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Old 09-06-2019, 07:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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First day of holiday bit of a struggle


Long post alert....

Ok, today was the first day of the holiday with my husband and the dog. Our friends 'who like a drink' are joining in the morning with their dog.

Mixed day. Was pleased to arrive at the holiday destination and find it exceeded expectation, the location and the cottage are adorable. Walking into the kitchen found that the cottage owners had 'kindly' left a welcome pack including a bottle of wine ready with glasses awaiting us. You might imagine what my AV did with that one! It started chattering 10 to the dozen about how we were on holiday, how maybe we could just enjoy the wine tonight, maybe we could take a holiday from not drinking etc etc etc. Anyway, after initially being shaken at how quickly my commitment was crumbling I realised it was not me, told the AV to crack on and chatter all he wanted because I wasn't playing that game, and removed the wine to the cupboard so the AV wouldn't be encouraged to keep it up. Great, I had got this I told myself.

I have been a bit anxious generally about this holiday as it was arranged before I stopped drinking and our relationship with our friends has historically been based a lot around pretentious alcohol-related activities. I have been a bit miffed that they have arranged to do stuff like brewery tours during our break too. Obviously, I am not joining that but is still felt like they were rubbing my nose in it. But I managed to calm down a bit in the run-up by repeatedly reminding myself that I am not a drinker and therefore it has no impact on me what others choose to do.

BUT I also had something else in my back pocket - my husband who is really very much a 'normal' drinker has been supporting me over the last 6 weeks by also not drinking. So I wasn't going to be on my own with this on holiday. Great, that helps I thought. Bless him, he entered very much into the spirit of it all and went online shopping buying himself whole crate load of his preferred soft drinks for the holiday. So yes, I had to deal with the drinking friends but at least I had some back up in my corner. But tonight, we went out for food and he caved the first night of the holiday and ordered a pint. I was visibly upset and hurt that he had said that he would support me through the holiday and then caved on the first night at which point he was really contrite and apologised and said he wouldn't drink it and would give it back to the waiter.

I had already been giving his support a lot of thought recently and come to the conclusion that in an ironic way I am placing myself in a vulnerable position by allowing this support. That it leaves me open to anger and hurt if it gets withdrawn at any point and that in allowing his support I am not fully taking responsibility for myself which is important. So I had already made the decision to let him off the hook and tell him to crack on and have beers when we are out if he wants. But I was going to wait until the holiday was over as I really felt like I could use the support and that as it was on offer I would accept it.

But tonight when faced with the dilemma of him handing the pint back I realised that I was going to need to man up a little sooner than I had thought. It was a no-win situation for me. If I had let him give his pint back (slightly manipulative move on his part anyway) then I would have felt bad, I was already upset that the promise to be a supportive husband had not even made it through the first day and watching him hand his pint back to the waiter wasn't going to take that away anyway. So I made a snap decision that I am an adult, I need to take responsibility for myself. I reminded myself that I am a non-drinker and what others do doesn't impact me and that it would probably be better for me not to be dependent on anyone else anyway. So I thanked my husband for supporting me so sweetly over the last 6 weeks (I couldn't have done that for someone else when I was drinking) and told him that he was on holiday and to crack on and drink his pint.

So now I am on holiday with 3 people drinking and that's ok because I am not a drinker. Except I am not sure it really is ok and I am not sure that I am okay (and I am not even sure whether that is me protecting my commitment that I will never drink again or whether it is the AV sneaking in there telling me I am not okay). I am also still hurt that the husband didn't keep his promise to not drink through this holiday. Again, I understand that I am lucky to have had his support for the last 6 weeks and that I am not being reasonable here.

The upshot of all this is that I am having trouble separating the AV from me and feeling a bit confused. I think I have done the right thing in releasing my husband from his commitment but feel a bit scared about this holiday now.

Anyway, thank you for providing me with this space to get all this out. Tommorrow, is another day and it may all seem different then. When I first joined this forum I wasn't at all honest about my drinking and minimised it a lot. But if I crack this week then I will be leaps and bounds ahead (another waiver with 'if').
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Lucinda

I found when I made my recovery dependent on what others were doing I was setting myself up for disappointment.

yeah it'd be great if we had all the support we wanted or was promised from loved ones and it always looked like the kind of support we wanted - but it doesn't always happen like that.

I found that expecting others not to drink for my benefit often ended in resentment on both sides.

Things will get better in time - you'll be able to go anywhere do anything and be with anyone you like and remain secure in your recovery - but it can take some work and time to get to that point.

