OMG OMG YOU HAVE TO GO TALK TO PEOPLE WHILE SOBER…. OMG OMG THAT COULD MAKE YOU DIE

Last night I faced my first social situation that included people other than my BF. He had written a play over the course of a ten week class which culminated with a presentation for invited guests featuring single scenes from each student’s play. It was an event that I assumed would be low stress and one that I should have little to no problem handling. He invited some of our friends to attend as well and the plan was to grab a bite to eat afterwards. Easy peasy, right? Not. A. Big. Deal. The people he asked to come are people I already know fairly well and there should be no reason for being apprehensive about seeing them. But if you’re anything like me, it obviously cannot be quite that simple. As the day of the event approached, I became increasingly paranoid.

I did everything I could while sitting at work to minimize my irrational fears. But while Anderson Cooper (my logical brain) kept trying to talk me down, the ticker tape of insanity kept scrolling across the bottom of the screen. It read: ….OMG OMG YOU HAVE TO GO TALK TO PEOPLE…. OMG OMG THAT COULD MAKE YOU DIE MAYBE…. OMG OMG NO YOU WON’T DIE BUT YOU MIGHT GET EMBARASSED BECAUSE YOU COULD SOUND DUMB…. OMG OMG WHAT IF THEY ALL DRINK.. OMG.. SHIT.. OBAMA APPROVAL RATING AT 62 PERCENT.. OMG HUH? WAIT, WHAT?…OMG MAYBE I SHOULDN’T GO… OMG KIRSTIE ALLEY REGAINS ALL 60 POUNDS SHE LOST AND UNREST IN THE MIDDLE EAST…… and so on and so forth.

I told myself to shut up. Then I asked myself, “What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen?”

And then I answered myself, “You really want to know the answer to that?”

“No, not really, “ I replied to I.

“Too late,” me said. “Here’s what’s going to happen. You are going to walk to the theatre space and on the way you are going to encounter horrible things like rain and crowds of people also walking to places. You’re going to get all sweaty and disgusting because it’s so humid outside and your hair will start to curl and look absolutely disastrous. You’re going to look at yourself in the reflection in the elevator doors as you ascend the 15 stories to doomsday and you are going to attempt without success to make yourself look presentable. When you walk in the room, everyone is going to look at you and scream obscenities because you look so terrible. Out of courtesy, they are going to ask you questions about how your day was and what was going on with you. Because you’re still mentally foggy and often get tongue tied, you are going to reply to them by saying something terribly embarrassing like, ‘I don’t know what my life so I stupid alcoholic hahaha I stupid dumb man shit fuck sorry I like gorilla so do you have banana? and need to pee BYE!’ Then you are going to run out of the room as they throw their shoes at you which is a really big insult in some countries. You are going to cry in the bathroom, splash water on your face, and sneak back into the room as people give you death looks and wonder who invited the incompetent addict. Then more small talk after the reading where you might say, ‘These is good plays, huh!’ while everyone rolls their eyes. Then you’ll go to the restaurant where everyone will order sake or draft beer or chocolate martinis while you sip Thai Iced Tea in the corner of the booth and slump down in your seat hoping no one asks you any other questions or notices you are there. And as they all get more and more drunk, they will completely forget about you. You’ll excuse yourself to the bathroom but no one will notice or care. When you get back, they will all be gone having moved on to another location without bothering to tell you. You’ll make the commute home wondering where your boyfriend disappeared to. That’s what your night is going to be like if you stay sober. ENJOY!”

Some takeaways here:

  • I am currently a nauseatingly insecure human being that needs a lot of work.
  • In addition to being insecure, I am simultaneously arrogant and my ego is out of control. Why I even had the thought that this night would be all about me, I have no idea.
  • My imagined sober self talks like a caveman.

I had worked myself into such a tizzy that I honestly considered not going. My BF has been amazingly understanding and although he might not like it, he would let me out of this if I really needed to avoid the situation. But I made the decision to proceed as planned because if I never allowed myself to feel uncomfortable, how would I ever get comfortable? You get sore from lifting weights but get stronger. You run further and for longer periods of times when training for a marathon even though it hurts and is uncomfortable but your endurance improves. You do strange impossible things that feel foreign with your fingers when first learning the piano but eventually muscle memory takes control and it’s a breeze.

I HAVE TO GO THROUGH THINGS. Not around. Not over. Not under. THROUGH.

I got to the reading, small talk was had, I didn’t sound like a caveman, people seemed happy to see me, and the discomfort and apprehension slowly faded. At the restaurant, everyone other than me and BF had something alcoholic to drink. I had Thai Iced Tea. People sipped their sake slowly like total assholes. CHUG THAT SHIT I thought. But it’s their sake and they can do what they want. Someone asked me why no cocktail and I said, “Because the Thai Iced Tea here is amazing!” This satisfied them. The guy next to me finished his sake and then ordered a beer. ATTA BOY I thought. IT’S ABOUT TIME. I made note of these thought processes and reminded myself that this is why I can’t drink. The conversation was easy and enjoyable. No one got trashed. No one suggested more alcohol or another stop. And after some hugs and promises to connect again soon, we were on our way home.

