Around one year ago, I attended a friendís wedding and I can tell you this: not drinking anymore is not fun. The group of friends I arrived with was having a great time at the reception until I declined a glass of champagne and told the waiter I quit. After a minute of awkward silence, I decided to tell my friends that I underwent rehab and that my goal is to remain clean and sober. Everyone smiled embarrassed and told me I made the right decision. However, I could tell they were looking for their chance to make a speedy escape.
Things will never be the same again
The moment I decided to put my cards on the table, the fun was over. The guests were either putting an effort to avoid me or exhibited strange behavior around me. I remember a new acquaintance immediately took his lips off the glass of chardonnay the instant I asked about how heís been.
The truth is that my discomfort wasnít the result of the vodka martinis or the champagne that was all around me. The distress actually came from the way people were acting towards me. Then came the realization that nothing will get back to normal, so I should stop pretending.
When I brought this up with my therapist, she suggested trying to reconnect with my friends in alcohol-free settings. I did that, but the results were practically the same: kicking alcohol out of your life leaves a gap between the drinkers at the party and the recovering alcoholic.
Not all recovering addicts have unresolved issues with alcohol
Even though it goes against everything you learn in the recovery programs, sometimes the problem is your location. I wonít deny that some recovering alcoholics are still sensitive to the sight of alcohol. However, I want to underline that if they canít really stand to be in a location that serves alcoholic beverages, then perhaps they shouldnít be there in the first place.
While it is easy to put the blame on people and things around you, the truth is that your ongoing stability is not your friendsí responsibility. Granted, youíre not in the mood to have heart-to-heart talks with a person whoís already had seven or eight drinks by that point. Moreover, youíre going to get annoyed and bored by the conversations around you. However, thatís no excuse to become bitter or start preaching about the harmful effects of alcohol.
Everyone appreciates warmth and kindness
If you are invited to a social or formal event and you decide to honor the invitation, then itís your responsibility to be kind and considerate. The mere fact that you canít have fun in a place filled with loud and confident drunks while sober doesnít justify a pungent behavior. If you accepted the invitation then at least look interested to be there.
The trick that usually works for me when I agree to attend a social event is to have plenty of soda. Every time someone in my group gets up to order a few more drinks or when the waiter comes by, I make sure I get a soda out of the deal. While I do feel sick after three sodas, the drinks account for numerous bathroom trips that I can use as conversation covers whenever I feel I have crossed a certain limit.