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!