“Let’s pretend I had some drinks tonight,” I told the BF. “What would have happened is this: I would have had my few drinks but would want more. I wouldn’t have listened to what anyone was saying because I would have been so consumed with getting something else. And right now as we sit here on the train, I’d be obsessively checking the time because we’d have to stop at the liquor store. Or 7-11 if it was closed. And I’d go home and have that extra drink or two or three. But I didn’t have those drinks and this night was awesome. I feel so free. I can do anything and not think about THAT.”

He seemed proud if not still slightly confused. It’s hard to get normies to fully grasp what goes through our heads. But he’s working on being there for me as much as he can.

We were out late and I woke up this morning EXHAUSTED. But I had a smile on my face. I had a good time with good people. I felt something I haven’t felt in a long while. I felt connection and joy. I felt cared for and valued as a friend. And I really can’t wait to hang out with my friends again.

Something clicked last night. I’m really doing this.

29 comments

  1. Awesome!!! You crack me up! Live this and you have illustrated the alcoholic mind perfectly. Of course as a woman I would also be agonizing over my clothes and hair and such. Lol!

    This is such a great example of, how when we give up drinking we get so petrified of losing everything and instead we gain so much more! Very cool you are really doing this!

  2. omg I love you. also, while reading this entry I realized, I NEVER TRIED SAKE (that I remember) BEFORE I QUIT DRINKING. shoot.

      1. well, when you put it like that I guess I don’t need to go back to drinking to try rice pee.

        please never drink again, because I never want your blog to end. I love this blog. it is amazing and so are you. so if you ever feel the urge you can be like, “well, I can’t drink because there is that random girl in the interwebs that is waiting for my next silly, awesome, funny post”.

        yay to no drink!

  3. I laughed and laughed at this.
    I do understand that crazy scenario creating anxiety. And you are right. The only way past it is through it. And next time will be easier!

    You post event conversation is what my life is like, but my dh got sober with me, so we marvel at these seemingly insignificant, but dramatic for us changes together.

    Other people provably think we have found religion. Maybe we have…

    Thanks!

    1. Thanks for reading, as always! It helps so much to have people chime in reminding me that these crazy thoughts I have are shared thoughts. What a horrible road this would be traveled alone!

  4. Yep, I’ve done this too. Even though, as a drinker, I was quite capable of holding a sober conversation, for some reason I feel now that if I go out in the evening to see friends or go to a party that I will become some kind of dribbling idiot incapable of putting a sentence together. And that *everyone* will be looking at *me* and my weird AF drink. And then I go out, and remember that my friends are nice people that I enjoy talking to, and that no-one gives a f*** what I’m drinking. And I’m still terrified next time. Am hoping it will get easier … Love the blog 🙂 xxx

  5. My imagined sober self and your imagined sober self should get together as they could talk to each other and would understand each other completely 😉

  6. You make me laugh because I also get mad watching people sip on drinks. Like they’re almost rubbing it in! Keep on doing what you’re doing and know so many others out there are battling the same problem and have the same thoughts!

  7. Thank you for making my day this morning. Your descriptions of moderating, watching other people drink and the hilarious self talk that happens to a newbie in recovery are spot on! Today is day 28 for me. I think I will make it tom29 just because of your werewolf post alone. I am hoping for 5. Beings in spandex to celebrate 30 days, too so there is that.

    Much admiration and encouragement to you. I’ll be cheering you on from Boston. Keep writing, okay?

    Mares

  8. OMG I love you I love you I love you!!!!!!!!! Way to brilliantly encapsulate all that crazy mental self obsessed addictive all-consuming self-centered talk that goes on in our minds when we first start moving in the world without alcohol. I LOVE YOU! And dude.. not only did you nail the fuck out of that seemingly straight-forward but actually very significant sober night out.. but you told us all about it in a brilliantly clever way. I love that you are using your big personality and humor to deal with this shit.. keep your loins girded though.. some rough times are going to come along and you’ll have to dig fucking deep to resist the boozy urge. Stay strong.. keep focussed and keep writing to us here. And remember.. it’s all fucking lies that we need alcohol to have a good time and to be fun and sparkly. It’s all lies. What you need is right there inside of you. Taking the alcohol away is going to bring it all out in all it’s authentic beauty. Can’t wait to watch. This is a long comment. Goodbye.

    1. I love long comments from Mrs. D! LOINS GIRDED. Thanks for the advice and encouragement. And so excited for you and the wonderful things happening for you and am thrilled more people will be exposed to your inspiring story via the book.

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