I’ve been a bit of a social recluse since I stopped drinking. I’ve been on weekends away and holidays, gone for walks in the day or meals with one friend at a time but I’ve avoided gatherings on the whole, avoided drunk people or more specifically drunk friends. I can easily be around alcohol, there’s still quite a lot in my house. Just not people full of it.
We used to regularly go down the pub on Friday for early doors. Ive not been since I stopped drinking but I’ve found myself miserable and bored on Friday nights, slumping into a depressed mood without the distraction of work. Nothing to do and no one to see – poor me! The association between finishing the working week and starting the weekend by getting pissed has been the most difficult one to break for me. I can have a really good week and then Friday night 6pm I’m depressed. The wine witch is in full force when she’s pretty much gone the rest of the time. Takes me the rest of the weekend to get my mood back to some sort of even keel and then it’s back to work!
Last night was the first Friday this hasn’t happened – hooray! Since I off loaded some shame last week (see previous post) I’ve felt lighter, had more energy. I went out to a gig mid week and really enjoyed it. I let myself get into the music, and didn’t need to go to the bar or the toilet during the set – sober bonus! I also said yes to a night out tonight – some sort of disco night that I thought sounded fun, I could go, have a dance and leave when I’ve had enough. These things together allowed me to reframe staying in on a Friday as a positive choice. All good so far.
This morning though I’m dreading this evening. Triggered by the suggestion that we meet at my friends for ‘prinks’. I can’t bale out as I’ve got all the tickets on my phone – that’s how enthusiastic I was on Monday! The only reason to have prinks is to drink more for less money. I can envisage feeling awkward, bored and boring before I even get to the night out. I really don’t know what to do.
The 3 friends I’m going with all get hammered. Like I used to. One of them has been my partner in crime since medical school. Our daughters are 2 days apart in age and best friends too, our dogs are sisters. We are closer than family. I love her dearly but I hate her drunk. I hate myself for being so judgemental. I know this is more about me than her, I’m judging my old self without compassion for one, as well as re-experiencing the unavailability of a loved one through alcohol that was so much a part of my childhood. That makes me fearful but the worst my friend does is fall over! She’s not a dangerous or scary drunk. There’s no need for this fear and loathing but how can I get past it? I know if I’m uncomfortable and awkward the others will pick up on it and I don’t want to spoil their night directly. I’m not responsible if me not drinking makes them uncomfortable per se but I am if I’m judgemental and disapproving.
I could go later but then I’ll miss the sober part of the evening as well as replicating the feeling I used to get coming home from school. Not a good plan. I could meet them there but then I’m putting the awkwardness out there before the evening begins. I’m not worried I’ll want to drink – I really am past that. It’s more that I won’t be able to enjoy it and that will effect everyone else’s enjoyment.
I’d hoped writing this would help me come up with a solution or a plan but so far it hasn’t! I guess I just have to see what happens. From what I’ve read this gets easier with time. If I keep avoiding it then it won’t. Maybe I’ll decide that nights out like this aren’t for me anymore. Maybe I’ll have a good time and the next one won’t be so angst ridden. I feel ready to emerge from my cocoon and to engage with the world again. Everything is a new experience without alcohol. It’s like a blank canvass for life and I can choose what to put on it. I’m in the experimental phase – everything’s on trial. Live music is definitely a keeper – I’ll let you know whether nights like tonight are!