I was at a party last night and had some good conversations with people I had just met. Often times when I speak with new people, it makes me realize I still don’t know what’s next to come in life, which is somewhat scary, but also exciting.
When I was drinking I always felt like I had to prove something in conversations with people I was just introduced to. I guess it was part of keeping up the facade of having it all together, when in truth, was not the case. Now I’m open about still trying to figure things out, and although I feel like this gets mixed reactions, I always find it interesting to hear what people have to say when this comes up in a conversation.
For instance last night I had a conversation with a guy who has been sober for 20+ years and I told him I was looking to meet someone. He of course had advice for me, which is typical of older men, especially when they find out I’m sober. He also had advice on my sobriety, which is fine, but I was actually annoyed when I first left the party last night. Although he was very open about his sobriety, I personally find it unnatural to tell someone I just met everything about my journey to sobriety, and how I got here. I find that people in AA love to give unsolicited advice, which they think is helpful, but for me is just annoying. I honestly feel like he was just trying to be a nice guy, so today I’m not as bothered by it as I was last night, but as a sober person I don’t want that to be the only thing that defines me. I often feel like when I meet another sober person who is in AA, they automatically want to compare their level of sobriety, and then it turns into this conversation about how many meetings you go to, and who your sponsor is etc.
The thing I can best compare it to is when I was unemployed and everyone had advice on what I needed to do to find a new job. People think they have the answer to everything without really knowing your background, and what you eventually want out of life. I like my job right now, but I also think I eventually want to live somewhere warmer, so I’m still figuring that out which I’m open and honest about. I feel like in many ways that makes people uncomfortable, so they automatically get into advice mode.
I have now learned to listen to this advice- and then think of what, if anything, I can apply to my life. If it annoys me and there’s nothing that I find helpful, that’s fine, but overall at least I’m doing the one thing I never did when I was drinking-acknowledging how it actually makes me feel.