Don’t you love the feeling of getting an invitation, an evite, or even just invited out with friends? I know I do. You feel included and part of a circle of friends. You feel accepted! I remember not getting invited to parties when I was in elementary school or middle school and the whole let down of it all. You feel unpopular. You feel…different.
Let me interject here that this is a post I have been dreading, but I know the importance of getting the message out. There is a reality to a life on the wagon that I find difficult: People get weird about your new life and stop inviting you to functions because they have this fear that you will be a big DOWNER, the party pooper, the stick in the mud or my personal favorite is when they secretly believe that they are doing you a favor by not inviting you so YOU won’t feel awkward around alcohol. Thanks.
I can hear my mother saying “you shouldn’t worry about what other people think or do” or “they probably weren’t your real friends anyway.” I agree with this but it just can’t take the sting away. It can’t help me not feel like leper. To share a line from a movie that I quote sometimes (Reality Bites):
“It’s like I’m watching it on some crappy show like “Melrose Place”, right? And I’m the new character, I’m the HIV-AIDS character, and I live in the building and I teach everybody that it’s OK to be near me, it’s OK to talk to me.”
Its not as dramatic as that but I relate to the feeling of being ostracized. Isn’t it sad that people think you aren’t fun anymore? Are they saying that when I am not drinking I am not fun and when I do drink I suddenly become fun? I let lose? I don’t have a filter anymore and therefore are more fun? If we can’t have “fun” when we chose not to drink then aren’t we dependent on it ourselves?
I use to be on the other side of this so that is where I am coming from. I am not coming from a place of “I don’t know what I am talking about”. I used to avoid going to functions (or be less motivated to attend) if I knew I couldn’t get a glass of wine. That is sad to admit. And the thought of being around sober folks…boring. Besides, they might try to tell me I was drinking too much or judge me, right? The truth is sober folks don’t pay attention to it at all. They don’t care what you are doing. They enjoy life in its unaltered state. They want to interact, have great conversations and laugh.
At one point, I remember myself being the first at the bar. I could barely even talk to anyone at a party without having something in my hand first! But I didn’t see myself as having a problem. I told myself I was only a “social” drinker. Ha! What a lie I had fed to myself. Now that I am on the other side of who I was, I see it all very clearly. Whether I wanted to admit it or not, I was working on a real problem myself. My husband already had his own issues with it but part of the reason it took us so long to become a completely sober household was because I didn’t want to admit this to myself and give it up. I wanted it to be his problem. I was resentful that I needed to do that, to have to hold a mirror up to myself. I really don’t enjoy putting all of this out there about myself but I think, in this post, it is important to understand some characteristics in myself that have led me to these conclusions.
All of this is to say that sobriety doesn’t mean you get less fun as a person. In fact, I am more confident in who I am as a person than I ever have been before. What it means is that you just know who you are without alcohol. And I actually like the person I am now much better! And if you are having a party, invite those people who don’t drink. They might turn down the invite but at least they feel included and can make the decision if going would be a good idea for them. If they do come, you might be pleasantly surprised with how at ease they are around others who drink!
I can vouch for them.