Early recovery often means giving up going out to bars and clubs, or any drinking events. This may make you feel jealous, envious and alone as it seems that everyone in the world is sipping wine with their meals and partying on the weekends!
Back in the day, I loved happy hour any day of the week. Of course, Fridays and Holidays were the best because I could really get a drink on and no one would care how plastered I got because that was just expected on Fridays or Holidays! I also loved to party! I was always ready for any celebration, and I was the first one at the bar and ready to order shots! I never needed an invitation because every day was a party for me until of course, it stopped being fun.
I currently work downtown in Washington, DC, where every street is filled with bars, restaurants, and clubs. On a Friday night, especially, they fill up quickly with people celebrating the end of the workweek. As I walk by them on the way to the train station, I can smell the wine and beer in the air.
I can also hear the chatter and laughter of what appears to be many super happy people, and for a moment there, I get swept away into my own fantasy and all I can remember is the exciting, thrilling fun. Then I find myself resenting being sober and I feel envious of all those “normal” people who are drinking and having fun!!
You too may find yourself reminiscing about the good old days when drinking was still fun and are now missing it, but really, what are we missing?!
I know that my fantasy is definitely NOT what was my reality because in the end my drinking days I was completely out of control and there was nothing fun about them at all!!
I did not go to bars or clubs; I drank alone, in my house, with the curtains closed shut, in old sweats, passing out randomly just to wake up and drink more.
I did not have just one glass of wine; I had bottles, boxes and even more than I had ever imagined that my body was capable of holding.
I did not lose jobs because my bosses were assholes; I lost jobs because I was unreliable, called out sick, or quit showing up.
I was not alone because I liked it; I was alone because I had alienated everyone and alcohol was my only friend! I was also alone because I was too ashamed of my drinking to be around people.
I was a happy-go-lucky party girl; I was a fall-of-the-bar-stool, flat-on-the-floor, passing out, blacking out, and creating chaos wherever I went kind of a party girl.
I did not fall asleep because I was tired; I blacked out every night because I drank way too much again after swearing that I would never drink again.
I did not take the bus to work to save money; I took the bus because I gave away my driver’s license after I chose to drive in a blackout.
Yep, the reality was quite different from my fantasy!
So seriously, we are not giving up anything fabulous – we are giving up nights and days of complete misery, loneliness, and depression.
Making lists like this quickly puts things in the right perspective and gets me out of the la-la-land! It is a revelation and a stark reminder of how it really was, and a great tool for staying sober! So when the drinking pangs hit, remember your reality! You are not giving up your best friend and all the fun, you are giving up your worst nightmare and chaos that comes with it!
And remember you can still do all the fun things sober – better yet you can now do all the fun things because you are sober!
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)*, please check out the Sober Courage menu at the top of this page for an extensive list of support groups and recovery related articles.
*Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using (Ref: NIAAA).