I’ve tried to give up before, keeping the same patterns and the same friends. Glugging down pints of diet coke until I get the shakes, dancing and laughing… and seething with resentment. Every time I fell off it was at a party (twice at festivals). I tried to go to festivals! With the same friends who were taking 2 litre bottles of home made cocktails, just like I used to. Recipes so killer and divine I wouldn’t dare repeat them on a sobriety blog.
It doesn’t work, it won’t work. In AA they rightly tell you to protect yourself from wet situations in the early days but the promise is held out that one day you will be so far released that you will blithely sit in the centre of a drinking maelstrom and suffer no ills. I don’t see it, or at least not for a very very long time. I read somewhere that it takes the same amount of time to get over a relationship as was spent in that relationship. I’ve been binge drinking to blackout for 25 years, so I reckon I’ll be safe in pubs around age 70. We should be nearing peak oil by then so we’ll all be on curfew and the pubs will be looted and burning, so it’s a moot point.
So, now there’s no more late night pubs, no more rowdy house parties, no more hotel bars after the conference has kicked out. No more dirty gigs in basements, actually no more places I can’t get a chair and a decent view (but that’s more age than sobriety, no doubt). All these things I can do without. But I wonder still, does this mean no more dancing? No more festivals? I picture myself in a field at sunset, beautiful orange light casts shadows of gyrating bodies, a rhythm pumps, guitars crescendo. Is this lost to me? Could I be there (me, the queen of the 2 litre cocktail) and be sober, free, dancing, happy?
I don’t know the answer. My new sobriety is all eggshell and puppy eyes, vulnerable and crushable, adorable, mine. I can’t risk it for a chance at clean euphoria. Maybe one day, maybe if I ever find my sober compadres.
But for now no, I guard it all, jealous as a dragon.
Tomorrow I conference alone, which would have once meant something very different but now means this:
1. close attention to the programme, 2. checking if the hotel has a gym, 3. packing a novel and 4. ordering room service.
Everything changed. Everything had to.