Over the next week or so I will be back in the land of the living socially. I have really struggled with people’s reactions to my not drinking in the past and have been observing the kind of drinkers that I come across, how they react to me and why…
There are four types:
Big drinkers in denial. These are the ones who drink too much but are in denial about the extent of their drinking. They love company, someone to booze with them. More the merrier when it comes to drinkers or drinks. They are ones who I will get the most reaction from when I refuse a drink. They will try to coax me to join in, remind me of happier boozy times. Tell me I am not that bad. They will pat me on the back if I do accept a drink. They will be keen to arrange another social occasion for a time when I am drinking again and avoid me like the plague if they suspect that I’m not. They are not bad, mean people and maybe I am guilty of having been this person in the past. If I ever made anyone feel like they make me feel, I regret that now. I was so busy trying to make myself feel ok with my problem, I was desperate for safety in numbers.
Big drinkers who are curious. People who drink too much and have tried to do something about it but are still trying, still struggling, not at the end of their tether yet. These people are still the life and soul of the party and appear to be enjoying the actual drinking, but there are the tell tale signs that they are not in total denial. They won’t hassle me to drink. They will ask me questions about how I am doing it, what I am feeling. They will say that they wish they could do what I’m doing… might even admit to having had a go a few times and how nice it felt but that it was just not sustainable. They will be interested in any tips or advice I have. They will be supportive but not judgemental whether I decide to have a drink or not. I have been this person lots of times over the last five years.
Normal drinkers. There are people who use alcohol, to relax, loosen up, switch off, open up, celebrate or commiserate. They will be surprised that I am choosing not to join in and may encourage me to have a night off, just have one to be sociable. They won’t overdo it, they can participate in the required amount of social drinking and stop when it appears to be the time to do so. Why, when or how they can control or decide to stop drinking at the point they do, cannot be deciphered. It’s their off switch and I am not in their head. Who knows if their insides match their outsides? I know that I have been this person at the party sometimes. You might have watched me and wondered how I could be so controlled and levelled. Truth is, I wasn’t. There was probably a voice inside my head screaming for more booze and I was using immense strength to control it or maybe my drinking was simply going through one of its troughs.
Normies. People who really are not bothered about drinking AT ALL. They will be driving, looking after the kids, helping in the kitchen, anything other than drinking. I don’t think they actually like drinking, it’s just something they do because they don’t’ want to be hassled or draw attention to themselves for not drinking. They don’t get it, don’t understand the attraction. They might do it be sociable, to not make others feel uncomfortable or even for the health benefits of a glass a day They won’t even notice whether I am drinking much less care. They would not be bothered one little bit if someone told them tomorrow that they had to stop drinking alcohol and could
never do it again. That was like my worst nightmare!! I was the total opposite of this person. I would break out in a cold sweat at the thoughts of a life without my precious wine to drink. I have about two people who I can genuinely call nornies. There just aren’t many people in my life who I could imagine being ok with a booze free world.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t drink at all, except me! So I suppose it’s up to me to get out there and show them that it can be done. I want to have more resolve in my choice to not drink although I don’t think that has to involve brutal honesty or baring my still very vulnerable soul.
I have said before that it’s my desire to stop drinking and get an amazing, fun, fullfilled life in return. But I also want to be a good advertisement for not drinking, because if that helps one person realise that there is another way, an alternative, then that would just be brilliant.
On a lighter note, I am going to see the Hangover Part 3. I just love the irony of Bradley Cooper. who is in recovery from drinking, starring in and promoting this film! He is my sober celeb flavour of the week!