We all know it doesn’t mean much when someone announces three or four weeks of sobriety. It might as well be a week or a day. The difference is that I haven’t just gone cold turkey on white wine. I’ve also eliminated everything but salads and steamed veggies and fruit and granola and sushi and coffee and protein bars.
I haven’t done a no-alcohol and a no-bad-food thing simultaneously ever. On one hand I feel occasional cravings for anything illegal, immoral or fattening. On the other not having any poisons in my system feels really good, especially in the morning. And jeans that felt tight a few weeks ago fit really easily now.
Parties are the tough part. It’s easy to laugh and be sociable with a glass or two, but try doing it straight. I feel matter-of-fact and cool and level about everything now, and I just don’t find anything funny. I guess I’ll figure out how to handle this eventually. I know it’s a good thing to be sober. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. That puffy look I had in my eyes and face is going away. But abstaining is a bore — let’s be honest. Maybe I should go to AA meetings. I didn’t have a “problem”, but pouring alcohol into your system every night lets a slight element of eccentricity and vulnerability in, to some extent. That very slight feeling of doom around the corner (which I’ve been dealing with since my 20s) isn’t as palpable now. I won’t say everything feels rational and manageable when you’re sober, but a lot more of it seems to be.
But something really funny has happened. I don’t think about women very much any more. I see this or that attractive lady at Pavillions or a party or wherever, and all that comes to mind are all the negatives that would probably eventually kick in once I get to know her.
I asked a sober friend about the no-more-laughing-at-parties thing. “The longer I’m sober, the less inclined I am to enter bars and any of that,” he said. “But as far as parties and such are concerned, it definitely gets better. It may take you a while to home in on it, but while you’re in a minority, you’re definitely not the only person not drinking. There are plenty of dry/sober people [out there], and they’re out doing their socializing parts of their jobs just like we are. You’ll find them.
“As for fun, well, I know that drink is a social lubricant and that if you’re used to relaxing with one at a party it’s hard to get into a frame of mind where you can loosen up to that extent. What’s eventually going to happen is you’ll find yourself gravitating to the better conversationalists — the ones you can enjoy listening to or shooting the shit with without alcohol. Also you’ll start to appreciate having your wits about you more than you once did. And you’ll learn to relax within that framework. It won’t take much time until you’re feeling on top of your game but in a way that doesn’t imply your lording it over anyone who’s had a few.
“It does take time, a few months. You need to get your sea legs. When it happens you might not even notice it. But the more discrete experiences that you normally associate with drinking that you go through without drinking, the easier it’ll get. It’s like you’re unlearning and learning at the same time.”