HOW TO DRINK SMOOTHIES WHEN YOU’RE SOBER

I need to tell you something. You guys really aren’t going to believe this crazy shit. Okay. Here goes. Last night I met a friend alone at a diner and we talked and laughed. Wait. It doesn’t stop there. We also ate chicken salad wraps and drank strawberry banana pineapple smoothies. Can you fucking believe it?! Isn’t it amazing?! Isn’t it magic?!

As I walked home afterwards, I was doing that thing in my head where I imagined myself jumping in the air and clicking my heels together like a stupid asshole. I ALMOST tried it but daddy’s too big for all that leprechaun shit right now. But no worries. Me and the gym are becoming besties. Well. Not besties. More like that girl you hang out with on Saturday and Sunday because she doesn’t go to your school but it’s better that way anyway because she’s not the kind of person you want to be seen with in real life because sometimes she eats hair.

I wanted to grab the old woman shuffling slowly down the street, put her on my shoulders, scream GLADYS, GUESS WHAT? I JUST FUCKING LAUGHED AND DRANK BLENDED FRUIT! I’M NOT DRUNK! I’M NOT DRUNK! and then drop her off at home and run off so fast that she would violently spin around like a cartoon from the high velocity of my departure. I wanted to run inside my house, grab my little puppy, spin him around and sing him a song about the joys of smoothies and good company. Okay, well THAT I actually did.

I’ve always had social anxiety to varying degrees throughout my life. During my first go at sobriety (2005-2008ish), I became really good at being around people and engaging and remaining totally sober. When I picked the booze back up again in late 2008, everything they tell you will happen happened. I very quickly descended back to a place of being anxious to be around people. So I would continue to drink because it made it bearable. At first, it was only necessary in high stress social situations like large get togethers. Newly single, I then started lubricating in order to go out on dates because THAT was a terrifying thing. And I felt justified because who doesn’t drink to loosen up at a big party or while sitting at dinner with a brand new man that you may or may not have sex with later that night? Seemed pretty common to me. But as the six year hangover ran its course, the reasons for using became more and more unjustifiable. I was pregaming and finding ways to sneak drinks in situations that normal people are able to face head on. Going to rehearsals for a show required a beer or two or three and I’m sure someone noticed the smell on my breath. Meeting friends for a movie either meant I needed to drink before I arrived or I would lobby hard for a pre-screening bar stop which never ended up being enough. And then I just stopped accepting invitations at all. I don’t know how my boyfriend dealt with my lack of motivation or desire to do anything. I was constantly manipulating my way out of birthday parties, going to shows, getting lunches. I would be very accommodating if he wanted to have people over (because I could drink as much as I wanted because THIS IS MY HOUSE) and would make exceptions to my isolation if he wanted to go to an event where I knew it would be acceptable to drink or be drunk. But the little shit like getting a cup of coffee with a friend visiting from out of town? FUCKING FORGET IT. No fucking way that’s happening. And as a result, I’ve lost relationships with quite a few people I knew and cared about.

Before I left my house last night to walk to the diner, I was walking my dog and I took a quick inventory. I feel no anxiety right now. I’m about to walk down the street, sit down across from another human completely stone cold sober, look them in the eyes, and converse with them as my authentic self. And I’m not afraid. This is incredible. 74 days ago, this wouldn’t have been possible. First of all, I would have never agreed to hang out. I would have made excuses. Or I would have suggested a bar rather than a diner and I would have shown up already lit up. And even if we would have been going to a bar, I would have spent the entire day PARANOID about the encounter FOR NO REASON. I used to have so much anxiety about social situations where anxiety was entirely unjustified. But no more. I was at peace. I was even a little excited about having something to do and someone to see and someone to be with who genuinely wanted the company of their pal.

Very difficult to tell someone who isn’t an alcoholic how significant a friendly chat and a refreshing alcohol free beverage can be. But I know I can tell you how proud I am of myself and you’ll understand.

I went to bed last night thinking:

I’M DOING THINGS THAT PEOPLE DO. I’M LIVING LIFE LIKE PEOPLE LIVE. I WANT ANOTHER SMOOTHIE.

23 comments

  1. yes! yes! yes!..just bypassed a huge craving with a blueberry smoothie..i felt thisclose to picking up a drink and voila..that sweet smoothie did the trick,followed by 2 choco kind bars..thisclose..thanks for confirming how grand it feels to be sober!! xoxoxoxoxoxox

  2. Omg. You are my long lost twin. My husband says I go through the 7 stages of grief when asked to attend a social event. I think a BIG reason why I developed a problem is due to my social anxiety. You would never know I had anxiety although; bc when drunk, I am very social and seem social when sober, I hide the angst with talking. It’s my inner thoughts that are exhausting! I am died when you wrote about the stress and paranoia leading up to the day of the event. That is SO me. I sent this text to my husband yesterday as I was reflecting on what he said about the 7 stages. It’s a little more extreme for purposes of a laugh but pretty much how I feel! 25 days sober!