This holday may have some tough moments but I hope on the hole you'll have a good, sober time. Here are some tips and thoughts that may help:

https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...val-guide.html (Social Occasion Survival Guide)
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Old 09-07-2019, 03:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for taking the time, Dee. Hugely appreciated. More than you might know. I will take a look at the link right now, thanks. That will be helpful.

It is a new morning in UK and feeling less freaked out today.
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Old 09-07-2019, 04:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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A lesson I learned the very hard way was that 'depending' omn support from family is unrealistic and unfair. As you say- we have to man up and be responsible for ourselves. There are, however other supports to be had- professional ones- like counsellors, GP- but also in AA- sponsors,I know many people who will call their sppnsor when they feel upset, cravings, or just wasn't human contact. T
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Old 09-07-2019, 04:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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apols- my laptop sometimes post when I have not clicked send..

I go to meetings to be around people and that tacit support.

And SR- I am a contributor in a few threads every day, and that is part of my daily recovery routine now.
J
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Old 09-07-2019, 04:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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and again

Journal writing and art also help me.

Support to you.
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Lucinda, I beleive you made the right decision regarding your husband’s drinking. When I was securely recovered, it was self-contained, I carried internally the decision not to drink. That decision was too important to leave to the whims, or unavailability, or cessation of support, by a third party.

Sadly, when my life turned upside down, I listened to my AV. Believed it’s lies that I could drink normally, and switch off the mentally torturing thoughts for a few days. Nope, couldn’t stop, the alcohol seeking pathways in my brain lit up, as though I’d never achieved counted sobriety.

So on that note, my current recovery hinges upon “no matter what” outside influences, life circumstances etc. because I know in my heart and soul, that being a non-drinker is right for me, and drinking is wrong for me.
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Old 09-07-2019, 04:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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and again

Journal writing and art also help me.

Support to you.
Thank you for your support, Phoenix.

It helped a lot to log in and read your words. Amazing times we live in that someone on the other side of the world can gift so much.

You are right that it is both unrealistic and unfair to lean on a family member for support. It is not good for my self worth either.

Hence, through this holiday if I will check in here instead. I like your idea of journalling too. I think I am going to journal my holiday right here in this thread.

Thanks again. Wishing you well in Adelaide.
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Old 09-07-2019, 04:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi Lucinda, I beleive you made the right decision regarding your husband’s drinking. When I was securely recovered, it was self-contained, I carried internally the decision not to drink. That decision was too important to leave to the whims, or unavailability, or cessation of support, by a third party.

Sadly, when my life turned upside down, I listened to my AV. Believed it’s lies that I could drink normally, and switch off the mentally torturing thoughts for a few days. Nope, couldn’t stop, the alcohol seeking pathways in my brain lit up, as though I’d never achieved counted sobriety.

So on that note, my current recovery hinges upon “no matter what” outside influences, life circumstances etc. because I know in my heart and soul, that being a non-drinker is right for me, and drinking is wrong for me.
Thank you, Tatsy. I was glad to see you thought it was the right decision. Overall, I think so too but I have odd moments where I wonder if I just went ahead and made things harder for myself. So it was good to have the decision affirmed.

I hear you about the decision being too important to be anything but internal. I do know what you are saying about those neural pathways too. There is no guarantee that would even make it back. My experience with both alcohol and drugs over the years has been that it gets harder to get back each time, not easier. But even though I know it, it very much helps to have it re-iterated right now.

I am also adopting the phrase you used 'being a non-drinker is right for me' as a mantra. If my arse falls off I won't drink.
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Day 2 Holiday (journal)

It's been okay.

Friends arrived and the fridge is now chock full of beer and wine. Tried not to feel too resentful about that and reminded myself that it doesn't matter to me because I am not a drinker. I popped to the shop and purchased myself a variety of soft drinks including some with sugar (yay, a holiday naughty) and stuffed them in on top of the beers.

Then took the dogs out while the friends went to the pub. I had a lovely time in the sunshine marvelling at the views and watching the dogs play while the friends spent the afternoon in a rather dingy, village pub. Not that it is a competition or anything but I can't help but feel a little smug and like I got the best deal here.

In the evening our friends cooked a lovely meal for us all and I felt pretty grateful to have this in my life. There was a previous life when I was in active heroin addiction when I watched lives like mine wistfully from the outside. I would see people on holiday with good friends and think them very lucky. I am lucky. My AV tried to tell me that I was finding it a little difficult when the wine started flowing over dinner and then I carried out an independent assessment and found that this was a lie. I was actually pretty okay and feeling quite good about my day.

