Play Groups With Wine

My son and I started attending a new play group last week for mamas and littles (plus wine). I felt fine not drinking the first week we went, but this past week was a bit harder. Maybe because I was offered alcohol a bunch of times by an exuberant host husband trying to be polite and friendly? Or because the hosts drank more this time? Or because I was the only Mom not drinking? I am not sure exactly, except that it was a little harder to deal with this time around. I wasn’t close to drinking, but the thought crossed my mind about how easy it would be to say yes. These are new friends so they don’t know my history with alcohol, and I felt scared facing a social situation without the loss of inhibitions that comes with a few drinks. I didn’t feel loose; I felt uptight and shy. Prudish. Boring.

Those thoughts and feelings were all in my head, though. I believe that I came across just fine to others. I talked to moms, played with the kids, ate snacks, drank the bottled water that I brought with, and had a nice time overall. I am not sure anyone really CARED that I wasn’t drinking. In retrospect I don’t think they even noticed- I think I just felt sorta awkward about it and projected that onto others. I am still learning how to be sober in different situations. It takes time.

I played the tape forward and thought about what would happen if I did say yes to a drink in that situation. Well, I likely would have had more than one drink and then had to drive my sweet little toddler home. When I was drinking I felt nervous with new friends, as I do now, and would have craved more drinks to TRULY RELAX after I got home, so I would have stopped at the store on the way home for some beer or wine. I also would have wanted a cigarette to go with my drink(s), so then I would have bought a pack of cigarettes. The end result = me at home drinking and smoking on my back deck feeling like shit. Worth it to feel a bit less uncomfortable at a play group that lasted all of two hours? No!

The main problem is that I feel stiff and uptight sometimes. I have always felt that way, even when I WAS drinking. I am just not a dance-on-the-table type of person. And I feel defensive about being sober! Like I am defective and not good or fun enough to hang out with this group if I am not drinking. Wow- where do these thoughts come from?

So instead of drinking I am going to work on loosening up a little around others in a healthy way. I am going to start by trying to release fear and just be myself. What do I have to lose? I DON’T DRINK, so that is not an option.

Any readers have tips on letting go of fear? Let’s share!



14 thoughts on “Play Groups With Wine

    • Ha. I don’t know… it seems to be the latest trend. I am going to look for some coffee/morning groups, too, in case the wine nights get to be too much for me to handle. I like these ladies and the group, but I am not trying to endanger my sobriety for a play group! xx

  1. Try and remember everyone is insecure about something whether they show it or not. Everybody has flaws. No one and I mean absolutely no one is perfect.Some people are just better at walking the walk and talking the talk.
    When I’m nervous I tend to ramble and this voice in me screams just shut up you sound like a blubbering fool. I told this to my sister once and she confessed she is totally opposite. Her voice is screaming say something before everybody thinks you’re an idiot. So we all have our “baggage” be it big or small. We just have to figure out how to unpack our stuff that counts.

    I don’t mean to be sanctimonious but really drinking on a play day is really a bad idea all around. Bad for the mothers who are driving and bad for the kids. Not only is it a safety issue – God forbide if there is an accident and it’s a poor example to the young people making them think grown-ups can’t have fun without alcohol.

    • I think I am pretty secure and okay in social situations normally, but bring parenting into the mix and I am immediately insecure. I need to work on feeling comfortable being a parent around other parents, I guess. Sounds weird but it is true. I like your idea about remembering that nobody is perfect! That will help! Thanks. 🙂

      • omg. being a parent around other parents can be just seriously trying at times. could go on at length about it. not weird at all. NOT AT ALL. it is a bloody challenge. especially with the first. you are doing great!

  2. They just did an episode on the Today show this week on moms and play groups with wine. They talked to A mom who admitted her dependence on alcohol and how these situations can morph into disaster. She talked about the Booze Free Brigade, a yahoo group I belong to and since that tv airing membership has increased like crazy. It’s a real problem Jen, you were the smart and responsible one, don’t feel awkward or uncomfortable for that.

    • I watched this today after you commented here. I have read about that author before. She was part of the movement that got this whole drinking play date trend started in the first place! Glad she sobered up and shared her story. I know it is a serious problem for some people, so I will keep doing my thing and hope to be a positive role model for anyone who needs help in my circle of influence. Thanks Sharon!

  3. I am still aghast at this new trend to be honest and hope it doesn’t last long. if anything shows how booze ridden our society has become…. you do sound like it was an excluding experience for you which is really sad. in terms of letting go of fear in new social situations I am probably the wrong person to ask 🙂 but would go with asking lots of open questions and listening hard to the answers. my memories of early baby days are a long time ago but I recall being immensely grateful when I clicked with one or two people with whom I could relax. Good luck! xx

    • I think it is a bit over the top, but most people drink normally, I guess? I don’t see a problem with one or two drinks for people that can handle it. I think the play group will get easier for me if I keep going, but at the same time I should probably skip it if I am having a super hard or unbalanced day. Thanks for the input! Writing this out and thinking about it today, plus hearing these comments, has been super helpful. 🙂

  4. Hi Jen, this sounds like a difficult situation – it is tough learning to be sober in different situations, but it makes me a little angry (don’t know why exactly) that a play group / play date situation is one of those places where it’s difficult to be sober. It’s entirely sensible to be sober! There is a problem here, and it’s definitely *not* with you. Sounds like you handled it really well, and I’m sure no-one noticed or cared what you drank. Some people are brilliant when they meet new people (my 4 yr old is one) but most of us find it awkward (I do anyway). Did these people all know each other before you arrived? That always makes it more tricky. Some playgroups I went to for months before I felt relaxed and like I fitted in! And no booze involved. Perhaps I am a hypocrite, because the drinking me would probably have found it a great idea, but just right now, it seems really sad to me that people would want to bring alcohol into the mix when they’re playing with their kids. Hope you work this one out. xxx

    • Thank you for saying that it took months to fit in at play groups… I think it is a case of feeling insecure because of parenting AND sobriety all at once. I would have felt insecure at a new play group when I was drinking, too, basically. It is a really diverse group of moms and kids of all ages. Some of them have known each other since high school, but there are new people brought in all the time. Most of these people drink totally normally and it is fine…like one or two drinks while we are eating and snacking (it is an evening play group). I don’t want to judge them too hard because if I hadn’t stopped I would have definitely been drinking there, too. Thanks for your comment!

  5. It’s so hard!! I can totally relate to this. A few things that have helped me is remembering that most of the other parents feel insecure and uncomfortable too. I also try to remember the AA saying “Act As IF..”. Act as if I feel comfortable and friendly…and unjudgmental! I haven’t been brave enough to come out and say “no thanks, I’m a recovering alcoholic” but I have said, no thanks, I don’t drink. I get terrible headaches from it” ( which isn’t entirely untrue!) ……Goodluck!

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