The weekend felt like a real breakthrough. I had the following events to contend with:
An evening in the pub with university friends, who love their beer (as do I, obvs)
A housewarming party
A date (bar, pub restaurant)
Dinner with my two booziest friends (both of them definitely have a drinking problem, and we all have enabled each other to drink too much over recent years)
Friday in the pub passed so easily. I went to yoga beforehand, which I’m finding really helpful in negating the desire to drink. Sometimes, the compulsion to go and get smashed comes from a pent up energy or anxiety, that I feel the need to calm, and drinking really helps that. I arrived at the pub, ordered my pint of coke, everyone got on with drinking and no-one commented the whole night that I was on pints of water and lime and soda from then on. I had a fantastic time, laughed my head off and was in a great state for my long run the next morning.
Saturday came with some challenges, mainly that the party I went to was deathly boring and would have been helped along by a drink, and that I really wanted to share wine in the restaurant when I was on my date. But again, I resisted the impulse and it went away. I had a perfectly good time, and the fact I’m not smashed and still having fantastic sex is really helping me with the catholic guilt I would be feeling about my decision to have a “rebound” relationship which mainly involves sleeping with a guy I have no intention of having a long term relationship with. This is the first time in in my life I’ve had casual sex and the first time I did it, I was drunk (1 beer and a large glass of wine before I met him, shared bottle with dinner, shared bottle after dinner). The shame the next day was not necessarily about the act itself, but the fact that I was drunk when I made a snap decision that was huge for me. Now I’m sober and making the decision to continue those liaisons and enjoying it, I’m finding it hugely empowering.
The final test of the weekend, the boozy mates dinner was fantastic. I arrived, gave them their ‘thanks for cooking me dinner’ bottle of wine (to add to the 2 they already had in the fridge, and the 2 pints they’d had that afternoon because they were so hungover from the 5am finish the night before) and cracked open my diet cokes. Here, there was some talk about me not drinking, but again, they’re used to me periodically abstaining when I’m training hard, and have regularly made the comment: “You’re the only person we know who can have fun without drinking”, which says as much about them as it does about me, but also reminds me of the time when I was a “normie” drinker. Two or three drinks to get into the spirit and then stopping. Or at university, barely drinking outside special occasions because it just wasn’t worth it for the impact on my work.
I’m on Day 15 now, feeling strong, but still having the niggling thought that now I know I can abstain, it’s ok to indulge, sometimes, right?
I need to continue with my one day at a time approach, taking each evening as it comes, each opportunity to drink in isolation, as the thought of indefinite sobriety is too much for me to handle at this early stage. I still associate drinking with letting loose, having fun, but I feel infinitely better without it, and still have real fun when in great company, so need to remember that.
May week 3 be one of cementing what I’ve learnt in my first two weeks.