Saturday, March 31, 2012

I've Changed -

I spent some time thinking that not-drinking wouldn't fundamentally change the good things about me.  That is, that not drinking would allow me to out my bad aspects and push myself toward better, well, everything, and that the good things would just get better.

I was wrong.

In fact, the good things--what I value as good, and what others value as good--have indeed changed, and there's no arguing with that fact.  Whether they are better depends on the purpose you espouse.  If the purpose is not to end up a miserable pitiful and almost certainly dead relatively young man, then count me in--but try saying THAT at a cocktail party when someone asks why you're not drinking (and seemingly implicitly states that you shouldn't really even be there if you're not going to drink), not to mention all the fucking bullshit ceremony of "cheers" and whatnot that goes along with drinking, and not to mention all the heartfelt tenderness as well.

Try just saying to those heartfelt tender drunk people that you don't want to be loud and disgusting, and willing to fuck a wooden pole if it looks at you the right way (after proper sanding of course, and depending on audience).  Try just being nonchalant about a relatively major life decision in the moment.

Go ahead, look in the mirror and practice how you'll respond when they ask why.  They will, and you will have to.  And I'm telling you this right now, any response isn't really, fully, understood.  It is always slightly foggy (the way the response is heard), and almost always short term (why wouldn't you want this foggy glass of bliss?), even when the same people later talk about how little they actually want to drink, or express, in roundabout ways that aren't quite detailed enough, their tang of regret.

Ah well, suffice to say, the world is bent toward my reality and perception of it, and I can't do anything about that, no matter how long I've been sober.


Mrs D said...

You're describing an alone feeling that I experienced just last night at a party. I do so much explaining to people why I'm not drinking and think most of them don't get it in the slightest, or even worse resent it, or mock it. Whatever the case I'm left feeling quite alone and .. well .. sober. Good post, thanks. xxx

Mary said...

You're so right - any explanation is never really, truly understood. It's isolating and makes me feel like an outsider, but I have found it easier to deal with as time's gone by. Thank you for this post, really appreciated it.

Cephin said...

I was at a bar birthday party a month or so ago and some girl showed up. She decided to surprise everyone with a round of shots... When I said, "No thanks" she pushed it harder, telling me that everyone has to have one, and so I said, "No, seriously, I don't want it, but thank you." She gave me the nastiest, ugliest look she could muster. I mean, it looked as if I just shot her dog in front of her.

Most nights out I'm with people who know and who've come to accept I don't drink. On the nights where the situation is more ambiguous and I'm not looking to make anyone feel uncomfortable or awkward that I'm not drinking, I've become pretty good at looking like I am -- always with a seltzer drink in my hand. Most people don't even notice that I'm totally sober, despite the fact that by the end of the night I'm the only one carrying on coherent conversations.