Sober fun. If I am honest, I often wondered if those two words were/are and oxymoron. When I was drinking, my biggest fear was that I would never again have crazy fun. What a lie. The fun had left my drinking career long, long before. But yet that question still remains. Still has the power to haunt me. All this sober living has me wondering at times if I am taking myself a wee bit too seriously. Surely I can drink occasionally… Was it really all that bad??? Insidious little voice asking dangerous, life threatening questions. With a bit of perspective and a chat with my sponsor, I am able to recognize that voice as the addict within me desperately trying to get me to do what we have always done together.
I noticed the voice being loud and disruptive this time while we were checking in to our favourite hotel in a beautiful city that we love to visit. My in-laws were travelling with us. For me, travel, hotels, weekends away all meant a free pass to drink with abandon. Not that I needed a pass to drink how I wanted anyway – but when on the road I figured that kind of behaviour was what everyone did, it was expected. And so it was that I found myself agitated and upset after we had arrived in our lovely room overlooking the harbour. Plans were made for others to go out and purchase beer and wine. I felt sorry for myself. I felt left out. I felt mad that I can’t join in for the happy hour simply because my happy hour will take over the afternoon, evening and ruin the next day. But mostly I was mad that this far down the road I can still feel like this. Shouldn’t I be past it all? Over it? Why, after all of this work and all of these sober days strung together can this still fu@k with my head?
I ate some chocolate and went into the other room to have a nap. I love the author, Anne Lamott, who is also in recovery. She has reduced praying to three simple but powerful words: WOW! THANKS! HELP! How great is that?! Every moment can fit one of those prayers. So simple. So manageable. I shot up a few HELP! prayers and took it easy for a while. I got up, did some yoga and dressed for dinner. We went out to a really cool spot and had some great eats. It was only much later on while reflecting on the day that I realized I made it through – I didn’t just make by white knuckling it through. No, I had a lovely dinner and evening without alcohol. I had fun. I was sober. Sober fun. The best kind of fun. No regrets. No hangovers. No bullshit. Just fun. Didn’t really give it a thought – dinner without alcohol, tea upon returning to the room. My HELP! prayer was answered quietly but completely. And how grateful (shot up a THANKS! prayer) I was to be closing my eyes completely sober.
That voice would have taken me down before. I am so glad I have some tools in the tool box to deal with those moments now. Recognizing a destructive thought pattern is a tool. Removing myself from a “slippery” situation is a tool. Prayer is a powerful tool. Resting is a tool. Yoga is a tool. Perhaps I will have those moments for the rest of my life. But I do know that I am sooooooo glad I did not drink. I have never once woken up the next morning and had regrets that I did NOT drink but I have woken up hundreds (probably thousands) of mornings and so regretted the drinking I DID do the night before. I have drank in that city many, many times before and all of those memories are tinged with sadness. It is disappointing to not be your best self. I had a few tough moments, but I was my best self visiting that beautiful city this past time. THANKS!