It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or well at least it used to be when I was drinking. I used to LOVE attending holiday parties back in the day. The excitement of dressing up and celebrating the holidays over cocktails was something I always looked forward to in my 20’s, until it got to a point where I blacked out, embarrassed myself, and regretted something I did when I woke up the next morning. That’s how it was towards the end of my active drinking.
This past weekend I attended my sister’s final holiday party in Brooklyn. She’s been hosting this party for the past 15 plus years, but I haven’t attended since I stopped drinking. These parties are always a hardcore booze fest with a cast of characters from her life-some of which I’m friends with, and some of which I’ve never met. Since my sister is moving at the end of the month, I attended this year’s party.
This was a big deal personally for me since when I lived in Brooklyn, I was at my lowest point. It’s still hard for me to visit friends there because I constantly have reminders of my past life and how horrible it was while I was drinking. I’m just now comfortable enough to attend parties where there is heavy drinking involved, but even now I have to mentally and physically prepare and know that I can always leave if I don’t feel comfortable.
The day of the party I almost decided not to go, but figured I would go, and see how I felt knowing I could always leave early. I actually ended up having a great time seeing old friends, and meeting new people. I also was able to witness some very entertaining things during the night which I will elaborate on in a bit.
During the course of the evening two people came up to me and told me how proud they were of me for being sober. Both of these women are good friends of my sister, and I actually was very appreciative of what they had to say. They had both seen me when I was an out of control drunk, and they both mentioned how it was so great that I still had a sense of humor and was able to hang out.
I also met the token drunk dude who I had just been introduced to that evening. He was very boisterous, and while I was heading to the kitchen to get a glass of water, he tried to get me to chug a drink with him. I said no thanks, and when he continued to push me, I told him that I’m actually in recovery. The look on his face was priceless-he didn’t know what to say, and he apologized and I just laughed and said, don’t worry I support you chugging, I just can’t.
I love having these interactions now that I’m comfortable in my sobriety. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s taken me over five years to be able to be straight with people in these kind of situations, but it’s hilarious to turn the tables on someone who is being obnoxious and pressuring me to drink.
The final icing on the cake was when I went back to my friend’s place to go to bed. I got there about an hour before my other friends came home, and they were hammered. I was laying in bed while my one friend was making up the air mattress and my other friend went to the bathroom to change. My friend in the bathroom was in there for quite some time, which I found a little strange, so I went to check on her, and she was passed out on the toilet. This is very unlike my friend, and I’ve never actually seen her that drunk, but the kicker was that when I opened the door she was passed out on the toilet with a sweater on that said “All the Jingle Ladies”-as opposed to “All the Single Ladies”.
Although I was dying laughing, I think part of the reason I was laughing so hard was because this was something I totally would have done when I was drinking, and I was just so glad it wasn’t me! It has definitely taken many years for me to enjoy the holiday season again. For the first few years I dreaded this time of year, and was hesitant to attend any parties. It still takes a lot of planning on my party, especially making sure I have good people around me, and an exit strategy, but I’m happy that I can now enjoy this time of year once again.