The brewery tour was brought up and rather funnily our friends had looked it up online and found that they did some 0% craft beers so were sure I would want to join them. It was sort of sweet but irritating all at the same time. I tried to tell them that non-drinkers really have no interest in doing brewery tours but they really don't 'get it', bless them. But referring back to Tatsy's line of thinking - it doesn't matter, they don't need to get it. I get it and that's enough. I actually don't even think that the brewery thing even has much to do with my recent decision either. I am fairly certain that non-drinkers would not be interested in brewery tours regardless of whether they had ever had an alcohol addiction or not.

I have read the guide that Dee linked to about surviving social situations and have made a commitment to myself to read it again every night before bed to make sure I have those tools well ingrained.

I am aware that I am rambling like a nutter but despite descending into lunacy I think it has been a pretty successful day.
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Lol'd at 'rambling like a nutter...'
Anyway, good for you Lucinda2, glad it was a successful day!
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks Nightshade!
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:22 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Your husband seems great and like he’s been a huge support. Try to remember that he, as you said, is a “normal” drinker. So, he really can’t possibly understand the challenge you are going through being sober on your first vacation, right? He clearly had the best of intentions (hence the online soda ordering), but we all slip up in the moment once in a while, right? The big thing is he felt badly and was willing to hand back the pint. To me, that act of kindness is a bigger deal than the ordering a pint slip up.

Try not to equate him ordering a pint with not supporting you. He can be drinking and yet also supporting you - the two aren’t incompatible. I know it’s not preferable, of course, but I hope you get what I mean.

It sounds like you guys are lucky to have one another. And I’m so impressed by your slapping down the AV at the start of your vacation. You’ll be so proud of yourself at the end of the vacation, and I think you’ll even be more proud of yourself now that you’re also being the new awesome sober you solo. You can do this!!!
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
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“I was glad to see you thought it was the right decision. Overall, I think so too but I have odd moments where I wonder if I just went ahead and made things harder for myself”

Lucinda, yes for sure the right decision. and often, the right decisions are the harder ones. and it can so often be the decision that makes it harder for ourselves, seemingly, that ultimately makes everything much easier with clear-cut clarity.
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Old 09-07-2019, 11:00 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Hi Lucinda ~

Well, boy, I certainly could 'out-ramble' you on this topic, so we'll see where this goes.-)

What you're tackling was perhaps the most difficult aspect of my now-effortless Recovery in the later Stages: militantly facing, and then creating, a personal fit into Socializing; given how invasive Alcohol is in Society. Indeed, it's the sole factor that had me finally book 4 or so sessions with a Drug/Alcohol Counselor a few Years ago. Suffice to say, Folks not traveling 'our' path don't get it, and most never will. The ultimate acceptance of that Reality is mine alone to process. I didn't continually walk around all steamed about this, but it sure f'n pissed me off at times until I mapped out a way forward to deal with *Alcohol = Fun*. Why should I have to be the [Sober] one to be forced into Social Contortions to accommodate this lie shilled by Drinking Culture?

Your observation that somehow touring a Brewery having 0% swill to drink makes it all OK is the heart of the matter: that the issue is nothing more than the existence [or not] of Ethanol. Or, that being offered a Seltzer at an otherwise-drunken Wedding Reception transforms such an Event into something palatable to someone Sober. Ummm, that's a big ole 'no'.

As recently as last Summer, I opted out of a Beach-side Wedding in California because there was no Escape Plan possible for me when the Reception - indeed, the entire Weekend - went south. Inevitably. I was towing our RV Trailer 3 long Days to the Coast, and trying to book a Campsite in peak Season. Our beloved Dog was with us. A Dinner the Night before was on a Yacht with wealthy Right Wing-types that, itself, was gonna to be an daunting exercise in mental detachment, and resentment-filled small talk. Hey, I know. I'll just take my own Bamboo Shoots to stick under my Fingernails! That would have been less tortuous. THEN, we were getting pressure to attend a sotted Brunch the Day after the Wedding because we were there already, right?. I was actually plotting on Google Earth where I could walk/escape to in order to bail from the Wedding Reception [WHICH went on until 3 AM]. I finally gave my Wife of 42 Years the option of going alone, or us not going to this Wedding of 30 Year-olds. So, after much angst, we didn't go. One of my better Sober decisions. I would not have drank, because I don't. I would, however, have been predictably miserable around so much Alcohol and Coke and Pot.

