A Thicker Skin

Living life as a sober person requires a sense of humor and a thick skin. To fully integrate into everyday life you have to have the ability to laugh things off and not take everything so seriously.

Many people like to drink. While I sometimes wish this wasn’t the case, the world isn’t going to reorganize itself to suit my whims (or diseases). If I want to reintroduce myself into parts of my old social life, I have to be the one to adjust.

So, a lot of people like to drink, and they also like to talk about their drinks.

Friend: This wine is so delicious. Did you know that Australian varietals are really in right now?

Jen: ……No, I haven’t bought much wine lately…always good to know, though. Thanks.

Friend: So-and-so brought this fantastic pepper beer over recently and we all had a taste! It was weird…hot but cool, if you know what I mean.

Jen: ……

And then the subject changes and all is well in the world. I wouldn’t have been able to handle this at first, which is why I pretty much stayed away from all drinking events, but it is more manageable now. I feel awkward, try not to take it personally, and then move on and talk about something else. I even try to laugh to myself at the whole situation.

I mean, I already drank a whole life’s worth of drinks, so I know how to talk about them. I think that the more comfortable I get in these situations the more comfortable others will be. I want people to feel comfortable around me, yet at the same time I don’t want people to talk about their damn drinks all night long. Seriously. That would make for a pretty boring conversation.

It just is less important now, which is really cool.

I read an article about ego-depletion somewhere recently. Ego-depletion is the idea that your self-control is finite; you only have so much willpower. Once you use it up, you use it up. This really spoke to me about addiction and placing ourselves in difficult situations that require the flexing of our sober muscles. We need to do it a little at a time and then have activities that fill us back up in between, like sober blogging. Or AA meetings. Or whatever makes us feel powerful and in control instead of deprived and sad that we can no longer drink.

Laughter helps to fill me up. When I can see the humor in a situation I am able to defend myself better against ego-depletion. I don’t feel like I am using so much self-control to avoid drinking, instead I feel happy that I am making good choices for myself.

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7 thoughts on “A Thicker Skin

  1. “Or whatever makes us feel powerful and in control instead of deprived and sad that we can no longer drink.” This is really a perfect way to describe whatever method you use to get sober–whatever makes you feel powerful and in control and that no, you are not depriving yourself of anything. (I like to say: The world is a much safer place now that I don’t drink. LOL)

  2. Hi there! I love this post! For a long time in my early sobriety all I could think about was all that I was giving up with drinking! It took me a while to turn it around to seeing that I gain so much more by not drinking! And yes I am being healthy and taking care if me! That’s huge. When I was drinking I didn’t care about me at all. Ugh.

    You are right about the tough skin! I couldn’t hang out with people drinking around me for too long. It drove me nuts when they talked about their drinks. Now if that happens to me I throw in a joke of some sort! Like when people talk about a nice tasting wine, I’d say- oh, yeah, after the first one it all taste the same! – Lol! Ok, so sometimes I am the only one that gets it, but at least I am not all serious about it. Anyway, yes laughter! Thanks for the reminder! Keep up the good work!

  3. I think the title of this post really sums up how I feel about this stuff now. You’re totally right: one does have to be thick skinned to get through the sometimes awkward times when everyone else is drinking, or the occasional thoughtless comment from a friend. I used to take it all so personally (‘don’t they know I don’t drink? Are they trying to test me or what?…’) but letting it bounce of you is an either road to take for sure. Glad to hear you’re well. X

  4. “I already drank a whole life’s worth of drinks” hee hee. That is me also. No varietals for me, I started with that, then it became quantity versus quality.
    Great post!

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