One of the things that I thought would be most difficult with giving up drinking is going to large events. There are a few fundraisers that we attend every year. We enjoy the mingling, food and drinks that go on at these kinds of parties. This weekend was one of our favorite events and most of our friends attend. This particular event is a big drinking night. The price of the wine and booze is included in the ticket and you often see people grabbing a couple of drinks at a time because the bar is so busy.
As we drove into the parking lot to meet the valet, I wondered if this experience was going to be totally strange and awkward. Would being completely sober take the fun out of the event? Nervousness always proceeds walking into a big room of people and emerging into the social network. It is nice to grab a glass of bubbly and take the edge off. This year the bubbly was going to be sparkling water for this party guest. Sigh.
Much to my surprise, attending this party without alcohol was not really a challenge at all. It was rather interesting to watch the crowd get more inebriated and while I sipped on my water. I was still able to meet new people…in fact it was a little easier since they were drunk and I was not. I remember this feeling from college.( Not liking the feeling of losing control at the time, I never drank in my early twenties.) Attending parties meant watching other people getting drunk and I found it rather boring. My experience this weekend was the opposite. I felt more compelled to talk with people. Clear headedness and lack of sleepiness prevailed and I felt more connected to the crowd. With no bar or getting drinks on which to focus my energies, I talked with people who I hardly knew and lots of folks I had not seen in a long time.
After the party, we went to another party and the social experience was the same. By then, I looked around and thought about how terrible these drunken people would feel tomorrow. I would be waking up ready to get outside for a hike in the woods. Post party days have become like a “bonus days.” A few months ago, I would have lost the day to a pasty headache. Now, I get an extra day to enjoy my life.