'If It's Not Fun, Why Do It'? ~ A *Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream* Bumper Sticker

What you're going through, and we all do, I view as a sort of Sober Person's Boot Camp. Trial by Fire. Not an exercise for the wishy-washy. The Good News & The Bad News? These situations will never go away. We can't change that. I realized I could change how nimbly I adapt to such inevitable situations. All the power lies within me. No Spouse; no change of Venue; no thoughtful compromise by a Drinker will change Reality. Only my Mindset interpreting Reality will. Hence, my Sig Line below. That's, arguably, the Bad News, and the very-hard-work part. The Good News is that you're coping fabulously! Get comfortable with doing this, because you have a Lifetime ahead of doing exactly that. Adapt on the fly like some Sober Ninja. Rinse & Repat.

The additional Good News is that we become facile at adaptation. It becomes effortless. Like practicing a Tennis Serve, or a Golf Swing repeatedly. I've also gotten unforgiving at [rarely] turning down Social situations that are dead ends for Sober me. No Second Guessing myself. No Guilt. I absolutely refuse to engage in Codie Crap where I endure Drunks because 'I have to go' to some function. Actually, no, I don't. There's simply no sense in always having to be the one to twist myself into Knots just because Alcohol permeates Society. This sotted permeation is increasingly the case from where I sit.

So, well done on adapting, and on molting into your new Sober Skin. I greatly admire what you're doing, and how well you're doing it! Having to do what Sober People are forced to do sucks less over time, and eventually doesn't.

~ 'Heroes' ~ David Bowie ~ Live ~
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Lucinda, you sound strong and determined in your new journal. I look forward to your entry today, which is rather presumptuous because I’m in the UK and don’t know where you’re located.

MesaMan talks so much sense, he was one of my original sobriety mentors and a current re-director of myself onto the right path: abstinence.
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:20 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Day 3 Holiday (from the UK)

A short check-in tonight. I am exhausted tonight.

To be honest, I have acted like a bit of an arse today. I had a tantrum like a toddler. It wasn't an alcohol-related wobbler, although I think that the last few days caught up with me. Hence, I am letting myself off the hook with a mental note to behave better tomorrow.

The AV was significantly quieter today. I am feeling confident about the week.

I am delighted to log in and read each of your comments. I am going to respond individually tomorrow. I feel like hugging each of you!

Thank you all. I love your posts.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:02 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Your husband seems great and like he’s been a huge support. Try to remember that he, as you said, is a “normal” drinker. So, he really can’t possibly understand the challenge you are going through being sober on your first vacation, right? He clearly had the best of intentions (hence the online soda ordering), but we all slip up in the moment once in a while, right? The big thing is he felt badly and was willing to hand back the pint. To me, that act of kindness is a bigger deal than the ordering a pint slip up.

Try not to equate him ordering a pint with not supporting you. He can be drinking and yet also supporting you - the two aren’t incompatible. I know it’s not preferable, of course, but I hope you get what I mean.

It sounds like you guys are lucky to have one another. And I’m so impressed by your slapping down the AV at the start of your vacation. You’ll be so proud of yourself at the end of the vacation, and I think you’ll even be more proud of yourself now that you’re also being the new awesome sober you solo. You can do this!!!
Thanks for this, Sohard. I was able to draw several useful things from it. Firstly, you are right, even with best intentions none of fully understand situations until we live them. Secondly, it was a lightbulb moment for me about the husband can still be drinking and support, that they are not mutually exclusive. Thirdly, you are absolutely right - I will be prouder and more confident for doing this solo. It will give me a firmer foundation going forward.

Also Sohard, you said this to me when I was worried about this upcoming holiday on my Day 1 AF;

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sohard View Post
Lucinda, I had big hurdle to jump (like your 10 day trip) very early in my sobriety. Rather than think of it as a doom’s day, try flipping it in your head. It’s awesome you have such a challenge, because if you can get through that, you know you can get through anything. So, in just six weeks and 10 days, you’re in clear waters!
I don't think you will know how hard I have hung onto your words over the last 6 weeks. Am almost in those clear waters. Thank you!
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:09 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Lucinda, yes for sure the right decision. and often, the right decisions are the harder ones. and it can so often be the decision that makes it harder for ourselves, seemingly, that ultimately makes everything much easier with clear-cut clarity.
Thanks, Fini. I liked what you said here. Very sage and wise. I am going to add your words to my 'life store'
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:37 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Hi Lucinda ~

Well, boy, I certainly could 'out-ramble' you on this topic, so we'll see where this goes.-)

What you're tackling was perhaps the most difficult aspect of my now-effortless Recovery in the later Stages: militantly facing, and then creating, a personal fit into Socializing; given how invasive Alcohol is in Society. Indeed, it's the sole factor that had me finally book 4 or so sessions with a Drug/Alcohol Counselor a few Years ago. Suffice to say, Folks not traveling 'our' path don't get it, and most never will. The ultimate acceptance of that Reality is mine alone to process. I didn't continually walk around all steamed about this, but it sure f'n pissed me off at times until I mapped out a way forward to deal with *Alcohol = Fun*. Why should I have to be the [Sober] one to be forced into Social Contortions to accommodate this lie shilled by Drinking Culture?

