Hey, Stranger

I’ve ended my friendship with booze after a steady and feverish relationship that has last 16 years. Now, I’m hungover (yes, even on Day 4!), groggy, and trying to grip what will be in the future. How do I deal with my friends? How do I let loose and have fun? Do I keep it a secret or let it out to close friends? What will they say? If I keep it a secret, they are bound to think I’m pregnant. An alcoholic? That’s embarrassing. I’d rather just throw up on their floor again than be an alcoholic. Who is this stranger staring back at me in the mirror? Who am I?

Booze cemented my marriage. We bonded over nights of blackouts and fun times. What will become of us now that I’m going to live sober? I’m not sure if he has a problem. I don’t think it matters if we think someone has a problem anyways because it doesn’t help unless the person thinks he or she has a problem. Regardless, he can pick up a drink and put it down without a second glance. He has been known to binge drink, but since I’ve been the party animal, he has been the designated driver for the most part. Sometimes Uber took that lead.

Now, I’m four days sobering and thinking about how to approach our relationship. We have great friends we have been drinking with, some for years, some brand new. We seem to find drinkers and pull them into our circle. There’s this bond that is lubricated with booze. Those who didn’t drink were weird to me. “They think they are better than me” or “They must be boring” or “They will judge me.” Now, I’m “they”.

I have a feeling people will be supportive, but what if they whisper behind my back? Will my newfound title Alcoholic impede with my budding career as a real estate agent? I know the stigma of drunks because I sat with my glass of wine and said time after time that I wasn’t one. I hated the thought of it. But, guess what Momma, I am!!

Second A.A. meeting today was women only. I expected to walk into a small group. It was packed! So many women. One drinking a Starbucks coffee that looked amazing. Another with her baby in arms. So many women with so many different lives. It was like having a warm blanket be wrapped around my shivering body. The best part was when I walked into the room and C. came right up to me, called me by name, said “I’m glad you made it” and topped it off with a hugs. I usually hate hugs, but I loved that one. Thanks for suggesting the group, C.

So, back to my loving husband. I’m going to figure out where to draw the line. I’ve asked him to hide his scotch from me. Put the booze away. I don’t think I’d grab it, but I’ve never been where I’ve never been before. There’s dark places that I used to lighten up with booze. Now, I’m going to face the fears of the unknown with the courage to be in the dark. Best to set myself up for success on those lonely nights when the kids have run wild, the snow hits the pavement, dinner gets burned, the dog pees the carpet…whatever event catapults me into self pity. So, sorry, honey, but you gotta help me be strong for now. I’m truly weak. I’m getting my legs adjusted to this real life of sobriety. Hopefully he can stay sober with me for the first few functions we attend with the new “they”: drinkers.

Hopefully I can figure out if I’ll be an anonymous alcoholic who decided to lie about why I’ve suspiciously turned down that drink… “I’m trying a new diet.” or “I am driving” or “I gotta wake up early tomorrow”. Or if I’ll be out in the open and say, “Hey I have this problem and I’m addressing it”. I don’t know. All I know is that I’m glad I went to my meeting. And, hey, date night is gonna be a hell of a lot cheaper with booze off the table. Maybe we’ll fit more in and bond in a different way, maybe.

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