Happiness and Cheer

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.