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into the lion's den....

Old 06-23-2015, 06:12 AM
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into the lion's den....

Well... my AV has been going nuts for a couple of days.

I am going to an event this coming weekend.... a big gathering of a lot of friends I've not seen in several years. Almost all of whom are BIG party people. There will be surfing and beaching and music (including a really great friend who has gone in the past decade from living in an RV and playing house gigs and bars - to an international hit soloist with a flourishing career). There will be laughter and togetherness and the kind of a gathering that I really want to be there for and enjoy.

There will also be boatloads of drinking. There will be some serious professionals in attendance. There will be a pack of people with whom my entire relationship was connected by booze and parties.

And I've noticed a loud caterwalling of my AV inside starting to try and negotiate. To bargain. Make an exception. Just this one time. It's not like you can't quit after the weekend. It'd just be a break. One for "old times".

I notice, as I look more deeply into this rambling, almost-desperate inner monologue, a fear beneath it all. It's a fear that I won't be accepted unless I'm carrying on boozing and whooping it up. I can see that a great deal of what's behind this turmoil that's arising for me is the sense that I won't be "one of them". That I won't be loved, liked, appreciated unless I'm guzzling alcohol. That I won't be FUN, that I won't be worthy, that I will be an outcast.

It has thus far been the most potent upwelling of desire, negotiation, pleading, almost-surrender that I've felt in sobriety to date. I'm a little bit frightened.

And so I'm sharing it here. I nearly declined the invitation altogether. But then I realized that as much as I fear this - I also really desire it. To be able to see people who have meant a lot to me in life. To reconnect with old friends. To show myself that even in an environment where many if not most are still anchored firmly in the old foundational story of booze-as-life - I can still exist and have fun. A good friend amongst the crew came to mind last night. He was a non-drinker. He came to all the parties. He was respected and loved and he had fun and he was a great surfer and he was accepted and part of the gang, just as much as anyone..... but he didn't drink.

If he can, so can I.

I've existed in many different environments for a year and a half sober... and not once have I been rejected - by anyone - for not drinking.

So I will remind myself of this, and I will spend time on here this week, and I will remind myself of all the reasons I embrace sobriety, and I will go over my old stories this week. On the plane Friday, I will make lists of the 'evidence' I have that drinking doesnt work for me. Lists of the evidence that sobriety does. I will go into this lion's den..... and I will go with the awareness that I'm making this choice and that I will come home - once again - with new personal evidence that sobriety is my chosen mode and that being sober does not mean being rejected.

But I needed to get this out there and not keep it hidden inside me. I needed to defuse the AV's power by exposing his little tirade to the light of public sharing. I needed to open my reality to a group of friends who understand and I need your support and reminders and reinforcement..... because I won't be doing this alone. I'll be going in with all of your stories, all of your love, all of your power and all of your experiences that you've been open enough to share with me - all of it, by my side and steeling my choice.

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Old 06-23-2015, 06:24 AM
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Well said! Thank you. And good luck, you've got this!
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:27 AM
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You can do it Owl. Now that you are not drinking, you might be surprised at how many bottles of water you see.
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:31 AM
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Great post. Thank you for sharing. You're right... you are not alone in this.

Have a great sober time! You can do it!!
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:36 AM
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Can you connect to this friend who doesn't
drink and will be at the parties? Going to any
lengths to protect your sobriety means
covering all your bases using your recovery
resources you have learned and acquired
in sobriety so far.

Having your support connections in place
to be by ur side, to stay close to, connected
to thru out the entire weekend, from start
to finish.

When you have ur recovery support in
place then you can relax and have fun
not being tempted by all the poison
and folks drinking or pushing it in your
face.

Wear you recovery surfing suit of armor
to ward of all those unwanted temptations.
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:37 AM
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Good post & good luck FO
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:37 AM
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I believe in you FreeOwl. Please gag that AV will ya? Go have fun... soberly
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:58 AM
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Wow, if you don't go send me the invitation!

Recently I attended an out of town large family affair - wedding / memorial day booze - backyard pool fest. I had some trepidation about going for sure.

Once engaged in the event it wasn't really very difficult to have fun without drinking. Simply, I don't drink anymore.

Dee made a comment on a thread I started prior to going - something like, going through those events cemented my decision not to drink. I could not agree more.

Go, have fun and as Sharon posted - wear your sober armor. Helmet and shield at the ready.........

Now, if you're talking Rolling Stones in their hay-day type party - RUN away

Exit strategy
Phone a friend/talk to another alcoholic
Eat
Enjoy........
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:10 AM
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well... actually some of these guys could definitely rival the Stones....

and the 'exit strategy' will involve international extradition....

Still, I believe I can do this. I want to do this. I have undergone a series of ever-increasingly-difficult lion's dens and have found that my commitment to sobriety - while at times challenged - has emerged both victorious and re-enforced by simply living my life and facing the fact that sometimes life involves people, places and events that are soaked in booze; but I don't have to drink.

I have faith this will be another one. But I realized this morning that trying to quietly go off and do this on my own, without sharing this stuff, was setting myself down a path for failure.

Take THAT, AV. No.

Thank you all.

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Old 06-23-2015, 07:12 AM
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You've got this FO. Just don't let your guard down and have a great time.

Thanks for the post... My AV has been acting up lately as well. I've got a trip planned at the end of July with family and friends; plenty of drinkers on board. You're right, I haven't been rejected after nearly a year of sobriety either! Great perspective... Thanks for the insight FO!

