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.


16 thoughts on “Tonight’s Test

  1. I don’t know if it’s too late and you’ve already left, but I would suggest saying you took 30 days off bc of a weight loss goal, and loved how you felt so decided to stay off.

    That’s what I plan to tell my friends when the next get together rolls around. I have already learned (18 days in) that nobody really cares as much about our drinking as we do. I thought for sure I’d get grilled when I turned down wine 3x while I was at family parties last weekend, but nobody cared. I thought for sure it would make the room stop and take a collective gasp when I said no, but NOBODY cared. So…. stay stron and sip that pellegrino!!

    Your friends sound like a nice group so I doubt they will push drinks on you or grill you. Good luck tho…. I’m dreading that first big outing with my friends! I’ve basically been avoiding everyone I could the last few weeks. Let us know how it goes!! 🙂

    • Thanks llpetunia! I did not see this until after dinner, but you are so right – nobody really cared that I was not drinking! And I might have to use your suggestion sometime. I like it! The night went well and I am home after a lovely dinner. We all came separately and when I sat down, four of the ladies had already placed orders for glasses of sparkling wine. The birthday girl and I got there at at the same time. The waiter took our drink orders. I ordered Pelligrino, and she ordered sparkling wine but everyone was talking so nobody even heard my order. When he came back though, he brought the whole bottle of Pelligrino, and poured it into a wine glass and left the remainder for me. (I kind of forgot about that part that I would get the whole bottle but it was fine and saved me from having to say anything at that point)! I definitely saw some noticing looks but nobody said a word. The birthday girl ordered sparkling wine. We eventually did a toast and I toasted with my Pelligrino. While looking at the menu, I noticed they had some lovely non-alcoholic drinks. One was called a “Flojito.” It had some random ingredients and sounded really refreshing. When the waiter took orders for a second round, I ordered that. When it came, the waiter put it down, and one of my friends asked if it was a Mojito. I said it was a actually a “non-alchoholic Mojito” called a Flojito and pointed out the 3 nonalcoholic drinks on the menu. She simply said “Oh” and the group conversation was already moving along. Later, one of the ladies sitting next to me asked if I was doing a detox and I said, “Not really, but I am trying to lose some weight and eat healthier.” Nobody else heard and we joined back in the group conversation. As I suspected, two of the ladies ordered Cokes after their first drink, and the other 3 ordered only a second glass of wine. No bottles were even ordered. I had my Pellegrino and Flojito,(both of which I finished) and we all ate lovely dinners! We had lots to catch up on and lots of laughs. It was a 2 1/2 hour dinner and really fun. And as it turns out, it was no big deal at all to them that I was not drinking. I guess I kind of already expected this but it was nice it turned out to be true! I am so proud of myself that even though I knew this dinner was approaching, I never wavered in the past week my plan of not drinking, and I am not going to drink at home tonight either. The winds are shifting and things are changing for the better!

      • I’m sooo happy it went well! ordering the non-alcoholic cocktail was a brilliant idea! I’ll have to remember that.

        the people who can have one glass of wine absolutely fascinate me!!! how is that even possible??!!? haha. anyhow, I’m glad you went, didn’t feel pressured to drink, and were able to keep the kitty cat in the bag 😉 good stuff!!

  2. Yeah. The I’ve stopped drinking for a bit, it hasn’t been working for me usually has others moving on.
    People who don’t have issues with drinking do not put too much thought into others drinking patterns. Seriously.
    I’m still amazed at how few people are actually drinking excessively. I must have had serious blinders on. I truly thought everyone was hammered all the time.

    • Yes, I think I was learning over time that I was drinking a lot more than these ladies. Tonight I really watched everyone else and simply put, they hardly drink. They are probably relieved I am not drinking! No I take that back. They are simply acting totally normally.

  3. It sounds as though you coped brilliantly with your night out! I often find that restaurant menus are really lacking in the mocktail department so you struck gold with that flojito. Your positive vibes are really helping me get through these early days. Thank you, sweet friend. Annie x

    • Thank you Annie! It is so nice to have this outlet. Here I am on Wednesday again and nervous about another upcoming Friday night out with a different set of girlfriends (this time my childhood girlfriends). I could easily use the driving excuse, as I will be, or I can confide in them. I am not sure what I will say yet. But yes, that Flojito was great! I found out a few days later some of the girlfriends in the above post suspected I was pregnant! I assured them I was not – that ship has sailed – but that I was taking a “hiatus from drinking” – is how I phrased it, when one of the women who is most direct asked.:) So not quite the whole truth but it was fine. I feel like I need to protect my momentum that I have got going here – Day 121 today – so it is OK if I decide not to tell all that I have going on in my head to friends as they might (with the best intentions) try to talk me out of it.

