My first night “out” not drinking. When I arrived at the restaurant/bar two co-workers were already there who I know pretty well. I ordered a sprite and one person said, “Wow, I can’t believe you can not drink after the week we’ve had.” I just smiled and shook my head no and she said, “That’s great.” Then to our colleague, “Suzy’s not drinking during training.” The other person really didn’t seem to care and I joked, “Yeah it’s time for a system scheduled disk cleanup.” In her next sentence she talked about how she had her computer professionally cleaned and how much better its working! lol **Note to self – jokes about not drinking that get people to think of other things are effective in deflecting the attention off me.
Then my friend/co-worker came in, ordered her drink and said, “When are you going to drink wine with me again?” (I have mentioned to her I’m taking a break from wine) I raised my eyebrows and said, “You have to wait til September.” She said, “You’re doing it all month!? I thought it was just this week!” And then she said, “Well, I told my husband we couldn’t drink during the week and he asked me if he could have a drink tonight.” After that two more people came, one of them is new and did not order a drink and the other did but didn’t say anything to me. A bit later we moved to a table (it was actually just nice enough to sit outside), had dinner and had a great time. I feel really lucky that it went so well and that people either didn’t care or had enough sense to not make a big issue out of it or remind me of all the times this past year that I did drink with them. What smart people I work with!
As I reflect on this evening, and my first time publicly not drinking, I notice that I did not struggle with this choice nor was I conflicted, wondering if I should go ahead and have just one while I was out. A part of me considered it and still remembers how great that first drink is. But, I was firm in this decision, I was brave enough to mention it to others and I was prepared to stand up for myself, although I didn’t need to. How did it work out this way?
Well, I mentally planned for this for a few days. I visualized having a good time, with my usual wit and banter, without alcohol in my hand. I even visualized everyone ordering a drink and asking for a sprite when it was my turn. I reminded myself throughout the day, but not obsessively, that I am not drinking. I made sure that I was not in a rush to get there and that I stayed relaxed and calm as I left work and transitioned to the restaurant. I also made sure that I had the nutrition I needed to feel my best today. That meant healthy foods, vitamins, plenty of water and a little caffeine. I didn’t want to arrive hungry and thirsty or in a bad mood because I thought that could set me up to be impulsive. So I made sure physical and emotional needs were well met today. Yesterday and today I made a public announcement to the blogmunity which created accountability and a kind of promise to myself and to all of you. And now, I’m writing about it because I want you to know that I did it. I’m safe at home, feeling proud of myself, and feeling more confidence in my ability to remain sober during the month of August.
I haven’t decided what will happen in September and I’m not at a place where I can even make that decision right now. Right now, I made it to Day 10. Next, I want to get to Day 20 and use this weekend to plan and prepare for this next success. Right now, I am going to bed sober and I will wake up ready to enjoy my weekend all for myself because I don’t have to share it and negotiate it with Alcohol.