Friday Night – Again

Here where are again on a Friday all of us.  It is starting to feel like the movie “Groundhog’s Day” at times.  I just commented on a dear friend Annie’s post over at A Dappled Path (http://annieuk101.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/another-friday-night) and realized my comment was long enough to be a post here.  So why not?  It has been a while since I posted here.

Annie was posting about something I always feel on Fridays – Fridays are so tough!  At 137 Days without drinking, they are still the toughest day of the week for me.  And I don’t think this is going away any time soon.  So this was worth a post.  Here was my comment to Annie:

“Friday nights are still the hardest for me Annie. And then Saturday night is second hardest. Sunday comes in third. Weekends are still so hard. But it is so nice every Monday morning when I realize that I have made it through the weekend. I really do not miss those Saturday and Sunday mornings when I awoke with regret or fear of who I offended or what I said or did. It is so nice NOT to wake up thinking, ‘Boy did you make a fool of yourself last night thinking you were totally fine and making so much sense when you were rambling away to [(fill in the blank) – [the] school principal at a school fundraiser once, an elected official the same night, my best childhood friends in an email . . .’ Luckily, that email sounded somewhat coherent and there were no lasting consequences but I wish I had never sent it still and I was so scared to read it the next day. And I have not seen the elected official in person since. I am sure he has no memory of it! The school principal probably just thinks I had a bit too much wine on a rare occasion. She knows me as a mom and frequent volunteer but I am still embarrassed about that night! There are many other examples too and frankly it was starting to happen too much for my conscience and self-respect to bear. These sorts of specific anecdotes are what I think of in my toughest moments on weekends to reinforce my decision. To put a more positive spin on it, I am not shy or socially and I am probably much more fun to be around not drinking actually! You too I bet! I know you will make it to Day 28, 29 and 30! I know it! I hope you continue after! Above is the kind of thinking that has helped me continue so I wanted to share. I really love that I have no embarrassing moments (from drinking at least – have still embarrassed myself on occasion of course) since May!”

So yes, here we all are on Friday night again.  It is so nice to have this space at WordPress to come to when we are feeling so many feelings on Fridays!  I am relieved today that I have no plans tonight other than bringing the kids to soccer practice and then watching TV on the couch with the Family.  I am looking forward to going to bed early and waking up early for a crazy-busy sports and activity-filled weekend!  Tomorrow I am going to a Major League Baseball game and I am having mixed feelings about knowing I am not going to have a beer.  I am sad and happy about it at the same time.

For sure, there is still the temptation to “unwind” on a Friday with a glass of wine.  It is still so sad and disappointing at times to think of future girls-nights-out, my birthday, holidays, and weekends away that will not involve me drinking.  I often wonder, “Will this ever go away?”  Or will I change my mind and decide I can drink on weekends and special occasions?  It can be emotionally exhausting having these constant conversations with oneself.

So I try to always bring myself back to TODAY.  I come back to today.  “Today I will not drink.”   I remind myself about how proud I will feel tomorrow if I keep my promise to myself today.  If I am in a really bad spot, I remind myself of some anecdotes such as above to remember why I am doing this.

With time comes momentum too. I am learning again that I am fun and I can have fun without drinking.  And with time, I have confirmed what I suspected long ago.  I can be more present and more attentive to the moments I am sharing with others without drinking.  And I like being present and not having the regrets described in my comment above.  It was worth sharing here too.

Tonight’s Test

Tonight I will likely need to let the “cat out of the bag” so to speak.  Or maybe just the cat’s tail?

I am going to dinner with 5 girlfriends.  It is a birthday dinner for one of the ladies.  We are all in our 40’s.  We have become really good friends over the past few years through our husbands (who coach together) and our sons (who play baseball and basketball together).  So we are family friends and it has been great.

It is a really good group of women, and they have been a good influence on me.  They are kind and thoughtful – wonderful Moms too.  And none of them really drinks very much at all.  (In the past years, I was the one who had drank the most I noticed).

