What a year will do, or, Sitting around drinkin’ is weird

1 Jul

12:04 pm

Last July 4th, I was at my first sober wedding–I had 18 days, and it was the longest I had not drunk in like, a decade? (This was my “first” 18 days, btw, so a real first. I slipped at 60, then again about a month later, then again at almost six months this past March; I’m now in the double digits again, but I still consider my sober birthday to be last June 13th).

It was a struggle–and a BIG DEAL–mainly because I was at a wedding, and with a bunch of old friends. There was one guy who was going through a divorce, and he and I shared a room. I remember watching him get drunk all over the place, and I remember feeling for the first time that intoxicating (pun intended) mixture of relief and joy that can only come with those first outings sober-when-you-could-have-been-that-idiotic-blackout-drunk. You know that feeling? It was glorious: empowering beyond words.

I also remember noticing, for the first time really, how compulsive his drinking was. I mean, I had drunk with this guy for 15 years, and I was only now noticing that he was drinking too much? It’s not like he had a LOT to drink either, but he drank often: at brunch, then at lunch, then for an afternoon pick-me-up, then again at dinner. I kept thinking, Why does he need to drink now? And now? Is he that bored with my company?

Fast forward to THIS July 4th, and that small voice inside my head has morphed into a veritable chorus: It’s really…WEIRD…that people arrange their social lives around booze, isn’t it? I look to events now and think, Does it have to center around booze? More importantly, why aren’t people aware of the fact that they’re focusing their events around getting drunk? Are we all really that bored with each other? Afraid to socialize sober? Sadly, I think that the answer is yes, for a lot of people.

For this upcoming 4th weekend, one of our friends down here invited a group of us to a bash at his house in America. We’re not going, mostly because it’d be too expensive. And, you know what’s super-awesome, unicorn-parade, glitter-balls-all-around amazing? Instead of thinking, Aww, we don’t get to go and and drink all weekend, the first, second, and third thoughts I had were, Eh, it’s going to be a boozefest and I’d rather not; and, Well, it’s going to be a boozefest and no one’s really going to remember–or appreciate–our being there, so why bother? I’m not that much of a cynic, but in essence, that’s how these events turn out; I would often drink because I was bored of the company, too.

Yes, things have changed. I never thought I’d grow up, actually. And, I realize now that it’s not so much growing up as it is OWNING up–to not just my problem, but a pervasive social norm, which is getting drunk to avoid a shit-ton of scary things that for many people include socializing sober, spending quality time with others, enjoying life instead of escaping it through booze. Making real connections with real people.

I don’t want to sound too smug, though. Different strokes for different folks, I guess, and I would have been first in like with my empty cup getting off that plane–WHERE’S THE WINE, BITCHES?

This 4th? I’m looking forward to taking some days off, sitting on the beach with my boyfriend and dogs, reading, running, planning a (sober) volunteer trip. I love snorkeling; it’s so peaceful gliding through the underwater world, enveloped in silence, watching the schools of blue or silver fish catch the sun and reflect it back in one explosive glint. I love staring at the water, listening to it move and breathe. I can do these things now, tolerate them sober, enjoy them even! And, the idea, the mere thought, of going to an event that is centered around drinking? It doesn’t appeal to me anymore. It doesn’t even make SENSE to me anymore.

In case you didn’t notice, I updated my “big day is here” widget to mark September 14th as my 180-day milestone. Gulp.

8 Responses to “What a year will do, or, Sitting around drinkin’ is weird”

  1. Out of the box July 1, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    Girl! Thanks so much for this post. I received a group text message this morning, inviting me and hubby to a 4th of July party. It is a BYOB (so I’ll bring my Pellegrino and lime). I’m only 22 days, so this is my first invite to a drinking party. I’m actually looking forward to watching everyone else go through the process of becoming…unsober. The text messages keep dinging as folks are responding with mentions of various types of margaritas that they will mix up and bring along. All about the booze. Should be interesting…