  4. It is so fitting that I just found this blog and this was the most recent post because I’m in the exact same predicament right now. I’ve been trying to stop drinking and it’s going well, to the point that I am starting to feel like you described, not really even wanting a drink and beginning to enjoy feeling more energy and more clear headed. Anyway, I have told a couple of friends that I’m doing it, but told them it was to lose weight and get healthy. I have caved in twice and drank – both times because a friend asked me to have a glass of wine and I did – I guess because I didn’t want to seem so rigid/serious about my not drinking to where they might suspect I’m an alcoholic – I know that sounds crazy. Anyway, the last time this happened, I ended up having 4 large glasses of wine and I remember feeling like I could not get enough and I even almost opened another bottle when I got home. It’s a good thing I didn’t because I ended up feeling so hung over the whole day the next day and barely getting out of bed. That’s when I think I realized that I need to do this all or nothing because having a single glass of wine just isn’t possible.

    Anyway this weekend I am going to a bachelorette party for a very good friend of mine. She is one of the people who knows I’m not drinking but thinks it’s to lose weight. Today I expressed to her that I am still not drinking and that I could be the DD if needed. She looked disappointed and said that they already have plenty of DD’s since most of the other ladies are pregnant or breastfeeding and can’t drink. She said it looks like she’s going to be the only one drinking at her bachelorette party. One of the ladies is having bariatric surgery and can’t drink either…a good excuse..but my excuse is not a good one, she said. Anyway, I ended up telling her, ok, I’ll have a drink for your bachelorette party. But I really don’t want to mess up my progress and the way I am feeling. I definitely don’t want to tell her the truth, but I don’t want to drink either.

    I was thinking maybe I’ll be able to order discreetly and get a mocktail. Or maybe I’ll just order a drink and then somehow switch it for non-alcoholic. We will be meeting for drinks and appetizers before going out, then dinner, then more drinks after dinner. Ugggghhh…this is going to be hard to pull off.. LOL

    • Thank you for commenting! I am sorry I somehow missed some of the comments on this post and am replying very late. I hope the bachelorette party went well. That is a tough one. If you decided to drink, you can start again for sure. I think it is great it is on for mind and you are aware of the issue. I remember back in my 20’s when almost every weekend seemed to have an event leading up to friends’ weddings. Back then, it never occurred to me to go alcohol free. Drinking at these events (Showers, Bachelorette Parties, Weddings) is what we did until we were pregnant. Then, we didn’t drink until we had the baby and stopped nursing. Then, we picked it up again at these events. Until I was in my late 30’s/early 40’s, really, I did not start to question my drinking and wondering why it was such a regular part of my life. In the last 5 years, when I was drinking more at home, often enough by myself after my husband and kids went to bed, on weeknights, when I started to really think, “Why and I doing this?” I still have a lot of work to do in figuring out why I did but I am slowly. And I am definitely learning after more and more social events (well really not that many in 5 months for this 43-year-old Mom of 3), but enough that: 1) people generally don’t care if and what I am drinking, and if they do, I realize that is probably more their problem than mine; and 2) I can have fun (an am more fun to be around probably) without drinking. And at home, I am so relieved it is just not part of my routine any more!

  5. It’s only been 11 days for me and I constantly worry about how I’m going to handle going to dinner with friends and not drinking. This was helpful thank you.

  6. I’ve always drunk more than all my friends and when the time comes I’m not sure how I’m going to handle it but I’m tempted to lay all the cards on the table – I’m tired of trying to pretend I’m not an alcoholic… it’s exhausting xx

    • Thank you for visiting. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Self-awareness itself is such a wonderful quality. You are recognizing things about yourself and that is huge. And you (and I) have found a place in this blogosphere to reach out for help. So be proud of yourself for looking at yourself honestly and connecting with others who can help and relate. I wish you well. I am going to visit your blog now 🙂

  7. Today is day 22 for me and it can be awkward not ordering a drink when I’ve been around people that don’t know I am giving up drinking for a year. I have also ordered “mocktails” which I like to do because I still feel like I’m enjoying a drink. I had a recent experience at a restaurant/bar when I ordered a non-alcoholic beer and a stranger gave his feedback and didn’t understand and said it was “wasted calories”. It really bothered me, but I had to let it go. Keep up the good work! I am also blogging about my experience.


    • Ashley, thank you for visiting and commenting. I just visited your blog. I so admire your decision to go a year alcohol free at age 27. As I mentioned above in my comment to Sue, at your age, drinking during social events was such a normal part of life! But why does it have to be? Good luck on your journey and I will keep visiting your blog for updates.

  8. A quick update, which may be a blog post later, but the following Friday 9/12/14, I was meeting other girlfriends (3 of my childhood friends). This time I actually emailed them that morning to let them know I was taking a “hiatus” from drinking. I told them I had not drank any alcohol since May 12, 2014, and that night would be 4 months alcohol free. They responded so kindly without many questions at all as they did not want to pry but I know they are there for me if I need to talk more. So the email-in-advance route went really well too.

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