I’m having one of those moments. You know the moment. The moment where you find yourself thinking “Do I really have a drinking problem?” I’m coming up fast on 10 months of sobriety. I’m focused on that big 1 YEAR mark, and I’m really excited about it, but the “Then what!?” creeps in. I’m not going to lie, sometimes it’s just the Milestone that I think is what keeps me going. What will I count down to once that 1 year milestone has passed? Let’s face it, two years doesn’t have the same ring to it.
I gave up drinking on 6/3/12. I never had a slip up, a “just one drink”, or a hidden drink that no one saw. Sometimes the fact that I’ve easily surrendered to sober life makes me think “really? Was it that bad?” Sure, I had times where I blacked out, hurt myself, and did/said really stupid and or embarrassing things. To be honest though, it wasn’t always like that. There were times where I was able to have one or two drinks when out it was nothing more than that. When does sobriety start to feel like a permanent thing? When does it feel like it’s realistic to keep this up forever? I didn’t hit any bottoms, lose my family, or end up in jail (not that anyone has to do that to realize they have a problem) but I think it does add a bit of a blurry spot to my vision.
I really don’t know why I’m struggling right now. I think the fact that St. Paddy’s is lingering around the corner is certainly one reason. This was my favorite drinking holiday. We are going to a party on Saturday, and I’m likely to be the only sober person there. I feel like a little kid being punished, and even though I can see the GOOD that has come from being sober, I still feel like I’m being cheated out of a good time. I’ve had a few friends say “I really miss when you drank” and it hurts a little. I’m just different from everyone now and it’s not fun to be around me. I make everyone uncomfortable. I mean, come on! How many sober 26 year old people do you know? They don’t mean it in a mean way, more of a reminiscent way. As sad as it is, drinking was what made me feel part of a group, a part of people who cared about me. When I was in school, I never had friends except for a few (who I am still friends with, and respect my decisions) but I always longed to be part of the “cool” crowd, part of something bigger than just myself. I felt that for the first time when I started going to bars. For a while, I was even friends with the “cool “ kids from high school, and they liked me! We’d dress up, and go out and I just couldn’t believe it. I had “friends” to hang out with. Slowly, that first group of friends I would go out with, deteriorated when I found out they were just using me for a ride, and to pay for beer. This left me feeling worse than I did to start with. I did eventually meet a new group of friends, who I adored. We went out every week, and going to the bar was like coming home. It was a safe place. We wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Since I’ve become sober, I’ve seen that group of people maybe twice. I’ve been told they would all make bets about how long I’d last. I’m not sure if they just missed me, or they were calling me a drunk. Who knows. No one has the time of day for me anymore. I’m the black sheep, and I’m right back to where I started… feeling “uncool” and alone.
I have learned in my sobriety that I don’t need to drink to be a social butterfly, which I always believed to be true. I’ve learned to come out of my shell, and that there is a person deep down that I didn’t know was in there. And while ultimately I don’t want to drink ever again, because I know it’s really what’s best for my life (and my addictive personality), it’s hard for me to imagine an entire life without another sip of alcohol. Vacations, weddings, summer nights by the pool.. THIS is what I struggle with. Our entire society is LARGLY based around alcohol. We have wine to “relax” and we have beers to celebrate, and drinks to mourn. We drink for holidays, days off, days we are stressed out, a drink with dinner.. the list goes on and on. Every commercial is about alcohol and drinking. Most social events I’ve attended are based around alcohol. Hell, there are movie theatres that allow you to drink during movies! How do I NOT feel like a misfit?
I get lots of praise and compliments from sober people, and drinkers alike. You think this would make things easier, and it does most of the time. Today is just one of those days I’m questioning fruit of my efforts. I guess this is why they say to take it day by day.. thinking about it years down the road, is just too hard.