started the road to recovery and we were faced with uncomfortable social situations where we knew people would be drinking, he told me he would repeat the question, “What is my purpose here?” over and over again to remind him that he wasn’t there to drink. He was there to celebrate whatever the occasion. He was there to high-five someone on another trip around the sun. He was there to hug the neck of the relatives he only gets to see once or twice a year. He was there to congratulate someone on another milestone achieved.

What is your purpose this weekend? Are you meeting people for a pool party? Are you hanging out with friends and relatives chatting over the BBQ and catching up? Whatever your purpose is this weekend, remind yourself of why you are there.

How Do You Heal a Broken Heart?

This is one of those questions that will never have a clear cut answer. Your broken heart may be a completely different experience than mine. Yours may involve a significant other, while mine may involve a bratty teenager who said mean things. Your broken heart may consist of fighting and bickering, while mine was a slow death by a thousand cuts from someone continuously ignoring me.

There are endless possibilities on how to have your heart broken, but how do you put it back to together? How do you heal a broken heart? How can you make yourself whole again?

I believe the first step is to believe that you deserve to be happy again. Period…the end. No magical formulas to the equation. No tricks behind a curtain. No “fake it ’til you make it” when it comes to healing. You simply have to believe that you deserve to be happy.

Everything may not fall directly into place once you decide your worth in this world, but it definitely gets easier to arrange the pieces of your heart into new shapes. Maybe we aren’t meant to put the pieces back exactly how they used to be. Maybe we are meant to mold, stretch, shrink, knead, weave, and to create new pieces from the old ones that were shattered.

I’m not a therapist and I don’t claim to be an expert in the psychology of the human mind, but I know that when I feel that I deserve to be happy, life seems easier. Things figure themselves out. People are nicer to me (probably because I’m nicer to them). Not all of the odds are stacked against me.

If you’re suffering from a broken heart today, I hope you can find a way to fit your pieces (old and new) back together again.

Coming Out of the Alcoholic Closet

“Some people may not understand. What if those people judge me? How else can I explain why I’ve blown them off on their annual social event? What if they find me out anyway? Will they tell other people? Will they judge my husband and I as being different?”

These are some of the irrelevant but very real fears I’ve had when thinking about telling a close friend of mine about having a drinking problem. I still don’t feel like I can justify telling my husband’s story to someone else, but I can own my story. Except, I must admit, it still feels really awkward sometimes.

I know I shouldn’t care what someone else thinks about my situation, but when it’s a close friend and not just an acquaintance I may only see a few times a year, the game changes a little bit. I want to share who I am with this person, but how can I do that while not lying or completely scaring them off? (I have some pretty outrageous stories from my past, as I’m sure we all do.)

Here is my advice, you’ll know when it’s time. You’ll know who is worthy of your story, and it’s not everyone. You’ll know if you should finally say something, or if you should even bring up the subject at all.

When it comes to your story, you are the one holding the pen. You are the one crafting the pages of your life, not someone else. If you feel the need, then jump in and tell your audience (your friend or family member) how your story really unfolds. If they won’t appreciate the intimate details of your life, then they don’t deserve to hear your story in the first place.

Working Up the Courage to Say No

When I first quit drinking, I thought I was going to be bombarded every day by people offering me a drink. It was an irrational fear or mine I had for a few weeks until I realized the world doesn’t revolve around me anyway. (Who knew, right?!) I had this whole speech planned out in my head just in case I was caught in a situation where I would have to explain myself. The truth is, when you don’t surround yourself in situations where you have to explain yourself, you often don’t have to say anything at all.

If you are worried about someone offering you a drink in a bar, don’t go to a bar! If you are worried that happy hour may too tempting, skip out on it! If you are consumed with the idea that someone may offer you a drink you can’t refuse at the reception, don’t hang around where the drinks are being served!

I know a lot of this is easier said than done, especially for someone in those first few hours, days, and weeks of sobriety, but it is doable.

I have also found it easier to say “no” to other things now that my need to please people has been thrown out the window. Accepting everything invitation to volunteer for this or that at my kids’ schools has been replaced with only the things I really want to do. Raising my hand to handle all of the family functions for the year has been replaced with bringing something to the potluck.

When we can say “no” to the simple things, it makes it easier to work up the courage to say “no” to the hard things too. You can do it…I believe you can do it!