At 152 days alcohol free, I am, of course, no expert on long-term sobriety. I’m just trying to work this out for myself. But I think I am on to something here, at least for me. One secret to success seems to be adding things as a means to subtracting other, less desirable, things. Let me see if I can explain.
One of the issues that gives me trouble in creating a long term sober life is getting over the fact that there are situations that I feel a lot of pressure to participate in yet I don’t enjoy. I feel stuck because I don’t want to go, but I also don’t want to be the girl who is sitting at home being “antisocial.” And I know I can leave early and all of that, but this makes me feel antisocial too. And in the summertime these events seem to occur nearly every weekend, so it becomes a real issue.
In the past I got through everything with wine. In fact, I didn’t think I was “getting through” anything at all. I looked forward to most every social gathering. After all, I brought my best buddy wine with me and with him by my side, we had a grand old time. This was true to the point that I didn’t even recognize anymore that I wasn’t much enjoying these events. I only recognized that I seemed to be drinking quite a bit… But now that I’m sober I sort of dread them. And this causes a kind of internal confusion – what has happened to my life? I don’t like the things I used to like? Do I not like our friends? Then the natural next thought is -oh being sober is bad. -being sober is making me not like the things I used to like. -being sober is making me unpopular. -maybe I should just drink.
After 20 years or so of creating a life where alcohol is woven into just about every damn thing, it takes a while to tease out all of the various threads and have a good look at them. I sometimes feel like I don’t know what I like, what I don’t like, how I want to spend my time, etc. It’s confusing.
But here’s what I’m beginning to see. I don’t have to do all the things I used to do, but I don’t have to sit at home either. I can find something I want to do, do it, and while I’m doing that, I’m at the same time not doing the other thing! It’s sort of like trying to drink less soda. Focus on drinking more water, and you will naturally end up drinking less soda.
Yes, this does seem like it should be obvious. But you see I have become a bit of a follower when it comes to social outings. My friends are mainly those made through my husband. So we mostly have done the type of socializing he wants to do. To the point that I’m not even sure what my social life would look like if we weren’t a couple.
The good news is I started working on this without even realizing exactly what I was doing.
I bought concert tickets for a weekend that happens to coincide with a big “up north” event this fall. Husband didn’t want to go, so I invited his sister (plus Darling Daughter and her friend).
I made plans to take a trip to Chicago for DD’s sixteenth birthday. Husband and Son would rather be “at the lake.” No problem. Look at me being all kinds of independent.
I said yes to going on walks this summer with a new friend from work. This doesn’t replace a drinking party, but it does make me feel better about my social life.
I would likely not be doing any of these things if I were still drinking, by the way. The concert would have seemed too hard since husband wasn’t interested. Navigating a new city on my own? Impossible. And going for walks? Nah, too lazy.
Well just look at me – experiencing personal growth, making life improvements, and figuring out how to avoid uncomfortable situations. Amazing.
Happy Sober Sunday,