Let’s face it. Booze is everywhere. The invitations to happy hours, wine tastings, beer bashes, dinner parties, sports events, tailgaters, gatherings with moms on the block, are enough to make your head spin. You simply can’t avoid being offered a sip of this or that at practically every turn.
Peppering the streets, the quaint little cafes and wine bars beckon us to come in and play. Enticing us to join the hip and fun crowd. Take a load off and relax. The social pressure to live up to the expectations of the masses and to ‘fit in’ can feel overwhelming. Now that we’re sober, rising above it all just adds to the anxiety of having to maintain a rock solid resolve.
I often wonder what drug addicts would do in a similar situation. Could you imagine if heroin was regularly offered on platters at work or dinner parties? The reality is that alcohol is behind every door and it’s not going away anytime soon.
When I first got sober, I felt lost and afraid of the outside temptations that could suck me back in an instant, landing me slouched on a barstool somewhere half in the bag, sloppily ordering my fourth Mai Thai. Ok, I know, bad example. We’re not in Tahiti for Christ sake, but you get the idea.
But a funny thing happened to me as I progressed in recovery. I began to get an unbelievable high from the little things. Like genuinely enjoying every minute of a conversation without being distracted by how much wine was left in my glass or speaking coherently without worrying about hiding how buzzed I really was. My insecurity subsided and deeper connection with others, clarity and focus took center stage and became my priority.
As we move further down the path, our rush no longer comes from the roller coaster ride, but from knowing that it’s finally over. We’ve made a critical choice. To be fully present. One thing we know for sure is that we won’t be spending half the night chasing down a few fleeting moments of relief only to be pummeled by the crushing blow of a debilitating hangover the next morning.
Being present and untethered by alcohol is our miracle and takes precedence over any short term need for instant gratification or acceptance. Period.
Soon enough, we find ourselves walking past the masses, gazing at them momentarily and feeling unbelievably grateful to be out of the crazy for good.
Now that my friends, is what I call a good time.