The absence of alcohol seems to be creating a sense of vulnerability within me. Perhaps drinking helped cover this sensation, boosting my self-esteem and helping me to quiet the self-loathing voice inside. Several days in the last month I have felt really sad and tired, leaving work at the end of the day in tears.
I am currently moderating the inner debate—to climb the “ladder of success” or be more focused on finding creative fulfillment on the job. Looking for an alternative work situation opens me up to a greater sense of vulnerability. Trying to put my best face forward, I ask myself if I am “good enough.” The confident side of me wants to lead me to a higher paying job with more responsibility and room for growth. The side of me that is feeling vulnerable (and dominant) is asking for me to stop pushing. The “doing” and the “being” are at battle. All the while, my inner voice is defeating me.
Now, having come down with a cold just before Christmas, there is a layer of physical weakness as well. Going, going, going all week diminished my energy and robbed me of a sense of connection with my guests when they arrived on the solstice. We opened many bottles of expensive wines and polished off a bottle of Hendrick’s gin. Of course, I did not partake, which added to the feeling of being outside of the fun. On the upside, being sick did dampen my desire for drinking. (Although admittedly, I felt quite a pull the first night the martinis got mixed.) Knowing myself, I am sure that any other time, I would have thrown back a few drinks and felt worse for it. And THAT is my problem—knowing what is good for me and taking the opposite action. Having the commitment to observing what happens when I don’t drink has helped me to feel better about myself in that regard.
As for the struggles and vulnerability, I will have to get through the dark and see what lies on the other side of this experiment. In the New Year, I plan to take a more sensible approach to finding a new job and with that, I will give attention to the opposing forces. I know that there is a way through this and that feeling and acknowledging all voices will help me find the truth and a better direction
Christmas time is here. Attended a tree decorating party with our close friends and this was the first opportunity to be social without alcohol. I made no major announcement about my intention to stay sober for one year. I just brought along my new favorite drink—pomegranate and Pellegrino water. Our friends had been to a couple of parities that weekend and yet they brought out the wine and bourbon on a Sunday night. No judgment here…this is what we do when we get together and it is fun.
The interesting thing for me is that I grew up a bit poor and my parents never had alcohol in the house unless it was Christmas. Ok, maybe some beer here and there but nothing harder. Drinking wine and liquor has become in my mind a sign of a certain level of privilege. It signifies that I can afford nice things now…fancy glassware, expensive drinks and really good snacks to serve my friends. I work hard and reward myself with these things. I associate my lifestyle with these comforts. Abstaining from these indulgences made me feel somewhat removed from the party. I couldn’t get my head in the game. It is difficult for me to describe this other than to say I felt a little awkward and self-conscious.
So why didn’t I tell my friends about my dry year? The hostess noticed and assumed I had a hangover, stating, “I always cure my hangover with an other glass of wine.” I let her believe this. I just smiled.
It is difficult to talk about the guilt I was feeling drinking every day and that I felt I didn’t have full control of my actions. People in our social circle pour a cocktail at the end of the day. I don’t want to spoil that for them or for them to not like me or want me around. By not speaking of this, I don’t run the risk of others alienating me because I am no fun …or I remind them that they feel bad about the amount they consume. Conjecture–all of this. It will come to a point where I talk about this and with any luck I will get a truthful reaction from my friends (unlike the one I gave them).
Photo courtesy of Taylor Morrison.
Just got an email from a friend with whom I want to connect over the Holidays. She is alot of fun and she likes to meet up for drinks (as do I). We really enjoy having a cocktail or two and brainstorming on our common interests. I have very few girlfriends that I connect with through Board and volunteer work and I enjoy having an outlet for these kinds of discussions.
When I reached out to her, my first reaction was that we should meet for coffee, not drinks. The assumption? It won’t be fun if I am not drinking. There is a couple of fears:
- Alcohol enhances the experience of connecting with an other person.
- The person I am meeting will feel less comfortable having a drink if I am not drinking—and it will be less fun for her if I am not joining in.
A situation like this is going to be my first test in dispelling or confirming my assumptions about social interactions pertaining to the consumption of booze.