Office party a true test

Old 12-13-2009, 05:37 AM
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Office party a true test

Hi everyone. This is my second holiday season sober and I'll tell you something, it isn't always a cake walk.

Last night we went to my husband's office party and there was wine bottles on all the tables and glasses of champagne being handed out by the waiters. We literally had champagne put in front of us so many times I lost count. Our "no thank you" voice was loud and the record skipped several times in the beginning of the night.

The company started the dinner with a toast and for the first time ever we were asked by a partner of the company why we toasted with ice tea. The reply was "We don't drink." Amazingly he didn't pursue it because I was ready with "We made a choice not to drink a couple of years ago and we feel better for having made it." Its easier with husband not drinking, but his reasons are due to diabetes and mine are alcoholism. Both valid reasons though.

I share this with you because of the concern about people's opinions of your choice not to drink and the push at the holidays for merriment in the form of a bottle. I saw a handful of people that might have been better off without the alcohol but for the most part people handled it well. I knew I wouldn't handle it well because I don't drink as a normal person.

Had this been my first sober attempt I would have been very angry and resentful for the assumption that the whole world drinks alcohol and therefore a celebration or toast must be made with it. I guess I was a "bit" resentful but as the dinner and the night went on the drinking was not center stage.

You can stay sober in these situations and its amazing how easy it is to say, "I don't drink" or "I prefer the iced tea" or whatever your mind is comfortable with. That was my test for this holiday season and now I am in the comfort of my home, which no alcohol enters and in the security of knowing it will not be in my face again for quite awhile.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Holidays SR!!

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Old 12-13-2009, 05:48 AM
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"Thanks", HL for the holiday support. We live in the Caribbean for a good chunk of the year, where it is always a "holiday". I, too, used to feel resentment, but now am very content with my choice as I know where it would lead me, if not. To people who ask why I don't drink, I say "I don't like how it makes me feel", which is true. ( Neither do my family or friends like how it makes me feel But rarely does the exchange go beyond that.
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:51 AM
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I have found that no-one gives a hoot about whether i drink or not, seems most the world do not drink like alcoholics anyway...nice to know:-)
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:02 AM
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why do people feel like they need to have a prepared excuse for not drinking? it's not really anyone else's business... and i dont understand why other people would even care or notice anyway
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:04 AM
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Well this is the first time I was asked point blank about "Why I chose not to drink" and it was pretty shocking that it was even a topic of conversation.
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:30 AM
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Hi Horselover... Happy Holidays!

My second holiday season sober as well. This year is fine... last year? Well, I just as soon forget that year's holidays...

Ya know, my experience is a bit different. I usually would have handled that type of event fine. Nothing out of control or anything... But... Here's my experience... I would have had at least one or two before we left the house just to get primed and then afterward, I would have come home and proceeded to get properly pickled. No one else had to know any better... well, except my family.

My wife would have had nothing before, a diet coke with a slice of lemon at the event, and then her... .... one tall white wine spritzer before bed (How does she do that??, well, OK, she had 1.5 last night, but hey, it was Saturday Night!! and I had a nice fire and some new christmas music on the stereo when she got home from shopping....)

Unlike normal drinkers, holiday events where just another reason for me to drink. Nothing special.... Nice, warm, holiday glow you say? Hell... I get it.... But that was always just a stop along the way.... just getting started for the evening. It wasn't special, it wasn't a nice holiday "treat" that comes along just once or twice a year....

So for me, I look at the normal drinkers having a toast at the holidays... Yea I am a bit resentful at times.... not so much that I wish I could drink.... but that I had let it become meaningless and that it had quit become something special or particularly enjoyable a long time ago.

BTW... I like Cranberry Juice and Seltzer for toasts... The Sparkling Apple Juice ain't bad either.


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Old 12-13-2009, 06:47 AM
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thanks for your post horselover.

i had not read it yet and just posted something very similar. different trigger as mine was a sports event. but still something where drink was very prevalent.

i had a tad of resentment at mine but nothing gnawing at me. way to stay strong amigo.
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:51 AM
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I don't know why some people insist that others drink. I just don't know....but I have learned to enjoy looking at them like they are crazy to suggest that I would even want too.

This is my second holiday season sober, too. So very grateful for this time. So very grateful. In fact I was reading about dreaming about drinking here. And I don't even want to dream about would be a nightmare.
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:41 PM
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I remember long ago thinking how boring people were who didn't drink. It never occurred to me that maybe they were like us. I simply couldn't imagine having a fun or relaxing time without it. I wish I had asked myself back then why I needed to get numb to enjoy myself.

I'm so glad you made it through the party - and I can't believe how rude that person was to make an issue of you not drinking. Mostly, people haven't questioned me - but in the beginning when they did I always felt obligated to provide an excuse. Any more, I don't mind admitting that I had to give it up - it was becoming a problem for me. Once when I said that someone took me aside and talked about needing to quit themselves, and asked how I did it. Maybe most people feel like unless everyone else is getting sloshed they can't let their hair down. Thanks for your post, Sarah - it's always so helpful to hear how others are handling the holiday season. It's my second sober one in ages, too. Yay us.
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:29 PM
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Thanks for sharing your experience, Horselover! Every time I read things like this, it helps make me a bit stronger, I think. Glad you're doing so well! Merry Christmas back atcha!
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:40 PM
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You know what Mirage and J? I was shocked to find out "I" was bothered by the whole thing and I was resentful still. I wasn't as bad as last Christmas and hopefully, next Christmas will be even better, but I guess I am still a work in progress. I will always be a work in progress and that's something you can take to the bank. Thanks to all that responded. I really still use SR and will continue to do so. Hugs - Sarah
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Old 12-13-2009, 07:47 PM
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HL I am glad you made it through and hope that some of your time spent at the 'office party' was enjoyable.

