The Party Girl Challenge, One Year Sober

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NEWSFLASH: Sobriety is difficult.

Last night I had plans to go out with one of my closest friends. Which translates to: a drinking friend. We haven’t really been out since I quit. I haven’t been out. I tried blaming the lack of invites on my friends but they were quick to retort that I haven’t really been calling them or inviting them places either. So I decided to go for it…called a close girlfriend and said let’s go out. Going out has always meant bars but I figured I was ready, i could handle it. And I am lonely, a little bored…I need some girlfriend time. I had to do something for work and couldn’t meet up until 9PM so I asked where she wanted to meet. About 5PM she texted back saying, “I don’t care where we go. I am headed to get some dinner with a group of neighborhood friends. We have been drinking mimosas all day. :-)

I read this and reacted with anger, frustration and sadness.

I wasn’t sure why it made me mad. But I was mad. And in the spirit of honoring my feelings, I decided to just let myself be angry for a little while.

For a while I just felt like it was insensitive of her to be drunk when we were supposed to hang out later…her sober friend.

Then I thought maybe I was just jealous. Yeah, I was a little jealous.

And then I seriously considered canceling. I figured she would probably be either tired once the buzz wore off, or drunk…which meant I didn’t want to be there with her. I had been prepared to go to bars but somehow it felt different to me, arriving in a group of women who had been drinking all day. I decided to decide later and went to my work event.

Afterwards, when I got in the car, I decided just to go and see what happened. I took deep breathes, told myself it would ok. As soon as I got out of the car and walked into the group of women, I could smell the wine. A sober friend described once that sometimes the smell of alcohol will make her salivate. That’s how I felt. The smell of the wine was powerful and I did feel a strong wave of desire. My friends hugged me, they were clearly tipsy, one more than the other. The one I had plans to hang out with, she was slightly tipsy seeming but not bad at all. I felt instantly at ease. She can handle her alcohol. She rarely gets drunk. I have seen her a little drunk a couple of times and a LOT drunk only once. She is the type who paces herself and stops when she starts to feel drunk. She has self control. When we said goodbye to the larger group and got in the car to head toward downtown, the reality of where my anger had been coming from really hit me.

I am angry because sobriety is difficult. I don’t know what to do with myself. I am not comfortable going to bars. Not really. I say I am because I want to be with my friends, but that’s just me lying to myself. I don’t want to go to bars. I don’t know where I want to go and I don’t know how to behave or relax or be normal as a sober person. I am not comfortable with sobriety. I wrote yesterday, all the great things about sober living and they are all still true.

But it’s hard to be the sober one. It’s hard not drinking. And it’s harder not smoking. I am weaker than I want anyone to know. I am not ready to hang out in my old drinking places. I wish I were, but I am not. I hope I will be someday, but I am not there yet.

My friend said right away that she didn’t care where we went. Knowing that she had already spent the day in drinking mode i figured she really didn’t care, she wasn’t just saying to make me happy. So we headed to a fringe theater that I love and watched a guy do a one man show. Then we went to my favorite funky eating place and had brussel sprouts and fried chicken. We laughed and talked and had a wonderful time. She never seemed to mind that we weren’t in a bar. She is my friend, she loves me. BUT:¬†At dinner there was a table of four to the right of me. They were sharing a bottle of red wine. The color of the wine was deep red, a really heavy looking Malbec. That’s my favorite. They were all tipsy and animated and laughing and talking. Watching them, I did want to be them. I did. Then, as though the universe was playing an evil trick on me, in spite of the smoking ban, several people around me all lit up cigarettes…I am not sure why. Here I was surrounded by the wine I used to love drinking and the smell of cigarettes drifting past my nose and I wanted to cry. But I didn’t, we paid the check. We got out of there. It was fine. I made it through. SO even though we didn’t go to bars, it was still difficult. I think that is why people who are trying to get sober hide in their houses. I can’t do that. I won’t.

Next time, I will just say, “I want to spend time with you but I am really not ready to hang out in bars yet. Would you like to go out and just hang out at places where drinking is not the focus like it is in bars?” Most of my friends are mothers and we just don’t get out that often. When we do, we always go to bars. I can understand if they don’t want to give up their one night out every few weeks to hang out with sober me, doing sober things. But hopefully they won’t mind doing it every other time….or once every few months.

In the meantime, I really do need to find some sober friends. I know you are out there, sober people. I just need to find out where sober people hang out. LOL.

Happy Sunday.

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14 thoughts on “NEWSFLASH: Sobriety is difficult.

  1. Awesome on said:

    good job killer!!!

    One down a few more to go :) the battles will keep stacking up like that until the war is won.
    strength and honest communication is your biggest tool at this point.
    staying away from places where you know people are drinking might be a good idea in the start. you will find as you get stronger that it is not about what others do or where they do it, your quit is yours! some people don’t have an addiction to alcohol and don’t dring till they drop that does not make it easier or harder for you, just different for them. some people cant stand milk and get sick if they eat or drink dairy but they still go to the store where they sell milk that store has a lot of other stuff :)
    there are a lot of sober people out there, you will start noticing us now that you no longer are looking at us though the bottom of your red wine glass :)

    • “the bottom of my wine glass” love that. Thanks awesome friend. I almost called “you know who” to see if she wanted to hang out with me. LOL…I figured she was used to hanging with sober people.