  2. Katherine July 1, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    DDG…I loved everything you said in this post! I can relate to it all. I literally laughed out loud when I read ‘WHERE’S THE WINE, BITCHES?’ I could hear myself saying that in the past. You are so right about OWNING up to our drinking. It is hard to see a problem with drinking when the rest of the whole bloody world does it and glamorizes it and makes it look so cool and magical. Why the hell do we as a society do it? Constantly! The shit is addictive and it is a depressant and makes life WORSE! Every holiday, every celebration, every weekend, nearly every restaurant sells it, and nearly every store sells it. There’s happy hour at the restaurants, there’s swim up bars in the fancy resorts, there’s drinking games like beer pong, champagne to bring in the New Year tradition, commercials on tv promoting drinking, sporting events are beer fests, music concerts and comedy clubs are all about drinking, cocktails or wine are paired with entree’s being made on the Food Network shows, etc… It is fuckin’ EVERYWHERE! So it’s up to us to say’ yes or no’ to it all. Damn is it hard to tell the media and world to “shut up” about the drinking already!!! I commend you for not going to the holiday booze bash in America! Your holiday plans sound so much nicer…really…they do! Hanging out with your boyfriend and pets at the beach sounds perfect! You are taking really good care of yourself and it shows! I love the way you think and reading your posts! 🙂

  3. Jill July 1, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    DDG, I love your posts! Because I see what would be ahead of me if I stopped this addiction. Just trying to get to day one damn it! Our whole culture is wrapped around it, and the money it brings in for some, and loose for most. Please don’t stop this blog. I’m a lurker on sites but you resonate something in me. Have you ever checked out women for sobriety on line? good alternative to aa. I wish I could beach with you! Peace, Jill ps, I hate writing, not my strong suit.

  4. carrieonsober July 1, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    I love everything about this too. It so relates to everything I am feeling now. Love being sober just wish it wasn’t in the middle of the alcohol epidemic that I seem to be living amongst. Said the same thing to my husband about the socialising and the boredom! Yes it’s smug but am seriously wondering when everyone else is just going to catch the hell on ?!
    Love this, want to print it off and read it often

    Right with you on the six months too! Can’t wait xx

  5. Mrs D July 2, 2013 at 12:10 am #

    Real connections with real people. So true. I’m still adjusting to the calm-ness of sobriety.. sometimes it feels odd, like it should be more CRAZY! FUN! at times, and it never is. Not in the same boozy way it used to be. It’s just calmer all over all the time. xxx

  6. carrythemessage July 2, 2013 at 3:49 am #

    Glad to see you where you are, DDG. We don’t miss anything not drinking. We gain a lot. We just miss the idea of what we thought we gained when we drank. Big difference. So keep on keepin on, as they say.

    Groovy – and enjoy your American Holiday there 🙂


  7. Lilly July 4, 2013 at 2:20 am #

    Oh god, I so relate to this too. I have so been feeling this too. And it feels wholly hypocritical when I was once that person who was baffled by any social occasion that DIDN’T revolve around booze. Baffled and frankly uninterested. It’s no doubt why most of my friends are big drinkers – because I realise now I distanced myself from those who weren’t without even realising it. Drinking was how I bonded socially. Drinking was my major pastime and hobby and social events were really just excuses for drinking. But, on the other side, yes, it sometimes just seems so… weird. And/or boring even. The emperor is repeating himself and looks kind of stupid and ugly when he’s sloppy…

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 6, 2013 at 3:55 am #

      Me, too, and a lot of the times, I still am somewhat uninterested. BUT, I’m also definitely becoming a lot less interested in the events where I know everyone is going JUST to get shitfaced! It’s weird, because I used to be those people, going ONLY to drink, not even really to socialize (though, I did a good job convincing the others and myself that I was there first, drinking second).

      More and more, though, it’s becoming easier to just accept those who are there to drink and don’t really want to talk to you; those who are moderate drinkers and fun to talk to either way; and those who aren’t drinking and are having a good or not so good time. It’s just everyone, all types, all stages–I like that, I like being able to actually see this now, instead of being stuck in my own head, my own world, trapped by the NEED for wine and missing out on all the observations…

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