I have seen many of these ladies and their families a few times over the summer, (block parties, baseball tournaments, etc.).  At those times when alcohol was present, I have not had anything to drink.  When offered, a quick answer would just tumble out of my mouth, (and usually it was just heard by one or two people at a time): “No thanks.  I’m driving”; “I’m on antibiotics”; “I’m trying to lose 5 pounds”; “We have an early start tomorrow.”  Then I would quickly change the subject and re-direct the conversation elsewhere.

This wasn’t really how I planned things.  I didn’t really plan anything actually as to what I was going to say.  I just promised myself every day I would not drink, and then said something very quickly when necessary to avoid it.

Way back in May, I did envision myself having heart-to-heart conversations with at least some people in my life so far.  But it just has not happened.  99% of the people in my real life have no idea something big is happening with me.  I feel like I am on a life-changing course though, and am very excited about it.  I guess I am going to keep on going along, on my way today – with my little code-word-pep-talk-nickname-for-myself  – “Viatoday.”  (Of course, all of you are in on my secret).

Back to the Moms’ dinner tonight, which is only 2 hours away.   It is the first ladies’ dinner we have had since April (and I was drinking then).  There will surely be wine and probably a bottle of Prosecco ordered right away.  The restaurant is walking distance to my house.  It is Friday night, the Friday after the first week of school, and we all are Moms, who will be ready to let go and have a glass of wine. Well, not ME . . .  but I guess I am going to have to say something.

First though, as I am writing, I am realizing a few really good things.  I can’t believe these things myself actually:

1) At almost 4 months alcohol free (more than half of May, all of June, all of July, and all of August, and there were some REALLY TOUGH moments), I am actually willing and looking forward to going out to dinner on a Friday night with friends.  I could have made an excuse not to go but I didn’t.  I really want to go and have a nice dinner and catch up with these ladies.  They are fun and funny and I love their company.

2) The next great thing is that I really don’t want a glass of wine!  That is such a weird feeling for me – that I am actually honestly looking forward to sipping Pellegrino all night.  Wow.  I realize that may not always be the case  but at this moment, it is true.  I guess I have had enough clear-headed mornings in the last 115 Days that I am actually looking forward to having a good dinner with sparkling water, walking home with a clear head, getting a good night sleep, and waking up not worrying about what I said to embarrass myself.  And I look forward to feeling rested tomorrow.  So my thinking is really changing.

Talking through this as I go, I am realizing I am actually not nervous about caving and having a sip. What I am nervous about is what I am going to say at a table of 6 to avoid it?  And how it is going to sound?  How can I keep this from getting awkward?

I guess it is that first toast I am most worried about.  How do I decline clinking glasses and toasting my friend for her birthday without drawing attention to me and the obvious fact that I am not even going to take a sip of Prosecco?   Maybe it is time to “let the cat out of the bag” and say directly and simply, “I don’t drink anymore.”  But I don’t think I am ready yet to say it out loud so directly to these 5 friends at the same time.  I thought about sending an an email to them but have decided against that too.  I just don’t want a big group conversation about it with them.  Maybe eventually I will talk with them individually over time but I am still not ready.

The more I think about it, I am going to try to stick with what has worked for me so far – a quick simple answer and then redirect the conversation elsewhere.   Maybe “Just sparkling water for me for the toast,” and keep it at that.  If someone follows up, maybe I’ll say something like, “I am on a a drinking hiatus.”  And quickly get to the toast to the birthday girl.

I will let you know how it goes!   The anticipation and worry in advance will probably be worse than the actual moment when I indicate I am not going to drink.  These are really good friends and I know that they would be fully supportive if I confided in them.

Maybe in time.  I don’t think I am going to let the whole cat out of the bag just yet.  Here’s to the cat’s tail!   I am going to go and have fun, somehow deal with the moment of declining some wine, and I am not going to have a drink.