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.