Sober Circle

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.