Your observation that somehow touring a Brewery having 0% swill to drink makes it all OK is the heart of the matter: that the issue is nothing more than the existence [or not] of Ethanol. Or, that being offered a Seltzer at an otherwise-drunken Wedding Reception transforms such an Event into something palatable to someone Sober. Ummm, that's a big ole 'no'.

As recently as last Summer, I opted out of a Beach-side Wedding in California because there was no Escape Plan possible for me when the Reception - indeed, the entire Weekend - went south. Inevitably. I was towing our RV Trailer 3 long Days to the Coast, and trying to book a Campsite in peak Season. Our beloved Dog was with us. A Dinner the Night before was on a Yacht with wealthy Right Wing-types that, itself, was gonna to be an daunting exercise in mental detachment, and resentment-filled small talk. Hey, I know. I'll just take my own Bamboo Shoots to stick under my Fingernails! That would have been less tortuous. THEN, we were getting pressure to attend a sotted Brunch the Day after the Wedding because we were there already, right?. I was actually plotting on Google Earth where I could walk/escape to in order to bail from the Wedding Reception [WHICH went on until 3 AM]. I finally gave my Wife of 42 Years the option of going alone, or us not going to this Wedding of 30 Year-olds. So, after much angst, we didn't go. One of my better Sober decisions. I would not have drank, because I don't. I would, however, have been predictably miserable around so much Alcohol and Coke and Pot.

'If It's Not Fun, Why Do It'? ~ A *Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream* Bumper Sticker

What you're going through, and we all do, I view as a sort of Sober Person's Boot Camp. Trial by Fire. Not an exercise for the wishy-washy. The Good News & The Bad News? These situations will never go away. We can't change that. I realized I could change how nimbly I adapt to such inevitable situations. All the power lies within me. No Spouse; no change of Venue; no thoughtful compromise by a Drinker will change Reality. Only my Mindset interpreting Reality will. Hence, my Sig Line below. That's, arguably, the Bad News, and the very-hard-work part. The Good News is that you're coping fabulously! Get comfortable with doing this, because you have a Lifetime ahead of doing exactly that. Adapt on the fly like some Sober Ninja. Rinse & Repat.

The additional Good News is that we become facile at adaptation. It becomes effortless. Like practicing a Tennis Serve, or a Golf Swing repeatedly. I've also gotten unforgiving at [rarely] turning down Social situations that are dead ends for Sober me. No Second Guessing myself. No Guilt. I absolutely refuse to engage in Codie Crap where I endure Drunks because 'I have to go' to some function. Actually, no, I don't. There's simply no sense in always having to be the one to twist myself into Knots just because Alcohol permeates Society. This sotted permeation is increasingly the case from where I sit.

So, well done on adapting, and on molting into your new Sober Skin. I greatly admire what you're doing, and how well you're doing it! Having to do what Sober People are forced to do sucks less over time, and eventually doesn't.

~ 'Heroes' ~ David Bowie ~ Live ~
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Wow, I really enjoyed your ramblings! They resonated with me hugely. Sobriety is mental! I also really appreciated your kind words and affirming encouragement. Means a lot.

Interesting about the alcohol permeating society. I have never noticed it more. Even the guide book for local walks maps them out via the pubs! I like what you say that we can't change the bigger picture, we can only work on our own mindset. I have been trying to focus on my mind as a garden and pull the weeds and nurture the flowers. In general, I am not a hippy dippy but it is helping me to visualise and make progress with my thoughts.

Your post made me giggle throughout. It also helped me in very real terms today. Our friends wanted to book a table at a French restaurant for Friday night. I know that let us go to a French restaurant is code for 'let's eat pontificate like prentious twits (polite version) about expensive wine lists and have a bit of food with our wine'. So I politely but firmly declined this invite without bothering to explain (they wont get it anyway, they already told me there are soft drinks on the menu too ).

I am already feeling more comfortable in my new sober skin and believe you when you tell me that having to negotiate all this will get easier.

Thank you so much. Your post is one of those that I am going to be pulling out and reading over and over.
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