    7 stages of Kris’s decision to do something social:

    1. shock & denial. What?!? But they didn’t give us a years notice? This cannot be. No fucking way.

    2. Pain & guilt. Now I am fucking stressed. I know it’s fucking weird to have a years notice, but I’m fucking weird. I feel ill. I feel guilty that I want a fucking year and my stomach hurts now.

    3. Anger & bargaining. How dare they make me feel guilty and hurt my stomach. I don’t even like them anymore. They are bad people. Ok, so they are ok people, how about we see them in 1/2 a year?

    4. Depression, loneliness & reflection. Now I’m really blue. Why am I such a bad person. Why did I say I didn’t like them again? I wish someone would come over to lift me out of this funk. (Talking to myself) I always seem to enjoy myself when I hang out with people . Why am I freaking out again?

    5. The upward turn. Yes, tell them 5pm. I will make chicken. Ooh! I have the perfect outfit !

    6. Reconstruction and working through. Plan day out. Grocery store, get kids ready, start cooking at 3pm. Kicking ass, taking names.

    7. Acceptance & Hope. Next day. To husband: Those guys are so cool. I had such a good time! Why don’t we hang out with them more? Husband: See sweetheart! You always do! You are so good with people and your chicken was great! Me: Awe, thanks lover. Husband: Speaking of, my grandma is having a dinner next week with the entire family, can we go? Me: (face flushes; panic begins) See stage 1 explanation of shock & denial.

    🙂

  3. I sooooo get you on this, but I’m impressed you’re getting this on day 70ish – it took me over a year (if I remember right) to get the feeling of calm before going out. I was ALWAYS so high strung on the way to wherever, even while I was still drinking – worried about the night, if I going to be able to moderate like I always tried, but rarely did. Then when sober of course, freaked when I had to TALK in a social, non-work situation – YIKES! But now 2 years plus later so delighted – I went to a “party” section of town this past weekend for dinner at a small/trendy/bar’ish restaurant with friends. No anxiety! Even went to a bar afterwards – no anxiety. Definitely gave myself a talking-to “I have to stay with my friends for a while – no rushing to go home to watch dateline/movies.” I was out until midnight! And of course it would have been NO MORE fun than if drinking – it would have been less fun b/c who knows where I would have ended up by the end of the night / feeling like dung the next morn. Don’t get me wrong I love being a hermit but am overjoyed that when I have to force myself out of the house I can actually be calm. Hallerlujah! Never a problem going out for hiking/walk/physical activity but any event where there’s no place to hide/get out restless energy and I have to just stare at others and conversate (I know that’s not a word), YIKES. So I feel ya. And SOO happy you had a nice little lunch – IT’S THE SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE. BEING PRESENT. HAVING A FRIEND TO TALK WITH. PLAYING WITH YOUR PUPPY. EATING A GREAT MEAL/SMOOTHIE. LOVING YOUR BF. TALKING GENUINELY WITH YOUR MOM. GETTING A RUNNERS HIGH. SMILING AT A STRANGER. Okay i’ll stop I ramble and rarely like to proof so here you go. ENTER 🙂

  4. Good for you!! You are a smoothie diva. 🙂 I love what you said about being your authentic self. I think I forgot who that person was. Like a long lost friend that you haven’t seen in years and years. I went to a social hour in our neighborhood last night and this is the second time since getting sober I noticed my little authentic self talking in a social setting. My tone was different, my laugh different, it was as if I was floating above this person, this fun person I had forgotten was this fun. I wanted to know her.. but wait a minute, I am her.

    Before at social gatherings like this, I would have had 2, maybe 3, if I could sneak it, glasses of wine before going and THEN could only chat up someone if I had a full glass o’ wine in my hand as God damn chaperone.

    I hit day 35 today and each day, I feel better and better. I’m so proud of you and your 74, well this is the next day so 75 days!!! Keep it up, my friend. You are a beautiful soul.

    1. Yeah, isn’t that amazing? When you are laughing and you’re like OMG WHAT IS THIS LAUGH AND THIS JOY THING IN MY STOMACH!?! I’m so proud of YOU. Let’s keep going, Marebear!

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