I just survived a dinner with friends at nice restaurant with a menu of a lot of beer choices. We were spread out over two tables and shared a bunch of different appetizers. Everyone ordered beer, except one woman, who ordered some fruity cocktail. And me, who ordered a cranberry and tonic. No one questioned my choice or commented. I was offered the beer menu but declined it. One friend offered me a sip of his beer but I said the last drink I had was at the Christmas party with this same group of people. “Wow” one guy said and then moved on to talk about some art project.
I still felt the desire to want a beer just to make me feel comfortable. Not because they were drinking beers. They could have been having ice teas and I still would have wanted the social lubrication of booze. I know a few of the people in this group more than others, but not that well. But the leaders of the group were at this dinner. We finished volunteering all day for a art festival. The leaders invited the volunteers out for drinks and snacks afterwards. I knew I would be surrounded by alcohol temptation, but I thought it would be a good way to have the group, and the leaders, get to know me. I wanted to be seen as a doer, a contributer, and a team player. I wanted to share in their stories. But being a newbie made me wish I could share a beer also.
There were many moments I thought the dangerous images of “just one beer”. I kept reminding myself where that lead to last year. (This last Memorial weekend marks 1 year since my first relapse, but next week marks 7 months renewed and completely sober.) I worried “they must think I am boring” and “will they all talk about me afterwards and regret inviting me?” I felt like I was in high school again and wondering if I would be accepted at the lunch table. I wanted to leave with the honest excuse I was tired, but didn’t want to be seen as a killjoy.
Alcohol is so evil how you can need for socializing but it also ruins your social skills.
I was worried most about one of the group leaders. She just seems very temperamental and doesn’t seem to like a lot of people. A lot of other people in our circuit have said they fear her. I have always worried she didn’t like me but I think she just doesn’t know me. She is an artistic genius and values hardwork. I wanted to join this gathering to get my face there as a volunteer. I wanted her to know my face.
My plan worked. During the meal, she shared plans with everyone of her new project and she pointed to me “don’t tell anyone about this! Top secret! ” I was giddy. I earned her trust! By the end, as almost everyone but 3 people were leaving, she asked me if I wanted to stay for another drink. I felt liked. I said I was tired and I would be back early tomorrow to help them set up for the festival. I felt included.
I survived the get-together sober and I think I overcame my fear of this group leader.