I’m in my second week of sobriety and it is a miracle that I haven’t run into a bar screaming, thrown a handful of twenties at the bartender and laid down underneath the beer tap, pulled the handle and drowned myself in a kamakazie of stouts, porters and lagers (I don’t care how desperate I am, I’m still not drinking an IPA). It’s a miracle, right?
Well, actually, I think some people call it “willpower,” but since I’ve never possessed that particular trait at any point in my life, I’m going to attribute my ability to stay sober for 13 days to a higher power even though I don’t believe in one.
Listen: I don’t have to explain myself and my word choices to you, I will make a reference to the divine if I want to regardless of my atheism if I see it fit.
Which is kind of my point this week: my month-long sobriety might not make sense to you, but it’s right for me.
In all honesty, not drinking has been a lot easier than I thought it would be. Sure, it’s probably a good thing that I’m not going out as much as I normally do. I am also not weeping every time I check the balance of my bank account, I’ve had 8 hours of sleep most nights for the last week, and I think I’m slowly earning back the respect of my dog. It’s a slow healing process.
The hardest part about being sober is explaining to people why I’m sober. There are usually several steps before my friends come to terms with my short-term sobriety. I liken them to the 5 stages of grief:
Denial: When I first tell someone that I’m taking a break from alcohol, there’s this sort of vacant look that comes across their face. It is clear they can’t even process the fact that I’m not drinking. They then become very confused. “So, what, no beer? You can drink wine though, right?”
Anger: While I haven’t yet seen anyone rage so hard that they flip a table or anything, there have been a few, “Well that’s fucking lame” responses followed by some rather aggressive pouting.
Bargaining: The best part is when friends try to make everything a “special exception.” “Well, you’ll have to drink on Thanksgiving, because, erk, family!” or “Hey, you’ve been sober for 10 days, you should have one celebratory drink!”
Depression: Again, while I haven’t seen anyone weeping over my self-imposed sobriety (if one or two of you felt like crying though, it would be ok), it seems like me choosing not to drink really bums people out. Why? I’m just as social and, if at all humanly possible, even weirder when I’m sober.
Acceptance: They quietly resign themselves to the fact that no amount of prodding will get me to have a beer with them and they let me sit there and drink my lame ass water out of the plastic cup-of-shame that bartenders give the “water drinkers” at the bar. Christ, it may as well be a giant red “N/A” pinned to my chest.
To all my lovely friends out there, no, I’m not sober because of a medication or to recognize Lent (not that I ever participate in that) and I’m not on some weird cleanse where all I eat is iceberg lettuce, grapefruit and grape jelly. I just needed a break from the sauce. I’m allowed to do that from time to time and I sure as shit don’t need to explain my reasons to you.
Also, I would warn against teasing me with your beer drinking. Saturday night, a friend sent me a photo of the delicious Rumpkin that he was drinking and proceeded to tease me about my non-drinking month. Sunday he was admitted to the hospital and had his appendix removed. He said the pain started after he began drinking the beer and never went away.
I am a motherfucking beer witch! Do NOT mock my sobriety; I will mess you up, son.