I am feeling very pleased with myself this morning.
Things wot I did yesterday:
- I accepted an impromptu invitation to dinner with friends. (Usually I would panic myself out of it, or cry off on [not illegitimate] grounds of tired, or something like that.)
- I didn’t drink alcohol at said dinner, and …
- … I was honest with my dining companions about not drinking. I didn’t hide behind the “driving” excuse, or “temporary” excuse. I just said “I’m not drinking alcohol any more”. Although I did add in “at the moment” or “for the next while” or something like that. It seems to make the whole thing I little bit more comfortable for some reason. When asked why, I listed a number of reasons: health – physical and mental, weight reasons, the fact that I didn’t always feel like I was in control of when I stopped.
This last one brought a bit of an “ahh” out of my companions, as if that was the understandable reason. The one that was in all of our minds, but they were wondering if I would admit to it, or maybe they were wondering if it was the case. Maybe they even wonder it about themselves.
It was a bit – but not too much – nerve-wracking to make that admission. But once I wasn’t hiding behind the excuse of driving or “work in the morning” or anything like that, I also didn’t want to hide the rest of the truth away either.
Maybe I down-played it a bit. Maybe I allowed for it to be a “taking a break” from alcohol in their minds. But all the same, I’m pretty happy with what was a pretty big step for me.
- I didn’t feel embarrassed about letting that last reason out there. Intellectually I remember feeling that I would have, in the past, been embarrassed about that particular truth being in the room. But it was fine. I accept this fact about myself and I no longer judge me for it – in fact, the opposite. I’m kind of proud of myself for recognising the problem and taking steps to do something about it. I think that helps with the feelings of potential embarrassment. When you’re really and truly okay with something in yourself, I guess it leaves space to realise the rest of the world is probably too busy to bother judging you anyway!
- I didn’t want to drink. I don’t know if this is something to be “proud” of as such, but it is something of note all the same. I got to the restaurant a few minutes before my friends arrived, took some time to read the menu, considered the virgin cocktails and decided they were (a) probably too sweet and (b) too expensive for what I was getting, and ordered a non-alcoholic beer. I’m finding that a non-alcoholic beer seems to hit the spot for me when I’m out at an event or dinner. It seems to fulfil the role of “ceremony” that some part of me is looking for as part of the “treat” of a dinner out. And I like the taste!
- I didn’t feel awkward and out of place. Again, maybe this is more something of note that “happened” as opposed to something I did. I did allow myself to be quiet and listen. That was really pleasant. The conversation didn’t feel like a competition where I was fighting to get my particular spoke in there. There were things I considered interjecting at various points and then considered the better of them. It’s not that they were inappropriate additions to the conversation or anything (another advantage of not drinking! I don’t have to deal with the horrible shame-hangover of having said things that seem “off” in the cold light of day), but they wouldn’t have particularly added to what we were talking about.
Instead I listened properly and allowed myself to relax in really enjoyable company, and yes I did talk, but in a far more gently honest way.
Sometimes I gave credit to alcohol for “helping” me to be honest, but that used feel more like I was ripping my body open and exposing everything that was inside. Nobody wants to be confronted with that whole mess, and it doesn’t even make a whole lot of sense anyway. This felt both more and less exposing.
I felt like I was myself. And I felt like I was accepting me, and that my companions were accepting me too.
So, good! I am feeling good this morning – a bit tired, but also like something inside of me has been refreshed. And like something else inside of me has finally gotten something it’s been looking for for a long time. Acceptance. From me.