A few weeks ago I attended my cousin’s wedding. I am from an Irish Catholic family, so weddings always include lots of drinking. I’ve been to quite a few weddings sober now, but I always make sure I’m in the right head space before I go. This involves making sure I have an easy exit plan for when I want to leave, as well as just recognizing if I am uncomfortable at any point.
This has become much easier for me over the past four years. Much of the socialization that takes place at weddings happens at the bar, and the dance floor. Luckily I love to dance, so I am still able to enjoy myself at weddings. If I didn’t enjoy dancing, and if my friends and family weren’t dancers, I would hate going to weddings.
Now that I’m comfortable in my sobriety, I actually enjoy watching the interactions of drunk people. There always comes a point at weddings where I become very aware of the drunk people around me, and I am ready to get the hell out of there. This usually involves people making out on the dance floor, dirty dancing with someone’s elderly aunt, and broken glasses causing people to slip and fall.
The best advice I can give to someone who is newly sober and planning on attending a wedding is to have a plan, and to bring someone with you who knows your plan and supports you. If you are in a situation where you have to attend a wedding alone, and aren’t comfortable doing so, politely decline. If the person who invited you is someone close enough to you that cares about your health, they will understand why you’re not attending. If you do decide to attend, don’t feel bad about leaving early. Honestly, no one will notice. People are more likely to remember the person who gets hammered and falls all over the dance floor, than the person who left after dinner. Drunk Lisa loved weddings, and always made a scene, and believe me that sticks in peoples’ memory. I still hear the story of how I smashed my head into the pool table at the after party of my sister’s wedding 7 years later. I’m now happy not to be that girl.