Important lessons learned the hard way: Fiercely protect my sobriety (duh)

I’m new to this sobriety blogging thing and I’m definitely on the lookout for other sobriety blogs to follow and learn from (can you share any good ones?). I’ve found that I don’t find it very useful to read about someone’s sorrowful lapse. So early and fragile in being alcohol-free, I’m looking for hope that I can make it and tools and encouragement to get there. I’m not in the right place yet to read about someone’s remorse. I need inspiration.

I say this because last night I drank. So, if you’re like me and want to stop reading now, I would completely understand. I started this blog to keep myself accountable, and I guess that has to mean if I slip too. But I will say this: While I do regret it, I learned some critically important lessons from it, and I think it will mean the difference for me staying alcohol-free moving forward. I really do.

Here’s how it went:

I arrived at an amazing show of live music, in a really special, intimate venue. Friends of mine arrived (a couple) and the first thing the guy said after hello was, What are you drinking and is it any good?  **warning** He’s a big drinker. Every event we attend together centers around the booze and how fun it is. **warning** I didn’t tell Mr. Boozy I was only drinking water **warning**, trying to avoid what I knew his reaction would be **warning**, instead I directed him to the alcohol table.

A few of us found a super cool corner to watch the show from, and Mr. Boozy said, It would be so perfect to have a bottle of champagne up here! He was right. **warning** The spot was amazing, the music was about to be amazing, and how perfect would it be for us to be passing a bottle of champagne and sipping while we watched? How perfect?!! **warning!!**

That’s when I told him I wasn’t drinking tonight. I felt myself cringe. **warning!!** I was taking myself out of the fun.

He said, Pregnant? **warning!!**

I’m in my late 40s and single. Uh, no. But I felt the pressure building. Mr. Boozy’s wife poked him and I laughed and said no. Not pregnant. The music started and I listened, forcing myself to focus on the performers. I practiced mindfulness and being in the moment, appreciating the music, the venue, the night. I breathed. But my brain was in overdrive. I was having that well-worn negotiation with myself. I was battling the chatter with what Belle from Tired of Thinking About Drinking calls Wolfie. I felt myself slipping, wanting the night to be “perfect” wanting to have fun and be included in the moment. I wanted to not feel lonely surrounded by people. **warning!! warning!! warning!!**

At the break, he went for the bottle of champagne. Another friend of mine hadn’t been drinking for a week and Mr. Boozy — a genuinely funny and charming guy — cajoled us both, spreading the love around. He popped the cork and poured himself a little. We both held forward our glasses and he filled them.

***

I’m embarrassed, but I’m showing up today, realizing I need support now more than ever.

This is what I learned (and why this will never happen again):

  • I was an emotional wreck yesterday and even though I set out intent on not drinking, I was too vulnerable to go to a place surrounded by alcohol, or more accurately, people pushing alcohol. Many people avoid these types of events when they are first getting sober. Unless I’m absolutely strong, I should too — or find more support when I get there.
  • I need to avoid people like Mr. Boozy who is a heavy drinker. It’s too much pressure. I have too much need to be accepted and included. And if I can’t avoid him, instead of saying “I’m not drinking tonight,” I need to say, “I quit drinking.” Own it.
  • Was the event made more “perfect” by drinking? No. As soon as I started to consider it, my chatter in my head was deafening. I looked around the room and MANY other people weren’t drinking. A lot. As is often said, the only person who was noticing my not drinking was the guy who most likely has issues with alcohol himself.
  • There was a woman in the front row who I watched get progressively louder and sloppier as she polished off the balance of an entire bottle of wine by herself. That’s what alcohol does.
  • Being back at Day One SUCKS ASS.
  • Having a glass or two of champagne is NEVER ENOUGH. It always leads to coming home to drink more wine.
  • The morning after is NEVER worth the few minutes of “fun” or buzz of that first glass of wine. The calories. The fatigue. The regret.
  • My real friends are super supportive of my not drinking. Why in the world do I care about what anyone else thinks?
  • I need more support, more help, more community. I’m haven’t been doing this well on my own. But I’m learning.

Thank you for the valuable lessons, Mr. Boozy.

Here’s to my last Day One. I’m going to read some blogs. 🙂

xo Rachel.

3 thoughts on “Important lessons learned the hard way: Fiercely protect my sobriety (duh)

  1. Don’t give up!!! I think you learned a valuable lesson. Looking at it as a positive lesson instead of a loss of time is a good thing. In my experience, I will find relief somewhere! So find the place where you can get relief other than the bottle.

    Liked by 1 person

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