I have found over these many years that when someone gets 'pushy' about my not drinking that it is because it makes them uncomfortable. I have watched those people throughout a party or an evening getting sloppy and out of control. I personally have come to the conclusion that somewhere in the back of their brain they don't want their actions to be compared to someone that is sober.

If and when my 'not drinking' makes someone else uncomfortable then it is their problem not mine.

Usually a 'no thank you' suffices.

Hope y'all have a very great Holiday Season.

Love and hugs,
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Old 12-13-2009, 09:28 PM
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Horselover -

GOOD FOR YOU!!! Look how far we've come in this time, huh?

You know me - I *love* just up and saying it - because I'm an alcoholic' and watch the look on their faces. Because I almost always follow it with 'hey, just because *I* shouldn't drink doesn't mean *you* don't have to! *I'm the one with the problem, not you!'
which always makes people relax then.

but -

I don't have a SO or a hubby that could be harmed by my saying that, either.

We, each of us, in time, find our 'way of grace' when asked why we're not drinking.

You're finding yours. Way to go!!!
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Old 12-13-2009, 11:07 PM
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Horselover, great thread.

I think most "alcoholics in recovery" do wonder what others opinions are of them when they are not drinking alcohol especially at an event, at one time or another. I find this to have been true more so when I have been in the company of people I didn't know, at a wedding, or a business dinner function, or as you experienced a Holiday party. People are inquisitive and whether it be none of their business or rude...people do and will ask.

This will be my 5th sober Christmas and my not drinking has always caused someone to notice and mention the fact that I'm not drinking. Do I care? The short answer is no, but it does cause me to wonder why they ask....what is their reference point, are they assuming I have a drinking problem because someone close to them does and can't drink at all. We can't control what other people think or what assumptions they may make, but it does happen. Questions are asked and my thoughts on the question does cross my mind, before moving on.

Someone posted most of the world doesn't drink like alcoholics and while that is true, I don't think you were asking what people thought if you *weren't* hanging from the ceiling fan.

Having a quick answer at the ready is always a good idea I think. I have a few depending on, to whom and where I am.

Hey...! Congrats on 2nd sober December!!
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:37 AM
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We had a bunch of family over yesterday, and my wife asked me to open a bottle of wine to go with some cheese and crackers. Had a few tough moments there, but quenched it with a quick bottle of coke. This is my first holiday season sober, and it's going to be a struggle. I will follow the advice of a couple people here who maintain the "have a plan" plan. I'll bring my own N/A beverages and be prepared for these moments when they occur. When I went to bed last night, I was so proud of myself for staying sober -- so glad I didn't succumb.
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:00 AM
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I have to say this - my second sober holiday season - is SO much better than my first. So - Freeport & others who are feeling a little uneasy, it's going to be ok. I was resentful and sorry for myself the first time. Now I'm used to squashing those feelings as soon as they start to pop up. It takes a little time to undo the old habits & way of thinking. I try to remind myself that my memories of glowing, happy holidays because I could drink are a lie. I was a slurring, stumbling, hungover mess. I remember one year waking up the day after Christmas & being amazed that we had already opened all the presents. Christmas day had come and gone & I didn't even remember it. Oh yeah, that's a lovely way to celebrate.

Thanks again Horselover for this very helpful thread during a nervous time.
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:27 AM
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These responses really have put a lot into perspective for me. Again, I can never thank SR and the good people enough. I almost did tell him that I was an alcoholic and did not know he was one of my husband's bosses until later in the night. I was glad I didn't. There are still those with sterotypical views of this and I didn't want to harm my husband's position. We even hesitate on mentioning his diabetes because there are preconceived ideas on that disease. What a world. For the most part its an amazing world with very thoughtful people and I agree with gerryp that it is mostly curiosity. This guy was a very religious man and took 1 sip of the champagne for the toast and then had iced tea the rest of the night. I don't know his reasons and didn't ask. His wife imbibed a lot.

I want to grow up and not notice other people's drinking habits. I am hoping with time that will happen. I need to be less judgmental of others. I need to see more at a party then who is drinking and who is not. You notice the faults of yourself in other people and today I notice I was irritated that another noticed we did not drink and here I was scanning the room and doing the same thing. Yup! Lots of work to do myself.

Just because you may have some time under your belt being sober doesn't make you wise. I want to be wise like others on here. Can wise be taught? LOL!
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:34 AM
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I don't have any parties to go to this time of year. I've not been a party animal since I was in my 30's and I don't miss it. As to telling people why I'm not drinking, I just say I do'nt drink anymore. No one's every asked me why.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:45 AM
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I have been sober a little over 3 years now, this will be my 4th holidays sober.

My first one was a little bit tempting a few times, but I really did nt go to any PARTIES that year. By the time my second holiday season rolled around I had finished the steps and was applying them on a daily basis, the obsession to drink had been lifted for me for a while and I was not tempted a single time.

I was at one of my daughters wedding receptions throwing darts with some folks and one guy said "Excuse me, can I get at the beer?" It was then I realized I was sitting/leaning against the beer keg!!! LOL

For several years now I could care less if some one asks if I am drinking or do I want a drink, I simply say "No thanks I quit." If pushed for an explanation which has been very rare, I simply say "I am an alcoholic, so I no longer drink." This answer either shuts them up or leads to questions about how I quit.

I go where I want when I want, I do not go to bars nor to keggers, the soul purpose of both is to drink.
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:51 PM
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I've never had anyone badger me after I say "No, I'm not drinking tonight."

I guess if someone were to pester me about it on "why" I'm not drinking, I would just say "health reasons" and leave it at that.

As my Grandma used to say when I would ask her her age, "It's none of your business".
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