I’ve known my best friend since I was 5 years old. Our dads worked together, and we met by chance at a McDonald’s playground when our mothers happened to bring us there for lunch one day. Little did we know then that almost 30 years later we’d still be in one another’s life.
I am fortunate enough to have many great friends who have been supportive of my sobriety. I know there are many people who can’t say that, but my friends saw me at my worst and stuck by me through it all.
Although my best friend an I didn’t plan on attending the same college, we ended up at not only the same school, but also in the same dorm. Obviously we were meant to be in one another’s life for the long term because we really haven’t missed a beat since that day we met 29 years ago.
My best friend knows literally everything about me. She has been there with me when I have been drunk, embarrassing, and down right stupid-but she has never once judged me. Even when I’ve felt horribly ashamed about my drinking, she’s always been able to make me feel better. We also had some great times together while drinking, but in the end it all comes down to the fact that we were friends a long time before my addiction was in full force.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting her bridal shower and bachelorette party. I would have never imagined that I would be hosting her bachelorette party sober 4 years ago. This just never seemed like a possibility. I’m sure there are some of you wondering, how can you enjoy a bachelorette party sober? I’m here to tell you it can be done.
I will tell you that I would not have been able to do this 4 years ago, or even 3 years ago. I have personally come a long way in my sobriety, so I was able to enjoy myself this weekend without feeling the need to drink. It also helps that I am 34 years old and not in my 20’s. I partied very hard in my 20’s, and so did my friends. Now many of them have settled down so they aren’t getting rip roaring drunk like we used to, which works out well for me. I’ve also come to realize that many people weren’t getting as drunk as I did in my 20’s like I thought they were. It’s amazing how once you stop drinking, you notice that non-alcoholic people don’t pound their drinks like I used. Yeah, they might have a few too many over the course of the night but no one at this party including the 20 somethings who were there, was FDD (Falling Down Drunk) like I would have been.
Needless to say, a lot has changed in the past 4 years. I was able to enjoy my time with my friends last weekend, without craving a drink. This seemed unfathomable to me until the past year or so, but one thing that I’ve learned in my sobriety is never to test myself.
Even though I was able to go out and dance at a bar, I always knew I could leave at any point. We were staying right across the street from where we were, and I was just about ready to go when someone else suggested it. I’ve put myself in uncomfortable situations in the past where I’ve pretended I wasn’t bothered by other people drinking, and it’s just not worth it. Now I know to leave or tell whomever I’m with that I’m uncomfortable, and get the hell out!
This may sound very easy if you’re not and alcoholic, but for those of us who are, it’s not extremely difficult. Alcoholics are people pleasers, so we don’t want to upset anyone by leaving or not going to a social event, especially when it’s hosted by a close friend or family member. My best advice is never commit to something 100%, and always have an exit strategy. I still attend parties, but I always say that I might stop by, and I often arrive late and leave early. I’ve also come to realize that if you’re really friends with someone and they’re supportive of your sobriety, they would rather you be honest about not feeling comfortable in a situation, than put your safety at risk.
It’s okay to say no to things, and set boundaries. This was one of the hardest things for me to do in early sobriety especially with my family. I wanted everyone to stop worrying about me, so I pretended I was fine in certain situations when I was really in a private hell. Always remember that your sobriety is more important than other peoples comfort. Your friends and family will be much more upset if you have a relapse than if you don’t attend an event because you feel uncomfortable. I will also say that as an alcoholic, I always thought I had to have an explanation of why I was or wasn’t doing something. I now realize that it’s no one’s business in the end, so if I don’t feel like explaining my reasoning I don’t.
One more thing, no one misses having to take care of Drunk Lisa. She might be fun for a little while, but then she’s falling down, slurring her words, and being obnoxious. I’m now doing everyone a huge favor by not attending a party or just stopping in quickly.