Have a great trip!
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:33 AM
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Wishing you a safe and sober trip. Don't be afraid to go take a long walk away from the party if the cravings start up there.
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Old 06-23-2015, 08:52 AM
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Hi FO. Have fun. You have put a lot of thought into this which is great. It's best to be over prepared than not at all.

When I was a young teen the girls I hung out with all started smoking marijuana. There were a bunch of times they offered but I always said "no thank you." Years later one of those women told me that she respected me saying "no" back then. That she always thought I was cool because I didn't follow the crowd. I never saw myself in that light at the time. Gradually I started hanging out with different girls who had interests more in line with mine as I saw that the focus on getting high wasn't conducive to having fun.

You will find people who aren't drinking. There will be thoughtful normal drinkers and there will be the massive partiers. You will still be fun. More so, actually. You'll remember what you were talking about. You'll remember to put on sun screen so you won't be suffering the next day from a dehydrated, sunburnt hangover. And you'll be happy with yourself. Be well
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Old 06-23-2015, 08:57 AM
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Great attitude, FreeOwl. Better to be prepared as you are than set yourself up. I believe you can do this, especially with the strategies you have outlined. Have fun :-)
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Old 06-23-2015, 10:39 AM
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One thing I am looking forward to is seeing this gathering... really SEEING it... through different eyes than those I've participated in similar gatherings with in the past.

I wonder what I will see? I wonder what I will remember? I wonder about the kinds of conversations and interactions I will have and how they'll differ from those of the party-fueled, boozed-up, drug-addled past.

I wonder what I'll learn and embrace and what will arise for me emotionally and rationally....

It's almost going to be like going to a familiar land - but with amnesia that has created an odd, illusory picture of the past that I will be comparing against the reality I encounter.

Viewed this way, it's exciting to anticipate.
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Old 06-23-2015, 10:54 AM
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One thing that is sad for me to see is those
still sick in their addiction and may have
tried sobriety to only get sucked in to their
addiction once again.

Here, many of us have been given a second
or more chances to learn and live a sober
or clean life in recovery and embrace it with
so much graditude.

To be face to face with someone under
the influence would make me feel uncomfortable
and sad for them. However, as I remember where
I came from, I have no place to take anothers
inventory or be judgemental of them.

They are sick just like I was. And I have to
keep that in mind.

Everyone or most of them at the
party will be under the influence, many
if not some maybe sick with an addiction
and yet we may never know.

All I would be able to do is take care
of me and my recovery, make my appearance
if absolutely necessary and make my escape.
Only because I know for myself, being surrounded
by the laughter and celebratory festivities and
those not being of clear mind would make me
uncomfortable and that kind of fun is not for
me.

Me, I just ride the roads behind my husband
on our Harley enjoying the world with a sober
heart, mind and soul.
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:41 AM
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That was a great post......I hope you have tons of fun....and I think it WILL be interesting for you to see the party from a different perspective . Wishing you lots of luck......pls report back and let us know how you vision matches up w reality.
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:52 AM
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FreeOwl, are you going to Santa Clara, by chance?
I think you have already proven to yourself that you can remain strong in your resolve, and I think spending some time focused on your concerns is a good idea. You can make some plans for how you'll decline what's offered to you in advance, and be prepared for it before it comes up.
Last year, after only 3 months clean, I spent about 10 days in a very decadent festival environment, one I usually describe as a garden of every earthly delight imaginable. It's an event I've been involved with for my entire adult life, and I had both vending and volunteer obligations there, so I couldn't get out of it. I was nervous going into it, but decided to really focus on having faith in myself while there. During that 10 days I was offered a range of drugs and drink, but successfully declined every offer. I did seek out people I knew there who were clean and sober, but more for the comraderie than for the support. Still, it was good to know they were there.
At the end of things, after I had packed everything up and was driving home, I realized that I felt truly empowered by the experience, and even stronger in my resolve to stay sober than I had felt before. I didn't feel like I missed out on any of the fun, but that I got to experience it all on my own new terms.
I believe you can have a similar experience, and really hope that you do. Have a fabulous trip.
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Adnamaeel View Post
FreeOwl, are you going to Santa Clara, by chance?
I think you have already proven to yourself that you can remain strong in your resolve, and I think spending some time focused on your concerns is a good idea. You can make some plans for how you'll decline what's offered to you in advance, and be prepared for it before it comes up.
Last year, after only 3 months clean, I spent about 10 days in a very decadent festival environment, one I usually describe as a garden of every earthly delight imaginable. It's an event I've been involved with for my entire adult life, and I had both vending and volunteer obligations there, so I couldn't get out of it. I was nervous going into it, but decided to really focus on having faith in myself while there. During that 10 days I was offered a range of drugs and drink, but successfully declined every offer. I did seek out people I knew there who were clean and sober, but more for the comraderie than for the support. Still, it was good to know they were there.
At the end of things, after I had packed everything up and was driving home, I realized that I felt truly empowered by the experience, and even stronger in my resolve to stay sober than I had felt before. I didn't feel like I missed out on any of the fun, but that I got to experience it all on my own new terms.
I believe you can have a similar experience, and really hope that you do. Have a fabulous trip.
Thank you for sharing that, Adnameel.... it's a helpful experience and perspective for me! I'm not going to Santa Clara.... several hours south of there, but to a similar kind of environment.
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:25 PM
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Wishing you the best FreeOwl - have a good time

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Old 06-23-2015, 04:33 PM
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Have a wonderful time and I have complete faith in you and your sobriety.
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