I have a friend that posted on FB yesterday that he has not had alcohol for 30 days. Now he is trying to quit smoking. I was very proud of him. I told him I was 52 days sober. Both he and another mutual friend liked my comment. Then he had other friends posting 5 months, a year and half, and 3 years sober. I liked each of those comments. It got me excited. Could I find support amongst real life friends?
I never thought of this guy as having a problem. I don’t know if he is just on a health kick or what motivated him to quit. He mentioned not drinking was easy but quitting cigarettes was hard. I always thought of him as having a bad temper. I always brushed it off as Latino machismo. Was alcohol to blame for his attitude?
How many of my friends have problems but don’t know it? Or how many are like I was the last few years: know it but not wanting to do something about it? Will I find support amongst most of my friends? Will they let me play in their reindeer games when I tell them I quit drinking?
I had to go to alcohol counseling after my 2nd DUI. I had to do 20 one hour sessions. I was only living in the area for 13 weeks so they let me add private sessions onto the weekly group sessions. I liked the private sessions best. I felt the group sessions were a waste. No one wanted to be there. The private sessions felt like the therapy that I needed. It helped me see that my depression and low self-esteem were a large cause of my drinking.
I remember crying a lot in those sessions. I was scared that if I quit drinking, I would have no friends. I was scared I would lose everyone. Everyone expected me to be a party girl. I was fun. I was entertaining. I got invited to a lot of parties. Back then, even if I passed out or made a fool of myself, I got invited again. Those that disapproved of my drinking were bitches that just didn’t like me. My self-image always had a cup in her hands. Most photos of me at that time had a cup also.
That is who I was. Drinker. Boozer. I wanted to be Holly Golighlty. My friends compared me to Parker Posey’s character Mary in Party Girl. I did not know who I was without alcohol.
Back then, I don’t think I understood what friendship meant. I didn’t understand my own identity.
I moved away for a couple months and then returned. I got upset at people for not making time for me when I returned. I got mad when I was not invited to dinners or parties anymore. I spent a lot of alone time in bars. I felt my group of friends grew closer while I was gone and I was standing outside of the circle.
This happened a lot over time. I would move to a new city, make friends, and then always feel I was standing outside of their close-knit group. I longed to be in the circle. I tried to drink my way into the middle. I never saw that it wasn’t working until now.
I complained about standing outside the circle to a friend once. He suggest I create my own circle. I am gonna take that advice and create my own circle of sober friends and support friends. If they don’t support me, I now understand that is not what friendship means.
Mistake #49- I was invited to a party in the suburbs. I drove a few people since not many people had cars. We brought sleeping bags and tents to sleep in the backyard. I brought a case of beer and two bottles of wine.
The party location got switched. The host’s parents came home early. They were supposed to be gone all weekend but a neighbor called when the house started filling up with people and loud music. No, we were not teenagers but that was how I felt. I was in my 30s. I think the host was in college. But I remember thinking “cool! I never got to experience this in high school cause I did not get invited to these type of parties.”
One of the guys said he lived a few blocks away so we could move the party there. His housemates agreed. Yea! The night lives! And this house had a pool! (Even though it was a shallow, above ground pool.)
Lots of drinking. Music. Games. It was a great summer party. I remember telling people I would make pancakes in the morning. But I drank too much as usual. I don’t remember anything else except waking up in my tent. Nude.
I found my clothes folded up at the entrance of my tent. I got dressed and looked outside. No other tents. I walked inside the house. Lots of bodies passed out all over the place. I proceeded to get out the ingredients to make pancakes.
People started waking up and making their way to the kitchen. I made a ton of pancakes. A few people declined them. It was mostly females that said “no thanks.” I kept feeling I was getting nasty looks from them. I so bad wanted to ask someone “did I do anything stupid last night? How did my clothes get off? How did my tent get set up?” But I was too embarrassed.
I took down my tent and was helping clean up the yard. A cute guy was helping me. He told me that it was smart planning to bring a tent. I laughed and whispered “yea but I don’t remember setting it up. Nor why I was nude.”
He filled me in on the details. He set up my tent. I took off my clothes and jumped in the pool. I kept trying to get everyone else in the pool with me. A few followed. He got in. He and I started kissing. He and I had sex in the pool. During the party. “I can’t believe you don’t remember any of this!”
I was mortified! I wanted to just run away and hide and erase that whole night. No wonder people didn’t want my pancakes. They probably thought they would catch a disease. They were giving me nasty looks cause they thought I was nasty. I WAS NASTY! What the fuck!
Let’s just say I am so glad this was before the days of Smartphones with video cameras.
No wonder some groups of friends stopped inviting me to parties.
8 thoughts on “Sober Circle”
I’m with someone who will tell me all the time how he grew up mean and he’ll always be mean; yet on the very, very rare occasions when he doesn’t drink for a couple days (recently he was sick -something he never is – and drank but a drink or two each day), he’s completely different. Quieter, but funnier, and there’s a difference in his smile. I wish he’d go sober, but I don’t see it in his cards; he’s married to the story that he is how he is. 😦
I’m sorry. Must be extra tough. At times I wish I had a partner for support and to hold me when this sobriety thing has me depressed. But then other times I wonder if being single is making sobriety easier for me. I don’t have to worry about booze in the house. Booze at dinner. But I am scared of how I will meet a partner without bars and booze.
It is, but it is what it is.
You will find someone when the time is right. They say not to do so during the first year because you are so vulnerable…might not be a bad idea if you think you can’t meet someone without bars/booze.
Great article 🙂
Thanks. I am starting to realize that daily blogging is like therapy for me. And it seems to help more than journaling cause I feel I need to be accountable to write here everyday.
Is it wrong to admit that sounds like a fun party? Maybe not if I add I had a few of those myself and the shock and shame the next day wiped out any real happiness I could carry away. I’m much older now, and parties more tame. Some are special-fun – kind of like impromptu pool and pancake party fun – and I feel like I get to experience and savor them on a deeper level the longer I’m sober. Great post!
I have some friends that outgrew those types of parties but some still like to get wild in their 40s. I used to feel sorry for my friends that got married, had kids, and were “boring” in their 30s for not partying like me. Now I realize I was the one they should have felt sorry for. It is not an age thing but just that I kept partying even with my blackouts and stupid shit I did.
I am still friends, or at least acquaintances, with two guys from that party. They still tease me, 7 years later, about the pool party. I never talked to the guy from in the pool again.
Oh and thanks for commenting and reading!