So, I think I’ll go to the work Summer Party after all. The logistics of it are fine for getting away in a reasonable amount of time and meeting my family in town, so it’s a low enough payment for an acceptable return.

What about this return, though? All through what I was writing yesterday, and now that I think about it again this morning, I find myself wondering: If I have to work at having friendships, do I actually need them? Is it important?

I mean, it feels like a nearly sacrilegious thing to say – or even think! There’s a kind of “of course you need friendships”. All the literature seems to suggest they’re one of the most important aspects of human existence. What am I doing with my existence if I don’t engage in human interaction?

And you know, I think I agree. I may be pretty introverted. I may enjoy being alone and even need a certain amount of time away from other people. But I do want to have friendships and human interaction and all that stuff. I suppose I question if I need quite so much of it. Time is limited. My energy for social interaction is limited. I haven’t phoned either of my sisters in weeks. My best friend – who lives in England – I haven’t spoken to in months. It sometimes feels unimportant to expend social energy on co-workers, or people where I feel like I’m not naturally clicking, where I have to work at it.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here. I guess just that I feel conflicted. On one hand I think that there’s something “right” about a certain amount of socialisation with co-workers. It makes for a longer-term more pleasant working environment. On another hand, it feels a bit like “work” for me to go to things like this. And it drains a reserve of a particular kind of energy for me.

I am curious though. Now that I don’t drink, and now that I’m trying to shift into being a more honest, more present version of myself – might it be different? I guess I shouldn’t just assume that it will be hard and draining and of low direct value to me. Maybe I can go and experience with a curious and open mind, and have it be an experience that fills something in me rather than draining something in me.

Speaking of drinking…

I’ve noticed more frequent interrupting thoughts occurring from time to time. That same voice saying “Oh, but wouldn’t a drink be nice in this circumstance?” and “Really never again? Are you going to deprive yourself for the whole rest of your life?!“. And variations on that theme.

I’m answering with things like “No, actually, no, it wouldn’t be nice, because you know what would actually happen, is that my energy would get drained out of me and nothing would get added back into me only a poison.” and “Yes, really never again. Because there’s no benefit, and I’m not missing out on anything. I’m not depriving myself for the rest of my life – I’m giving myself the gift of experiencing the rest of my life without a drug.”

But it’s not immediate. And I feel cautious and wary that that sneaky voice is popping up frequently now. I’m coming up on the 6 week mark of being free from alcohol. That’s both a really short and a really long time. And it’s the same length of time I went at the start of the year before I went “Sure, I’ve got a handle on this now, I can certainly have the occasional drink.” And we all know where that ended up. (Actually it ended up nowhere crazy bad, but it ended up with my not always feeling like I was the one choosing when or how much to drink.)

I hate that I even have to think about this. I mean, I’m long past the physical detox. How long will these mental ghosts keep haunting me? Okay, that’s overly dramatic. So far I’ve actually been really lucky in not having had many cravings. I guess the part of my brain that still thinks alcohol has no value knew I was far too determined back at the beginning of all of this.

Well, you know what alcohol-indulgent-brain-part? I’m STILL really determined. I’m determined to live my life, and the best one I can manage to do. And that doesn’t involve spending any more of it in the fog of alcohol, or the dragging guilt of a hangover.

I plan on experiencing all the rest of my life.