      • Awesome on said:

        well so much for being an anonymous voice on your blog :)
        call her anytime, she would love to hear from you, she is used to sober people and all the problems they make!!

      • Sorry…forgot about the anonymous part. LOL. I fixed it and just so you know, very few people I know are reading this blog. VERY FEW. XOXO

    • Awesome on said:

      Im just kidding, I am very proud of my quit and I am very proud of yours too!!

  2. Rhonda Geske on said:

    You have imposed a timeline of “shoulds” upon yourself. Many recovering alcoholics would not recommend going to a bar or any place where alcohol is served for 1 year. I know you think you “should” be able to go hang out with your friends in a bar 3 months sober and I’m glad you held true to your course but it’s a dangerous place to be. I’m glad you realized that and I know you’ll find sober friends who are just as much fun, it just takes time. Eventually going to a bar may be ok for you. I’m not really tempted in a bar anymore but I just really don’t like the atmosphere. I’m uncomfortable around drunk people and honestly I’m so critical of them, I can’t help it. I was most critical of my Mom because I just couldn’t understand why she couldn’t stay sober..did she not love us enough to want to save her own life. I think that’s the root of my judgement and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to overcome that.
    Please give yourself a break as to what you think you should be able to do. I know it feels lonely because you’re someone who loves to be around people but maybe right now what you think you need and what you really need are not the same. Maybe being quiet and alone is another feeling to deal with. I don’t know maybe that’s not true at all but I do know that trying to put yourself in your old familiar places in an effort to connect with a piece of your old self is a temptation that you don’t need. I know how strong you are but alcohol addiction is also very strong. Be kind to yourself girl!! Love you

  3. I am right there with you – I was in a bar for a work function last week and had to leave almost 3 hours early. It makes me really bitter and angry to see everyone else get drunk and have fun. I am just trying to find other hobbies where I may be able to meet some sober people (going to try yoga this week). Frankly, I may be ditching about 90% of my friends because their lives revolve around booze and other unhealthy things.

  4. umalicious on said:

    i’ve been going to see films a lot. when i meet my friends, we go for a quick lunch. i often just leave when they want to drink elsewhere. i’m alone or with my dogs A LOT. honestly, i’m kind of getting used to it. i live in chicago. are you close? i can teach you how to knit :-) and i can teach yoga to you crazy land girl if you help me with my skating :-)

    • You are so right. I guess I am not being honest with myself. That’s a pattern too. Thanks!

  5. I do a ton of sober stuff and you are always welcome to join in…I will keep inviting you until I get the yes hehe.

    I know this is a hard and long road for you. When you have those thoughts of “I’m weak…more than I want others to know…” just remember that a lot of “alcoholics” who realize they have a problem don’t do anything about it…even after hitting their rock bottom. YOU DID. And no matter how hard it is, you are sticking to it. I know several people who say they are going to quit and do for a couple of weeks…then the fling themselves off the wagon in a moment of temptation. YOU DIDN’T. You are sticking to this. If your friends really are who and what you say they are to you, then they will understand and CONTINUE to love you as a sober person. I am one of those friends. We are not here to judge you. We love you and will continue to support you through each day of this journey. On the flip side of that, you have used alcohol as your crutch for years…now you’ve got us. Let us be there for you as you have been for us. You aren’t alone…at least you don’t have to be. I see strength in you that you don’t think you have…but it’s there. Love you. XOXO

  6. Mad, jealous, irritated, wistful, lonely. Man, you sound like you are 90 days sober or something. ;) I totally get you though. It was hard for me to watch tv and see all the partying happy beer-drinking people. I wanted to throw my shoe at the tv! (but I would have quickly run out of tvs And shoes). Feel what you need to feel so you can process it, understand it, and learn from it. It’ll get easier.
    I read somewhere that like 33% of us choose not to drink, for any variety of reasons. So I KNOW sober people are out there, probably under our very noses. We need some sort of secret handshake LOL.
    Hang in there my new friend, and thanks for keeping it real.

    • Thank you! Some days are better than others. This post came just when I was starting to think not drinking wasn’t very difficult. I guess I needed a reminder. Have a great day!

  7. GOOD JOB!
    I don’t know where you live, but if you are anywhere in the Los Angeles area, you can come hang with me sometime. Although, I don’t have this struggle personally, I know many people who have in the past, and still do. Sober fun is just fine with me. That way, I know I will remember it :-)

    • I am in Texas…we have family in Santa Barbara…maybe someday! I am finding sober people here and getting more brave with telling my friends I need to do non-drinking things if they want to be with me. Its a process!

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