Business trip: Making it through the gauntlet

Tonight I had the most amazing blackberry mocktail, with huge chunks of blackberries and the perfect amount of tartness, with just a little sweet.

This, while the other 40 people at our business dinner were drinking stemless glasses of red and white wine that had been handed to every person before our butts even hit the restaurant chairs.

Before we left the hotel for the restaurant, I felt that old familiar pull. We had made it through the last, long, tiring day of off-site workshop meetings and we were all going to dinner together. Before quitting drinking I would have been solely focused on that first glass of red wine — giddy for it to finally be sliding down my throat and into my bloodstream — and I felt that old mental habit nagging at me. Red wiiiine. Then the second. Red wiiiine. And hopefully, the third. Oh hell yeesss red wiiiiine! 

It turns out they cut everyone off at one drink and made them start a tab if they wanted more. Back in the day, I would have gladly put more glasses on my tab, pacing myself carefully so as not to be too obvious. Maybe joking when I ordered the third glass, “No dessert for me. I always drink my dessert.” Which was actually true. I always did.

This morning my boss mentioned how I came back to my room early last night. I told her the same thing I’d texted then — I went back for my phone and decided to stay — but I added: “Plus, I’m doing this 100-day challenge off of alcohol so I figured I might as well stay in.

It was a gamble. Do I just keep quiet about it and see if I have to deal with questions tonight at dinner, or do I head it off at the pass and then I’m covered for tonight? I threw the dice and chose the latter.

“I’m doing this 100-day challenge off of alcohol so I figured I might as well stay in,” I said.

I heard her breath suck in through her teeth.

“Ohhh, wow” she said, casually. “What brought that on? Just wanted to?”

Not the response I was hoping for. It sounded heavier than I’d wanted. Serious. What brought that on…? Must be serious if you are willing to stop for 100 days. Maybe I’m projecting, but no way in hell I was going to get into anything by way of explanation, except this truth:

“Yeah, I just feel a lot better…” my voice trailed off. I felt awkward. Clearly I need more practice at this. She joked about how she’d drunk too much last night and ended up staying at the rooftop lounge with a co-worker until 11pm and had they to fend off a couple of guys half their age.

OMG that sounds so tedious.

She was gracious and didn’t dwell, but next time maybe I’ll leave it until dinner. Or maybe I won’t and I should just shake it off. It’s no big deal and all is fine. She probably didn’t think twice about it, unlike ME who’s still thinking about it. But of course I am.

And tonight, while I drank my DIVINE blackberry AF drink, no one said a word. My boss asked me what was in it and I told her, but that was that. More rounds of wine came, but with the first drink of that fantabulous AF drink, the pull for wine was almost completely gone. Not COMPLETELY (I won’t lie), but as I read often: thoughts can’t hurt me. And tonight, they sure didn’t. I had to deal a little with getting to know a couple of new people and facing some shyness that wine always conveniently wiped out, but I made it through that too. My new friends and I ended up laughing so hard my stomach hurt. And all this completely sober.

Unheard of.

I looked around and some people nursed their wine glasses, barely touching them. Others had one glass of wine and stopped. One woman across the table barely sipped her glass of red the entire meal. It still stuns me to watch people do that. Just leaving a glass of red wine untouched is some kind of mortal sin to a wine addict. It just never made sense to me why someone would do that. Just one? What’s the point?? There is still that voice in my head that says to that lady *wasting* her glass of wine: Why aren’t you drinking that??!! 

Why? Because she’s doesn’t have a problem with red wine like I did. Do. Did.

But whatevs.

Housecleaning left the towel covering the mini bar and I tell ya, that really helped today too. It’s kind of shocking how big a difference “Out of sight, out of mind” can make. What am I, a primitive neanderthal, fooled by sleight of hand tricks on myself?

Yeah. Apparently something like that. 🙂

Anyhow, can I just say that I’m so grateful for the people who support each other on these blogs? Tonight I just kept thinking: Life is so much better — OVERALL– when you don’t drink. It’s just not worth it. This is a long game.

And fake it ’till you make it.

As I’ve said before, I’m still waiting for the BLISS to show itself and I know I have to be patient, but those words from other bloggers — and my own commitment to myself and focus on this 100-day challenge — carried me through tonight.

And for that I am very grateful.

Day 8. Rachel.

ps – I love this post from today. A well-written rundown of some of the amazing benefits of quitting drinking.

13 thoughts on “Business trip: Making it through the gauntlet

  1. You are doing phenomenally well to be around all that booze (right up in your face in your ROOM) and around all those people boozing all the time, and you sound like you’re handling it with so much grace! 🙂

    I know what you mean about the thoughts that go through your head as you watch other people drink… “mate you’ve got half a glass left there – why are you leaving!?” Your mocktail sounds yuuuummy too – I love it when you feel like you got a better deal than the drinkers 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha! I know, right? “Wait, come back! You left wine in your glass!”
      Boy, even in the airport today coming home my co-workers went to the bar and had a drink before boarding the plane. If I’d had a drink at the bar I would have also been obsessed with the wine I could also order ON the plane — at least two more — and then probably another bottle when I got home. Instead I’m home sober with my dog, drinking tea and heading to bed early.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha! Normal drinkers, I still stare at them in amazement. I went to a function last night and one woman left the venue after only having had a few sips of her drink, she left it on the table and walked away. Inside my head I was screaming ” excuse me!!!! excuse me!!! What are you doing? you forgot the rest of your drink!” hahahaha. You’re doing so well, I’m proud of you.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. It’s hard to discover what works best for you when discussing your decision not to drink. It doesn’t come up with me that often–I’m a teacher, and we only have a few social get-togethers each year, which I’m not ready to do, since there’s a LOT of drinking. Talking about being alcohol-free has gotten easier for me, and I suspect it will for you, too. Great job on day eight. More mocktails in the future!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Rachel, I am so impressed with your attitude and positivity. You have cracked it this time. Just simple statements in a sentence like ‘before quitting drinking’ tells me you have got what it takes this time. People who a going to slip just don’t write like that.
    I enjoy reading your posts, I really relate to them. I love your honesty. Keep doing what your doing and the bliss will come.

    Liked by 3 people

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