I caught up with an old mate today. The last time I saw him his partner was going through some hard stuff. Now they've broken up sadly, and he's pondering his next move. He asked me what had been going on for me and I told him about ditching booze. He was supportive and we had a long chat about how his former partner has struggled with alcohol and the tension it caused between them.
I love how talking about my decision opens up stuff for others. We can all touch on common experiences.
I haven't been announcing my situation by loudhailer, and I've only told a handful of people I'm Sober Man365 (not that I'm ashamed of anything). When I'm tapping away at my keyboard I confess I feel a bit like a bespectacled Clark Kent - anonymous and free to write without a filter. I'm not sure my costume would be as cool as Superman's though. What would a sober crusader wear anyway (suggestions please)?
However, of the sprinkling of people I have told, many of them have talked about how they should cut down or of someone close to them who has/had alcohol-related problems. I've had very few negative reactions.
I think talking about problems with booze is a healthy conversation to have. Most of the time stuff like that is kept inside. It's an internal conversation that can go around and around in circles in your head. Your own partner might not necessarily know how you're feeling. You can tell if someone doesn't want to go there pretty quickly, but for those who do want to talk about it, that kind of conversation can be really helpful for both parties. I could tell my friend was stoked to be able to get some of it off his chest.
I've also been locking in the details for my 40th today. It's in a couple of months. I've just sent out the invitations on Facebook. I told everyone there would be a bar tab and nibbles (till it runs out). It makes me feel like such an enabler. Now that I'm living sober I see things from the sober person's perspective. I'm also considering the people that may be trying, like me, not to drink. Before I would only see things from my own drinker's perspective.
Events such as my 40th are the sort of events I'd usually try to turn up on time for, to take full advantage of the free drinks. Being at an event where there is a bar tab has always been one of the most dangerous scenarios for me. I would usually charge like a bull out of a gate and drink till I'd well and truly surpassed my limit. But I'm realistic that more than 95% of my guests will be drinking. I also need to think of them. I considered just paying for food and letting people buy their own drinks, but the host in me couldn't let me do it.
While I'm going to be drinking virgin cocktails or some such alcohol-free beverage, for everyone else the alcohol will be flowing. It's just occurred to me that I'll be the sober driver at my own 40th. How cool is that?! I'm also looking forward to dragging my creaky, but sober, 40-year-old body for a run early the following morning.
Looking at the upsides - seeing what is gained rather than what is being given up - is an important part of this journey I reckon.
I hope you lovely people are all okay.
I haven't shared any music for a while so here's another Marlon Williams gem I've been playing a lot on the guitar lately (how many songs include references to alcohol? It's seems a popular theme). There's a beautiful line in there about how "no-one's truly sheltered from the cold" ... and how how ... "it takes a little learning to grow old". Overall I take this song to mean: We all have hard times. Don't beat yourself up! Everyone deserves love. Hang in there!!!:
Lonely Side of Her