My social life hasn’t really changed since I’ve stopped drinking. In fact, if anything it’s become more full, as I have more energy and no hangovers threatening to ruin my plans.
Since I stopped drinking mid-March, I have done all of the following sober (bar my hiccup a week or so ago):
1. Gone to several house parties and birthday parties
2. Attended family functions
3. Gone out for lots of dinners
4. Gone to bars and clubs
5. Gone to nightclubs until after 4am
6. Gone to BBQs
7. Gone to work functions
Luckily, I haven’t found it too difficult, once I have decided in my head that I am DEFINITELY NOT going to drink. The only time I struggle is when I allow myself to entertain the thought that drinking is not a big deal. Once I’ve ordered my first soft drink, and everyone is aware that NO I’m STILL not drinking, I can relax and usually have a fantastic time.
Since I’ve gone on with life pretty much as normal since I stopped drinking, I’d not had a ‘sober first’ in quite a while. But then, I went to my first sober concert since I was a child last Saturday! And it was AWESOME! Yay!
So my favourite band came to play a gig in a park in Dublin at the weekend and a big group of my friends decided to go. My boyfriend got us both tickets at Christmas (when I was still drinking) and we have been excited about it for a long time, but I was pretty nervous. There were big plans to drink in a friends house beforehand (he lives really close to the park where the concert was held) and he had a party after the gig in his house. My not drinking wasn’t an issue. One friend did ask a few, obviously out of genuine curiosity, such as how long had I not been drinking and was it for fitness reasons (I am an avid runner). I told her he truth in not so many words, explaining how bad drinking was making me feel and that it was bad for my mental health as well as my physical health. I also told her about the health benefits that I had been experiencing and she mentioned that she’s been thinking about giving up drinking as she felt it was a barrier to her health and fitness goals.
The concert itself was amazing. It was outdoors, and any other time I have been to a day-long (there were lots of support acts that we wanted to see) concert event I have been quite drunk. I drank plenty of coffee and had lots of energy, and danced and sang my heart out. All of my friends were (nicely) drunk and I didn’t care whatsoever. I realised later that I never pay any attention to what others are drinking (which is probably a good thing), so I have no idea how much they drank – but let’s just say everyone was in high spirits. I also saw people who were most definitely in a very bad way – either dangerously drunk or off their faces on some sort if substances (which made me feel a mixture of pity and relief).
At one point I heard an older, disapproving gentleman commenting on my groups behaviour; we were dancing wildly and singing along to every word, which apparently is unacceptable behaviour at concerts. I think he must have gotten free tickets for living in the area because it was clear that he wasn’t enjoying himself at all and he didn’t seem to even be listening to the music. He singled me out, and I could hear him saying to his lady friend “look at that girl in the red t-shirt, she is so drunk and out of control, it’s a disgrace”. I couldn’t believe my eyes – the irony! I made my way over to him and showed him my coffee cup and bottle of water and said “Excuse me sir, I am no drunk, I am just having fun! When you finish complaining about people you know nothing about feel free to join us for a dance!” His lady friend started laughing and he looked embarrassed. Ha ha HA.
All in all a complete success. Great music, great friends and an opportunity to stand my ground (something I am not that good at most of the time).
Bring on more sober firsts.