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April 27, 2020

I Forgot How to Have Fun Without Booze

Going out socially in my first few weeks and months of being alcohol-free were really hard. Everything was so new and I was so out of my comfort zone. Before I quit drinking I couldn’t fathom going out and NOT drinking and what that would even look or feel like – I feared that unknown.

The thought of going to a friend’s house for dinner, a Friday night out with the girls or God forbid a wedding and not drinking was my idea of hell on earth. Just stuck there feeling so uncomfortable, awkward and deprived. Wondering what everyone else was thinking, seeing how my not drinking made everyone else feel uncomfortable and maybe even disappointed in me. I couldn’t even imagine.

The truth was I had forgotten how to have fun and relax without booze. I had forgotten what fun felt like when I was a child, before I was conditioned to believe that I needed alcohol to have fun as an adult. That first 3-6 months I basically had to re-teach my brain how to relax and have fun without the use of that drug. I knew the only way to do this was to experience the events in my life without drinking. There was just no other way to do it. I had to learn how to be sober, by being sober.

So it was super weird in the beginning. It was so new and just like starting anything new, like a new job, everything was awkward first. It just is, and you know what? That’s okay. I grow when I take myself out of my comfort-zone, I evolve when I allow myself to do things differently and feel uncomfortable. I am not supposed to feel good and safe and comfortable all the time.

The experience for me was like witnessing myself in the third person because I was so hyper-aware of being sober every minute of the day, especially when I was out socially. This is how it went about 2 weeks in at a small party: I am sitting here pretending to watch the SuperBowl and I am stone cold sober. Wow. It is the third quarter and I am eating buffalo wings and I am NOT drinking a beer. I have not had a beer or a glass of wine and I am not going to have one. Everyone in the room is drinking and I am not. I am still sitting here sober, watching the SuperBowl. Wow. I don’t know if I’m having fun, wait I just laughed…I think I might be having fun but I’m not sure.

So what happened? I got through it and I GREW. I came home and instead of feeling uncomfortable and awkward, I was beaming with a sense of pride and accomplishment. OMG, I just got thru a SuperBowl party SOBER!!!!! What? Yes, I really did it….and you know what, it wasn’t THAT bad. With each new experience, I got a little bit stronger in my resolve and more comfortable in my own skin.

Most all of my experiences in the first few months felt similar to that, but as the year went on, my brain slowly started to remember how to have fun and relax again without booze. I learned how to laugh again and smile and sit with ease at a dinner table with my friends. I even got out on the dance floor at my best friend’s wedding in May. I began to feel natural joy and happiness again.  Each day, I started to feel more confident and secure in my alcohol-free lifestyle and slowly, I started loving and appreciating myself more. I started to care a lot less about what others may or may not think around me because I felt so good.

I began to feel like myself again, only better.

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